Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now it's showers!

Conservatives-OK to be fair-religious conservatives, have gotten a new hot button issue, namely the recent spate of laws protecting transgendered people from discrimination. True to form, these conservatives have been raising the specter of men in women's rest rooms or as this article notes-men in showers.

Geesh-first of all someone who is not planning on SRS (Sexual reassignment surgery), such as a non op TS, is not going to go into a public shower. They don't want to call attention to themselves. Likewise in terms of rest rooms, if a male to female TG needs to use the rest room, she is going to use the one that will call the least attention to herself, which unless she is totally unable to pass, is going to be the ladies room.

The opponents of non discrimination laws aims at TG's are in part exploiting what my fellow blogger, Larry Arnhart, might call the yuk factor, that in a sense comes from our evolutionary history and informs many of our moral decisions in spite of our attempts at rationalizing morality. I think most of us who identify as transgendered understand the yuk factor issue whether we want to admit it or not and that plays into our desire to just blend in and be left alone.

But the opponents are also playing upon stereotypes and fear. Consider this comment from a site called Americans for Truth referring to a Colorado proposal:

"anyone–regardless of their biological identity–will be welcome in the men’s or ladies’ room, including cross-dressers, men who self-identify as women, women who self-identify as men, and people who haven’t made up their minds. To make matters worse, Colorado defines “public accommodations” as everything from malls, restaurants, and schools to small and even home businesses. The other side says this is about discrimination. But the chance of offending a few people hardly justifies putting everyone else at risk, which is exactly what SB 200 does."

The site then goes on to mention the potential use of this law by sexual predators:

"For every transvestite who takes advantage of this law, there are a dozen sexual predators who will see this as a chance to put women and children into a vulnerable situation."

Really? Let's get real. Are there sexual predators out there? Sure, but I don't think anti discrimination laws are going to help them in any significant way. After all we do have laws against lewd behavior.

Consider, if I might be so indelicate, when you go into a rest room do you ever really see people displaying their genitals? Even in the men's room where the possibility is likely, because of the nature of the plumbing, such displays would typically be considered lewd. Of course, maybe my rest room experience is atypical, but I don't think so. People tend to be fairly private about rest room activities-whether through some innate or cultural imperative, I don't know. So I am not really concerned about the sexual predator issue.

And I do understand the fear. After all, the other night en femme in Kansas City at a meeting I had one of the men at the meeting escort me to my car just as the women did. There really are predators out there. Only most of them aren't in the ladies room.
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