Thursday, April 07, 2016

What's the deal with this trans-bathroom backlash?

Could someone explain to me what exactly the problem is with transgendered people using the bathroom of the gender they identify rather than the one they were born with? For a lot of issues I can at least understand the argument on the other side, even if I disagree with it. But this one really confuses me. So walk me through it, if you could.

Here's how the Vox article summarizes it:
Behind the Tennessee bill is the bathroom myth: the idea that if trans people are legally allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, men will take advantage of the policy to enter women's bathrooms to harass and sexually assault women.
Putting aside the lack of statistical evidence that pro-trans bathroom policies lead to more harassment or assault, why would anyone even believe that myth? It doesn't make any logical sense. Sure, if a male-to-female trans person could use the women's room, a bad man could dress as a woman to get into the women's bathroom to target women. But isn't that true even if there is no pro-trans bathroom policy? Couldn't a man in any jurisdiction that doesn't have such a policy do that right now? Hell, a lot of bathrooms are in out of the way places without heavy traffic. I'm sure for plenty of bathrooms a man could just walk in without being spotted even without a disguise.

Actually, isn't it just as likely that barring trans people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with would make it easier for a man to sneak into a women's room? If female-to-male trans people must use the women's room, that means that people who look like men will be openly walking into women's bathrooms under these policies. No disguises or sneaking would be required. The would-be assaulter, if questioned, would just have to say that he is a former female and he's in.

Seriously, I understand that some people in conservative areas might have a visceral reaction against trans people in general, but focusing on the bathroom under the guise of preventing sexual assault seems really odd to me because it makes no sense.