Measuring the hate…

OK. I couldn’t resist mixing it with the commenters on yesterday’s US story: the one about the Macy’s employee fired for not letting a trans woman use the ladies’ fitting rooms.

It’s a useful exercise, not least because it highlights what the big barriers are to trans acceptance.

For me, the one that sticks out a mile (and this is backed up by a post here) is fear and women’s desire for women-only spaces. All very well tearing down the gender binary: but until the walls are down, I, too, have some sympathy for that concern. It needs to be addressed: education and engagement to clear up the froth: and not just slogan shouting.

I also have a suspicion that in the US, as opposed to over here, the trans umbrella casts a wider shadow (can someone explain?)

To begin with, I wasn’t too happy with the comments: they certainly come over as just that bit more vicious than what goes in UK papers nowadays. But counting up, only about a quarter were anti-trans – and some of those were possibly just being literal.

You decide.

The gender binary

First up, there was a certain amount of refuge being taken in the gender binary, mostly (interestingly) from the guys, accompanied by the view that this was all about sex and kink. This was summed up by Bill in Houston who wrote: “Sorry kids, but this is STILL A MAN. No matter what you lefties prattle on about, making excuses for his kink, this is STILL A MAN.”

Explicit support for this, with or without the language, came from half a dozen others, but it ran through a lot more. One – rrr – also appealed the DNA argument.

The opening post, though, from SEK questioned (perhaps reasonably) whether a man wearing make-up & women’s clothing is transgendered.

Women’s spaces

Fairly prominent was the claim to women-only spaces, with a number of women just objecting to sharing.

Concerns mostly put modesty before safety, with Jackie worrying about bisexuals (sic) going into the women’s dressing room with the intention of “peeking for the fun of it”, adding that “the purpose of separate dressing rooms is so that those with male parts cannot see female parts or hints of female parts”.

Cindy spluttered that this was “violation of privacy” and “offensive”.

The safety issue is intriguing, as just one woman (richeyrich) appeared to raise it on her own behalf, while three worried about men around children. As citoldu put it, she “doesn’t want a man in my dressing room or around her “half dressed little girls””.

Now that IS interesting, since it suggests that women, left to their own devices, are fairly savvy about their own safety – but the omnipresent paedophile fear is something that works against the trans community (anything not “normal” instantly equates to deviance ).

For the guys, it is about chivalry (or control, if you prefer). Three owned up to feelings not dissimilar to those confessed by Grifer who “would be uncomfortable as a man allowing my daughter or wife to go into an area with a man dressed as a woman”.

An added twist was provided by Bart-1 who wondered “what if this was regarding a public bathroom?”.


A couple supported “an “alternative” changing room for transpersons”. A couple more found humour in the situation and advocated opening up all spaces to all genders. Not sure they were being serious.

PC gone mad

There was a degree of support for the fired employee. Helen wished we weren’t “so PC” and wanted “to express our opinions without the fear of being sued by some nutcase”.

Uraculpa saw it as “them tryibg to shove their gender issues down our throats”, while duffer talked of the country having “plummeted into the abyss”.

Abusive language

There was a fair amount of abusive language. Take your pick from “nutcase” (Helen) “a psychological problem” (Uraculpa) “deviant” (Brian), “perverts” (OIF Vet), “freak” (Jim and BC) – or perhaps the individual should just “go to psychologist” (jj).

On the other hand, one could almost feel sorry for Deuchon Mandik who posted, rather pathetically: “Just a bunch of weirdness. I don’t like it one bit”.

Veiled threat

There were, too, the usual veiled threats – though only two outright ones (maybe the moderation is better over in the US).

Murf opined that “Quite frankly, i can see where a man whose female family members are in the dressing room might be upset that some dress wearing guy is back there lurking around”.

natalie was more explicit: “Transgender better stay out of womens bathrooms. We have real men in the south that would handle situation pretty quickly”

For those depressed by the above, take heart. There was one lovely post by Irene:

I work with a transgender person. She is obviously a man and dresses as a woman. I have to admit it was uncomfortable being in the restroom with her at first. But they have a right as a human no matter what. I don’t like the idea, of it all but I cannot treat her any differently because she is human and because I am a Christian, I believe we should treat everyone with respect and love one-another even if they are different. After all we all are. Nobody is the same.



10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Shirley Anne said,

    Now there is a genuine Christian in Irene. The fears though are real but I would suggest the dangers are no greater than anywhere else. I must have been very fortunate when pre-op not to have met with any resistance or objections to my using the female facilities anywhere. When I first ventured into such places it was in an area full of clubs and venues open to the gay and transgendered community so there was not problem, in fact one of the clubs had uni-sex toilets anyway. It became natural for me to continue using the female toilets. I think that anyone entering a toilet with the intention of indulging in some perverted sexual
    activity or assault is really taking a chance that they won’t be apprehended, there are usually too many people about and I think that is a valid point.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. 2

    There is just too much info lacking here and that’s a huge problem with this damned unbrella!

    Was this person a:
    Woman in transition?
    Cross dresser?
    Or someone who is transgender and will never pass?

    These are very relevant points and a perfect example of how the umbrella hurts more than it helps!

    For example if this was a woman in transition she is being wrongly tarred… however if this person is a cross dresser then the employee was right! While I have no issue with someone cross dresssing and I’m supportive, their clothes are not a free pass to woman’s space. If they are uncomfortable in the mens room then they need to address tis issues of men having such a narrow gender window and leave the women out of it!

    Lastly if this person is “living” as a woman but not able to or wanting to meet the standards that we accept as woman then perhaps the employee should have directed the customer to a less open dressing room where their privacy would have been protected…

    But again from all accounts there is just too much lacking in the story to judge fairly one way or the other!


    • 3

      janefae said,

      Thanks for this and yes, what u say makes sense. I think the comments may have been slightly skewed by the employee’s assertions, but we don’t know.

      One day we MAY have a gender neutral world. I doubt ill live to see it… And in the meantime, while I support the right of individuals to live their identified gender, I don’t support a free for all…cause I like man-free space too. 🙂

      Jane xx

      • 4

        eclectic chicken said,

        we don’t need a gender neutral world for men and women to share the same space… when you are in your changing cubicle can you REALLY tell the gender of the person in the next box?

        Maybe that MAN you don’t want to share your space with has a vagina and feels safer in your changing room.

        Sometimes Jane you really do sound as if you’ve walked over the drawbridge, pulled it up behind you and lost the plot.

        How can you agree with “Lastly if this person is “living” as a woman but not able to or wanting to meet the standards that we accept as woman”….

        There are people out there who don’t accept YOU as a woman… how can you turn round and reject anyone elses identity as a woman. How many, and which, tick boxes have to be ticked to make someone a person who can use the female changing room.

        I can see that you don’t want unisex changing rooms… but in having male and female ones we are allowing each individual to make a choice which one they use. If they make that choice and fuck it up by assaulting someone then kick them out…. but if they go in …get changed and get out…. we really can’t make that decision on their behalf.

    • 5

      eclectic chicken said,

      “Lastly if this person is “living” as a woman but not able to or wanting to meet the standards that we accept as woman”


      just ffs.

      who is this ‘we’? who gets to be judge and jury?

      Having been out and about with Jane in her early transition days… in the days when she was a bloke in a skirt wearing nail varnish… I would defend the right for ANYONE to use a womens changing room if they identify as female enough to be out in public and wanting to use a female changing room.

      But then I also think anyone perving under doors in changing rooms or caught masturbating in the cubicals… or frotting the clothesrails should be ejected forthwith.

      As long as an individual is in there to try clothes on and mind their own business what complaint have any of us ‘really’ got.

      • 6

        janefae said,

        point missed, methinks. There are several things in the reply, and they touch on something that the trans community needs POLITICALLY to deal with…espesh as the consultation period on transphobic crime starts now.

        First off, there is the personal dimension: i like there to be some unisex social spaces: hence my work with women-only lesbian clubs. However, i support inclusive clubs as opposed to the “womyn for womyn” version of same…clubs that include those who identify as women.

        Therefore i personally have no probs with anyone identified female at the events i attend. Ditto in changing rooms and restrooms.

        In that detail, i am a tad reluctant to go along with the OP.

        However, there is the issue of whether trans also includes those who cross the gender divide in some respect and do NOT identify with a gender at variance from birth gender.

        And while i take the point about what business is it to be worried in practical terms, there is an issue around an individual who is male-identified entering what is deemed to be a women-only space.

        As far as i am concerned, that is the biggest argument that opponents of trans rights have going for them (because pretty much everything else is just judgmental).

        It needs tackling – and simply asserting that it ain’t an issue is not sensible politics. Reminds me of a load of froth going on elsewhere over events in New York. Lots of trans anger: to which someone quite sensibly pointed out that LGBTQI is unlikely ever to form more than 5%-ish of a community.

        So to get places, we need to win friends in the other 45%…not simply tell them they are wrong.


  3. 7

    Rebecca Ashling said,

    I’ve been given no problems using female changing rooms or toilets, but I do dread using the latter.

  4. 8

    Alex said,

    I don’t ‘get’ this. Is it a communal female changing area or one with separate cubicles? I suspect seperate cubicles in which case what is all the fuss about. Nobody is going to see anyone else other than going fully clothed to and from the changing room. Have I missed something, or are they all being a bit too precious?

  5. 9

    eclectic chicken said,

    Don’t think I really missed the point Jane as I was reacting far more to Miz Know it all and your perceived agreement with her than any nuanced political point you were originally making.
    I don’t like the cut of her jib.

    But then I’m an umbrella and live and let live kinda girl…. I’m happy to accept anyone anywhere as long as they aren’t causing real harm.

    I find the purist transsexual arguements to be just as abhorrant as the little shit who told you he’d thump you for going in a womans changing room.

    Not accepting a broad umbrella of trans in the name of advancing transsexuals alone up the ladder of political privledge could be seen as paving the way for broader acceptance…. but it could become the same sort of heteronormalisation that the gay community went in for and see how fast certain sectors of the gay community pulled up the drawbridge behind themselves.

    I always like to think of you doing the former.

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