Montgomery County, Maryland, is a focal point for the freedom to pee. Last year, the county commissioners passed an ordinance protecting one’s right to pee in a bathroom that matches one’s gender identity, but the law is on hold pending an appeal based on a citizen petition. [There are too many websites and blogs to mention that have commented or reported on this situation, but if you Google “Montgomery County bathrooms gender identity,” you’ll get ’em all, including a story of a man in a dress who demanded to use a women’s gym bathroom that turned out to be a stunt by the ordinance’s detractors.]
The opposition to this ordinance is a group called Citizens for a Responsible Government, whose website is called “Not My Shower,” obviously alluding to the specter of a “man in a dress” invading a women’s public shower or dressing room and wreaking havoc. Their argument is that one should use the bathroom that corresponds to their “natural” sex, whatever that is.
Well, says Zoe Brain, who writes wonderful blog and op-ed posts, let’s take this argument to its natural conclusion. Transmen (women who transitioned to men and who have beards and muscles) should use the women’s bathroom, and transwomen (men who transitioned to women and who wear dresses, makeup, and look like women) should use the men’s bathroom. Zoe has illustrated this reductio ad absurdum argument beautifully over on her blog in a mock flyer to be plastered all over Montgomery County. As Zoe’s flyer graphically illustrates, and as has been pointed out in a variety of places, if there is danger associated with transgendered people and bathrooms, the danger falls on the trans* people, and is associated with forcing transmen to use women’s bathrooms or transwomen to use men’s bathrooms, both of which would wreak havoc and threaten their safety.
Look, peeing is a fairly fundamental need, as I have noted in last month’s blog post, “Too Ra Loo.” It is disingenuous for the Montgomery County Citizen’s group to create fear in the citizenry around the image of mysterious men who wear dresses to exploit legal loopholes in laws designed to allow transgender people to pee in peace. If a creepy man is going to sneak into women’s bathrooms and bother people, the presence or absence of a “free-to-pee” law isn’t going to make any difference. I donated to Basic Rights Montgomery because while I feel my logic is impeccable, you read a lot of this sort of logic in blog comments and letters to the editor of newspapers (this one from TeachTheFacts.Org):
why is separating bathrooms by biological sex treating people “unequally under the law”.
It is very equal.
If you have a penis, you belong in the mens room.
if you don’t have a penis you can go in the ladies room.
Do a Google search on men-in-dresses who exploit free-to-pee laws in order to lurk in women’s bathrooms for evil purposes — guess what? It simply doesn’t happen.
Note: See anything written by Autumn Sandeen on the issue of bathrooms, starting with this one about males as predators / protectors and how the logic fails when we’re talking about children.
See also a fabulous political cartoon about this issue at Kevin Moore’s website, “In Contempt”