This is about a question that’s bothered me for a long time that may come up as a serious issue soon: How should gender segregated bathrooms deal with gender ambiguity? We have a very well established system of male and female bathrooms that is not necessarily well suited for the transgender individual. There was recently a debacle in Evergreen State College where a transgender woman, biologically male, wandered around the women’s locker room nude. As Jezebel points out, its a bit of a Catch 22. On one hand, she has a right to declare her own gender identity and all the rights that go along with that. On the other hand, girls as young as six were uncomfortable with what they saw as a naked man wandering around while they were changing. The college sided with Colleen Francis, the woman in question, and offered a smaller auxiliary locker room to anyone who did not want to use the main locker room with Francis. This has been spun a number of different ways. There’s been a tendency to interpret Francis as a man in order to disagree with the situation. Some feminists have framed this as an issue of sexism and called on Title IX:
Colleen Francis’ right to express a self-concept of his penis’s “Gender Identity”, and his right to be free from discrimination for his psychiatric “Gender Identity Disorder” diagnosis should NOT override Federal Title IX protections for females. Girls should NOT be shuttled off to inferior sports facilities in deference to one male’s feelings about himself
Somewhat ironically, right wing blogs agree with the feminist position that Francis should be fundamentally interpreted as a man. They spun it as a story of a voyeuristic male exposing himself to young girls, something that is nice and easy to feel righteously angry about. Unfortunately this situation is obviously much more complex, as is part of a much larger question.
Ideologically, everyone deserves to have equal facilities and not be discriminated based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Practically, you can only have so many different bathrooms. Finally, ethically, everyone deserves to feel safe when they use a bathroom or locker room. I heard of an anthropology student who presented a theory that we should shift to a system of eleven genders, based on all the possible biological and psychological presentations. Eleven bathrooms would be absurd and the pronouns would be impossible. On the other hand, a unisex bathroom, while fine in a home or dormitory, could be uncomfortable to dangerous in public. An incident of sexual harassment in a public place could turn into sexual assault in the privacy of a bathroom. Finally basing bathroom segregation on biological sex is unfair to transgenders who are being excluded from normal gender categories and particularly unfair to transgenders who are biologically ambiguous. So, what should be done?
This women’s urinal also confuses me. Why does this exist?