I am indebted to Catherine for drawing this one to my attention, though I fear I can add little to what has already been reported, which is that from having a policy on trans diversity that was broadly inclusive, university authorities in Pittsburgh’s fair (?) city have just turned decisively to the dark side.
The full story…which I fear rapidly sent me towards slumber with all the ins and outs of campus committees and petty politicking…is reported by student paper, the Pitt News.
That is followed by an editorial.
Go read if you have an attention span. (Today, I fear, I don’t).
Backward step for Pittsburgh
Bottom line, though, seems to be that previously, Pitt permitted individuals to make use of shower and rest room facilities on a case by case basis – and broadly in accordance with identified gender. Whereas now they would like students only to use said facilities on the basis of what it happens to say on their birth certificates.
Given that in some states, birth certificates are NEVER amended: in others, only amended post grs; and that in the US, grs tends to be a ferociously expensive procedure that is often put off til later in life; that means that from this week, the number of trans men and women using rest rooms in accordance with their identified gender is likely to be at or near nil.
As for the gender queer contingent…methinks if the university authorities got wind of them, they might explode.
Because, as Jane Feuer, chairperson of Pitt’s Anti-Discriminatory Policies Committee,put it: this “goes against old ways of thinking about sexuality”.
Mmmm. So it does. Though I am not going to jump up and down and condemn Ms Feuer too quickly. Reading between the lines it does look like she is one of the good guys, mostly bought into a progressive policy and doing her utmost to steer a conciliatory course between dinosaur and progressive tendencies in the University.
Missing the point
Still, there are some things coming out of this that I definitely take issue with: the first that gender-neutral all round is the best/ only/ obvious solution. Hmmm. That misses the point that some folk, both trans and non-trans PREFER binary loos.
So I’m happy for policies where gender neutral loos co-exist alongside binary ones…not sure that just going one route helps much/at all.
The other thing to emerge from this is not worthy of the powers that be…ever so cautious on behalf of the trans community…because, doncha know, if the poor dears use loos and shower facilities that are of the “wrong” gender, they might come in for abuse.
Whatever next? Will the Uni be urging the girls to wear long skirts, lest they, too, come in for some abuse in the summer time?
As the editorial rightly points out, this is victim shaming writ large and should have nothing to do with the debate. Not least, because I suspect no-one understands and evaluates risks in a range of everyday situations better than the individual directly involved in that situation. Using third party concern for that individual as grounds for denying rights they themselves are asking for – in any circumstance – is somewhere between patronising and disingenuous.
Overall, though, this just confirms for me something i keep happening on: that americans, by and large, seem to be far, far more exercised by bathroom goings on than large chunks of the rest of the world, being seized of a quite alarming tendency to link sexuality and toilet habits.
Which might just explains “Porky’s“!