Trans People and Bathrooms


Russian version

Nowadays, the topic of which toilets transgender individuals should use is highly debated.

I often hear the opinion that people should use restrooms based on their assigned gender at birth or the form of their genitalia to prevent “men who will use bathrooms to assault women”. Let’s discuss why this is a flawed idea, and I’ll provide some examples.

If I understand correctly, you propose segregating people in gendered restrooms based on the form of their genitalia. People with vulvas would use the “women’s” restroom, and those with “penises” would use the men’s restroom.

If that’s the case, then legally, people with vulvas, vaginas, and uteruses, including transgender men who may appear like this:

  • Elliot Fletcher Elliot Fletcher
  • Michael D. Cohen Michael D. Cohen
  • Petey Gibson Petey Gibson
  • Elliot Page Elliot Page

I intentionally selected well-known individuals publicly known as transgender. While I don’t know their current genitalia, I know that clothing, style, and hormones can lead to their appearance.

So, it means that individuals who appear overtly masculine with mustaches, beards, or stubble, but have “correct” genitalia, would also be legally present in “women’s” spaces.

However, if masculinely-presenting individuals use “women’s” spaces, it might make it easier for cisgender men who wish to exploit the system to assault women.

Let’s look at the statistics: The vast majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by cisgender men. They don’t need to look “feminine” to do so. On the other hand, cases of sexual assault by transgender individuals are rare. For instance, I found only one documented case involving a transgender woman - Michelle Martinez in October 2017.

In contrast, cisgender men in the USA commit approximately one sexual assault every 2 minutes.

Furthermore, statistics show that transgender individuals face a significantly higher risk of being victims of violence than perpetrators.

Thus, banning transgender individuals from using restrooms according to their choice won’t solve the issue of sexual violence, but it will increase violence against women, transgender women, and men:

  • Cisgender men will continue to assault women, and the ban will make it easier for them to access “women’s” spaces.
  • Transgender women will face risks when using “men’s” spaces.
  • Transgender men will be at risk of violence from dissatisfied cisgender women and law enforcement.

In the end, only perpetrators among cisgender men will benefit from such restrictions.

Such limitations won’t address the problem of sexual violence and will leave minorities, like transgender and intersex individuals (who make up around 1.7% of the population), vulnerable. The existence of intersex individuals should also be considered in this discussion.

An argument about cisgender male criminals attempting to exploit the system by entering women’s restrooms can be addressed case by case, for example, through additional evaluation by a psychiatrist. However, solving this issue should not come at the expense of restricting the rights of others.

Additionally, I have many questions about existing systems in the correctional industry, which are better suited for a separate discussion.

Instead of limiting the rights of transgender individuals, our society should strive to create safer and more inclusive spaces for all members, regardless of their gender identity. Violence and discrimination must be vigorously addressed, and the rights of every individual should be respected and protected.

Let us maintain the possibility to support equal rights and protect vulnerable members of society, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance where everyone can feel safe and respected.