November 13, 2007
Montgomery County, Maryland Transgender Bill
The County Council for Montgomer County, Maryland is considering a bill granting housing and employment protection to transgendered individuals. However, it also included a provision that would permit transgendered individuals to use public restrooms. Those opposing the bill were up in arms about this provision, claiming that it would result in "indecent exposure." See the Washington Post's Coverage of the issue (Nov. 11, 2007; Transgender Bill May Be Close to Passing). The bill's sponsor stated that she will pull the restroom language and thinks that the bill will pass without it. However, the broad language of the rest of the bill may be read to include the right to use public restrooms nonetheless.
This brings up an important point. Why are restrooms such a hot button issue? It seems that generally people are really offended by the idea of a male to female transsexual using the women's restroom when she has not yet had genital surgery. I have a litany of responses to this, but I will limit my comments to three:
(1) As I pointed out in an earlier blog post, women's restrooms generally have enclosed stalls. Thus, how would anyone suffer from "indecent exposure"? Also, even in male restrooms, there is generally at least one stall, so the same logic applies.
(2) Most male to female transsexuals would rather not have anyone see their "male" parts. Why would any transsexual individual "flash" her genitalia at the general public? In my view, this kind of concern is really a front for a deep seated fear of those who are different. In fact, it is similar to comparing transgendered individuals with sick individuals who like to expose their private parts in public to young children. It is an unacceptable comparison.
(3) Why don't we just add additional "family" or "gender neutral" single stall restrooms to public buildings? In this manner, we will never have the issue of forcing a transgendered individual to pick whether he feels like a male or a female today. Not to mention the fact that intersex individuals are put to the same task as well.
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Exactly right. When I use a public restroom I am just interested in going in doing what needs to be done and leaving. I pass pretty well most of the time but I could get "read", so for me as quick as I can get in and out the better. Why should I be expected to take my life in my hands going into a men's restroom? I'm definitely not safe there.
If a person in a woman's room exposes their male genitalia, there are laws to cover that sort of thing and I suspect they work equally well regardless of what rest room is what.
Posted by: pdupretg | Jul 26, 2008 10:25:05 PM