Locker room policies and scaremongering tactics

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Posted

I have been concerned about a number of things I read about policies regarding transgender people in locker rooms. In particular I have read a lot about an incident at Planet Fitness. According to what I heard, someone who looked like a man and was dressed like a man but identified as a women went into the women's locker room while women were changing. In addition I have heard that some states passed laws that allow students to use the locker room of the gender they identify with at school and to participate on sports teams of the gender they identify as. The websites where I read about this claim that a student with male anatomy who says she identifies as a girl will be able to shower with the girls.

What I can't help but wonder is how much of this is real. A lot of comments on the news stories and blog entries where I read about this say that these policies will make it easy for cisgender men to incorrectly claim to be transgender just to spy on naked women in the locker room. What I wonder is if these policies really allow someone with male anatomy (who has taken no hormones or had any surgery) to access women's locker rooms or if people are misrepresenting these policies as a scaremongering tactic.

Does anyone know what these policies really do? Do they really let people with male anatomy access women's locker rooms even if they have not started hormones? I can't help but wonder if the person at Planet Fitness had started hormones, but maybe the person who said she looked like a man noticed a few masculine features on an otherwise feminine face and figured out she was transgender. Maybe she was dressed in unisex clothing instead of men's clothing.

I know I could open up a can of worms when I ask when it is acceptable for transgender to use the locker room of the gender they identify as. I think transgender people should definitely not use the locker room of the gender they identify as if they have not been on hormones for at least several months. Otherwise it would be very easy for perverts to lie about being transgender to spy on the opposite sex naked. I want to emphasize that I don't think transgender people are perverts. I think the people who would lie about being transgender are perverts. However, there is no way to tell who is lying and who is not. Also, I think it is understandable for people to not want to change in front of someone of the opposite anatomical sex, even if it could be certain that the person is question is truely transgender.

On the other hand, I think there should be no problem letting transgender people who have had genital surgery use the locker room that matches their identity. Cisgender men will not have vaginoplasties just to sneak into the women's locker room. The grey areas are from the time when transgender people have been on hormones for several months to when they have had surgery, when they have a combination of male and female physical characteristics. From what I have read, most people are freaked out by someone with male genitals using the women's locker room, even if all of the rest of her physical characteristics is female.

I am especially concerned about this because I fear that if people have the wrong idea it would increase bigotry toward transgender people. A lot of people write comments on these news stories and blogs that say that transgender people are making women's locker rooms dangerous for women. But do these policies really allow what people are assuming they allow?

In discussions unrelated to transgender issues, I have seen men say that their gyms allow women to enter the men's locker room (but not men in the women's locker room) just to hang out or talk to guys even when men are changing and showering. I have a feeling that men who say these things are lying because they find it sexually arousing to let women in men's locker rooms. However, I have read that female sports reporters are allowed in men's locker rooms to interview athletes and that female police officers are allowed to guard men's showers and bathrooms at prisons.

I personally would not want to use the women's locker room until after surgery. I wouldn't want anyone to see you know what pre-op anyway. Does anyone know what the general population would think about a post-op transgender woman using the women's locker room? Would people react differently depending on the location, like San Francisco vs. a small town in Mississippi?

If the policies regarding transgender people and locker rooms do not allow what people think they allow, is there a way to make people realize this so they won't think transgender people are some sort of threat?

 

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Posted (edited)

"A lot of comments on the news stories and blog entries where I read about this say that these policies will make it easy for cisgender men to incorrectly claim to be transgender just to spy on naked women in the locker room."
To date, in the many places that have passed laws that allow for people to use the facilities that correspond to the gender with which they identify, there have been ZERO cases of heterosexual, cisgender men parading as women in order to invade women's spaces to spy, harrass or molest women and children who accompany women into those spaces.   

"What I wonder is if these policies really allow someone with male anatomy (who has taken no hormones or had any surgery) to access women's locker rooms or if people are misrepresenting these policies as a scaremongering tactic."
Those who fight against  the passage of these laws use fear tactics borne of ignorance and bigotry to keep trans people out of the appropriate bathrooms and other gendered facilities.

Planet Fitness and TG issues in the news

"Does anyone know what these policies really do? Do they really let people with male anatomy access women's locker rooms even if they have not started hormones?"
Much of your post seems skewed toward the fear of "people with male anatomy" accessing women's lockers [and restrooms].  These laws, where they exist and where they are being fought against, also affect "people with female anatomy" who need to access men's lockers and restrooms.  While so many are so wrapped up in unfounded fear that a cisgender male is going to go in a women's restroom, no one stops to realize that a trans man could potentially get the crap beat out of him if the right person is in the men's room at the same time.  Policies that allow trans women and trans men into the appropriate spaces makes things safer for the transgender person - male or female.

"I think transgender people should definitely not use the locker room of the gender they identify as if they have not been on hormones for at least several months. Otherwise it would be very easy for perverts to lie about being transgender to spy on the opposite sex naked."
Being on hormones does not guarantee that a trans woman will be able to seamlessly integrate into women's spaces unnoticed.  Likewise, the same applies to trans men.  Additionally, the affects of hormones are not something that acts on schedule.   One woman may develop breasts and fat redistribution in 6 months, another may not for a year.  A man might develop facial hair in three month, another man might never develop facial hair.  By your theory, there would both men and women that would never be able to access the appropriate spaces.    And again, there have been no cases to date of cisgender men parading as trans women just to get into women's spaces.  Believe me... the first time it happens, such news won't be able to travel fast enough!

"I think there should be no problem letting transgender people who have had genital surgery use the locker room that matches their identity. Cisgender men will not have vaginoplasties just to sneak into the women's locker room. The grey areas are from the time when transgender people have been on hormones for several months to when they have had surgery..."
Not all trans men and trans women have gender confirming surgery.  Again, by your theory, there would be many of us relegated to using the wrong bathrooms and lockers. 

IJustNeedToPee-x400.jpg
                              Michael C. Hughes

I don't know if Michael Hughes has had bottom surgery or not, but for the sake of argument here, and because many trans men do not have bottom surgery, let's say he has not.  But, would that really matter, and would that be the only thing you'd be thinking about if you walked into a women's room and found him coming out of a stall?   In the places where these "bathroom bills" exist that criminalize trans people for using a gendered space opposite the sex they were assigned at birth, Hughes would have to use the women's room.  Would you want someone looking like him in the women's room?  Do you think he wants to be in the women's room?

"I personally would not want to use the women's locker room until after surgery. I wouldn't want anyone to see you know what pre-op anyway. Does anyone know what the general population would think about a post-op transgender woman using the women's locker room? Would people react differently depending on the location, like San Francisco vs. a small town in Mississippi?"
There are trans women and trans men who have been using the spaces people fear for them to be in all along.  If a trans woman is post-op, the issue might be moot because she might not be recognized as trans.  My thoughts as to who might react better or worse may be a bit biased, but I'm more inclined to believe there would be more issue in MS than in CA, though San Francisco is not always the GLBT haven everyone would prefer to believe it is.  I don't want you to feel that I am disrespecting you... but here's some food for thought since so many people are so concerned about cisgender men being the person you don't want in a women's restroom --

While I've always hated having to be in women's lockers, and I am very uncomfortable in women's restrooms...those are the places I have to use.  But I identify as a HETEROSEXUAL MALE.  In lockers/showers, you women have no heartburn in running around half naked, or naked.  In restrooms, you straighten stockings and other undergarments and check other things with your posses.  Need I go into more details?  Technically, you really never know when a guy is in the women's room.

"If the policies regarding transgender people and locker rooms do not allow what people think they allow, is there a way to make people realize this so they won't think transgender people are some sort of threat?"
I can think of only two things:   1).  Experience what we experience;   2).  Since that's not possible...   education.

I hope some of this helps...of course some of my reply is just personal opinion.  But your post should surely spark some good debate, and also impart the experiences of the members, from those who are just beginning to come to grips with being trans (yeah, it's not something we choose, and some don't even want to admit it to themselves), all the way to those who have transitioned (some are even post-op) and living as their true selves.

-Michael

 

P.S. .. Welcome to TGG  :)

Edited by UsernameOptional
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Posted

I was really talking only about locker rooms and not bathrooms. Bathrooms are different because there are stalls and using a bathroom is usually a much bigger necessity than using a locker room. I don't think genital surgery should be a requirement for using the bathroom that matches someone's identity.

Even though I identify as female, since I have not started transitioning, I use the men's bathroom. Even though I know I am a woman on the inside, I still look like a man on the outside and it would confuse people if they saw me in the women's bathroom, so at this point it is easier to use the men's bathroom. However, I use stalls rather than urinals because I don't want to expose body parts I don't identify with in front of people who are the opposite gender than I identify with. I know people probably won't see anything at a urinal, but it is still more comfortable for me to use a stall.

I also think places like gyms and public swimming pools should try to provide a place for transgender people to change if they can't use either locker room. Even if they still pass as their birth sex, I still think they should be given an alternative place to change in front of people whose physical sex is opposite to their gender identity.

I realize that transgender people are more likely to be subject to violence than cisgender people but most (cisgender) people seem to not realize that. A lot of commenters are making claims that allowing transgender women in women's locker rooms are going to make women's locker rooms unsafe for women and children.

 

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Posted

Hiya. Things are slightly different, here in the UK. There are Some Places, that have Unisex Rest-Room's, Like Our Local Supermarket. (I Am Officially Registered Disabled, due to Mobility Problems, with My Spine, and Left Hip.)    I Am able to Use Disabled Rest-Room's, as well.  But, I Do otherwise, Use The Female Rest-Room's !  As  I Am Living Full-Time, as Female, that is the reason behind it. (It was one of My Cisgender Female Friend's, Who Suggested that I Should do it) !  No-One, So Far, has Commented, at All !  Transwomen, and Transmen, have to Answer The Call Of Nature, and Feel Safe, while so doing ! 

 

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Posted

Sorry it took a long time to respond. The problem with educating people is that I don't know what the locker room policies really are. People who leave comments on news stories about locker room policies for transgender people seem to assume the policies allow people with fully male anatomy to use women's locker rooms (and full female anatomy use men's locker rooms) but the news articles are not clear if the policies really allow that. I think I read someone express concern that teenage girls will be forced to shower with boys after PE (they seem to believe all cisgender men/boys have to do is claim to be transgender even if they have no gender dysphoria). I've heard that the majority of schools in the United States and Canada have not had students shower after PE for a while now. My schools did not do showers when I attended 20 years ago. I've heard most schools in Europe still require showers.

Does anyone know what the locker room policies really are? I have read a lot of comments on these stories where people respond to those saying it will be easy for cisgender men to pretend to be transgender women to harass women by saying that there have been no cases of that happening. However, I think I read one comment where someone claimed a few specific cases where something like that happened.

Just wondering, but what are peoples' opinions of what the policies should be. I want to clarify that I am talking about locker rooms only, not bathrooms. Bathrooms are different because they have stalls and when you need to go it is very important to be able to go. Even though urinals in men's rooms are not in stalls I think it is rare for someone to see anything anyway. Regarding the opinions of people on this forum: Do you think transgender people should wait until finishing hormones or surgery before using locker rooms or can they use them before then? Do you think they should stay partially dressed if transition is not complete? Is there something wrong with women seeing a penis, or men seeing a vulva in the locker room or is it no big deal? Should transgender people who have had no hormones or surgery at all be able to use the locker room that matches their identity including showers?

I looked up the controversy about the Planet Fitness policy. The cisgender women who objected said that the transgender women who used the locker room looked like a man. I saw a picture of her and although she had a big frame and did I don't think she looked attractive, she did not look like a man.

In any case it seems like a lot of people are trying to scare people into thinking that transgender rights in the area of locker rooms will put cisgender people in danger.

 

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