Thursday, July 31, 2008

Genetics, showers and woolly eyes

A lot these days trans conversations seem to circle round the issue of showers and toilets.

Propaganda of the most absurd sort is being made by people opposed to equal rights for transgender people centred right on this issue.

It's stupid. And by stupid I don't mean that it's neccessarily inneffective, but that it is only effective because of transphobia. It's message is irrational, based on false fears not real facts.

The why is really quite simple.
The basic logic behind it is that some transgender women still have penises (true), penises mean they are men (false), men are all predators (false), predators could use this right to get away with crimes (false).

Ok. To start with transgender women going through transition neccessary to get sex-change surgery must first liive entirely as women for a reasonable length of time, during which they will still have penises (often non-functional ones due to hormone therapy) and have to use womens toilets. Those people are not men and even if all men were predators these wont be.

Now not only are all men not predators but not all predators are men. Our sexist society has been in denial about this for quite some time but women are also perpetrators of murder, rape, child molestation, domestic violence and sexual harassment. Victims can be male or female. I know personally victims of some of these. Currently these seem to be significantly less commonly perpetrated by woman than men. That could be for several reasons. What is important is that it does indeed happen.

Now the idea that keeping transgender people (and men who might disguise themselves as transgender people) out of womens amenities keeps them safe requires several things, that currently there are no such people in those amenities, that those people coming into those amenities will increase the harm to women in those facilities.

Now transgender people (and fake ones if they exist) who pass as women sufficiently already can (and do!) use those facilities. Not showers much to my knowledge but toilets and changerooms certainly. Also anything sexually improper done will be so regardless if transgender people are allowed use of such facilities.

I'm unaware of any decent comparison study of sexual predation per capita between non-trans women and MtF transgender people which would indeed be interesting. Anecdotally I've seen far more media reports in the last few years of women pedophiles and murderers than trans sex-offenders. Quite a number of places have allowed transgender people to use the appropriate facilities to their gender presentation, no reports of massive rises in sexual predation have come of them, that alone suggests this is all a storm-in-a-teacup.

Even the suggestion of men pretending to be trans for access to such amenities for 'peeping' ignores that every day bisexual and lesbian women use them. There are a lot more bi and lesbian women than there are transgender women. Why are people using amenities where they could be naked and seen by people that may find them attractive complaining that other people might do the same? Surely it's absurd to have areas where strangers see each other naked right now when a simple door gives privacy!

So right now those amenities are not safe and allowing transgender people access to them does not, going by results, raise the level of unsafeness.

It's nohing but an attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes, using the basic transphobia and sexism of people who don't know much about the truth.

Are there any alternatives? Well we could build additional showers and toilets for TG folk at great expense. Of course straight women will still be naked in front of bi and lesbian women. I wonder why the opponents of gay rights aren't worried about that? What about the straight men showering with bi and gay men? Maybe it's a case of what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room?

How about we just put decent stalls and doors in toilets and showers so people can't peak?

What happens though if these people get there way?
Where else can transgender people go? A transexual, regardless of their genital status, will not be welcome in the toilet opposite to their presentation.

Picture this: A guy with a beard goes into the womens toilet. Does anyone check to see if they have a vagina in their pants before they start screaming?

A woman in a skirt goes into the mens. What do you think happens next? What happens if they discover she has a penis?

Or these people have to stay trapped indoors at home like caged animals. Ostracised by society, made invisible, prevented from taking part in normal daily life because they have no safe place to pee. That will assuredly drive many into depression and suicide. Those MtF who follow the law as it would stand risk their lives to transphobic violence and those who disobey such a law would risk jail and being treated falsely as sex offenders.

Those people who aren't happy with the idea of sharing amenities with transgender people simply need to call for the expensive seperate amenities option. Calling instead for trapping people in their homes is immoral, unethical and dare I say it quite unchristian too! There are two moral options, two ways of treating transgender people as equal. Opposing their very existance, that is not moral not ethical.

And then we come to the genetics...

So for female-to-male transexuals it seems we have found a genetic component.
Just one of many factors that seems to be part of the phenomenon, a phenomenon likely to have more than one causation anyway.

But every piece of medical evidence means another nail in the coffin of excuses to treat people as second class citizens. There was a time when the law seperated people with another genetic variation in showers and toilets... genes for skin colour!

I wonder then how long till a transexual armed with the latest expert testimony in the field sues a city or company for unfair discrimination on medical grounds? It's only a matter of time before there is enough evidence to do so. Once such a case is won somewhere it will precipitate a landslide of similar cases, all calling for damages too I suspect.

That'll sure cost a lot more than setting up a few decent doors and stalls in toilets and showers.

So morally, sensibly, logicly the arguments against transgender people having access to the basic amenities everyone else takes for grsnted just don't stack up.

The cost of not supporting Trans access to appropriate amenities, either current or new ones for their use is choosing to ruin innocent peoples lives. That is the moral cost. The risk is illusion, lies. And in the future the potential cost to the taxpayer could be far greater than that of giving some people who are just a little different the same right to pee as everyone else!

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