Transgender Fight Moves to Spas

An ugly situation that's getting uglier.

WaPo (“A trans woman undressed in a spa. Customers said they were ‘traumatized,’ and a protest ensued.“):

A famous spa in Los Angeles’s Koreatown became the latest site in the battle over transgender rights last week, drawing attention from conservative commentators nationwide. A week after a customer confronted spa staffers about a transgender woman apparently disrobing in the spa’s women’s section, protests over the situation turned violent.

[…]

Those against gender-inclusive public facilities have long cited safety and privacy concerns, saying these accommodations could open the door for predators to enter spaces such as restrooms and changing rooms. A 2018 study from the Williams Institute, a research center focused on sexual-orientation and gender-identity law and public policy, found no link between gender-inclusive policies and safety risks.

[…]

The initial confrontation between an upset customer and spa staff happened after a transgender woman reportedly used the side of the spa reserved for women. In one video, a person who identifies herself as the spa’s manager asks whether the transgender woman did anything specifically inappropriate, and an upset customer replies that the person’s genitalia was exposed in the women’s section of the spa.

“She was within the women’s section, which, you know, is exactly where she should be,” said Jae Red Rose, an organizer for San Diego Trans Pride.

The spa’s Facebook page warns that “modesty must be checked at the door, as no clothing is worn in these gender-separated areas.” Two customers said they — and two girls who were present — were “traumatized” after seeing the transgender woman’s genitals.

Women-only spaces should be protected, said Zac Boyer, manager of programs and outreach for the central Ohio-based LGBTQ organization Stonewall Columbus, but that doesn’t mean all women have the same genitals.

“If you don’t want your child to see a variety of bodies, don’t take them to naked spaces,” Boyer said.

Conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong tweeted a thread of videos that contain strong language and feature a customer at Wi Spa repeatedly asking an employee why a “man” was allowed into the women’s section.

A bystander asks the customer whether she’s talking about a transgender person, to which she replies: “There is no such thing as transgender.”

A spa employee defended the transgender woman’s use of the facilities, telling the customer that she could leave if she was uncomfortable.

In a statement, Wi Spa cited a section of California law that makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against transgender and other gender-nonconforming people. The spa said it does not tolerate harassment or lewd conduct from any customers.

“Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa,” the statement said. “Wi Spa strives to follow the law and meet the needs and safety of all of its customers.”

Protesters who said they were defending women’s and children’s rights rallied against the business’s decision Saturday, but were seemingly outnumbered by dozens of black-clad counterprotesters who attempted to chase them off.

Video shot by a Twitter user who self-identified as an advocacy journalistshows a man wearing an American flag bandanna pulling a gun out of a backpack. When the person filming asks what he grabbed, the man replies: “Something to shoot you with.”

This is going to get far uglier before it gets better.

The overwhelming percentage of the population has genitalia that conforms to their gender identity. And most people would prefer not to be naked in the presence of strangers with different genitalia. There’s a reason, after all, that we gender segregate restrooms, showers, and spas.

At the same time, transgender individuals face an enormous amount of trauma. A transwoman would certainly feel unsafe in a men’s locker room or spa, particularly if she’s partly transitioned.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is here. But telling the overwhelming majority of women that, if they don’t like seeing strange penises at the spa or locker rooms, they should refrain from going out in public is not it.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. wr says:

    “I honestly don’t know what the answer is here.”

    I’d say that this in an infinitesimally small problem which is being blown up by a bunch of right-wing activists desperate to pull people’s attention away from Biden’s successes.

    To the extent that one customer is “traumatized” — and give me a break on that — by the sight of genitalia, then the spa manager should apologize to her and give her a gift certificate, the way any decent business would.

    But this woman is clearly a political activist who is far more interested in making herself a martyr to her cause than simply getting along in her life. The fact that she decided to “protest” this spa shows her to be a desperate media-whore, and that fact says that she should be ignored.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And most people would prefer not to be naked in the presence of strangers with different genitalia.

    Well, some Americans anyway. In Europe it’s not that big a deal. After a canyoning trip in Spain, my wife and I found ourselves stripping off our wet suits on the side of a busy street. Countless men, women, and children walked by without a single one taking anything more than passing notice. They gave us our space and I didn’t wag my d in their faces.

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  3. Kathy says:

    I honestly don’t know what the answer is here.

    Not using teacups for tempests would be a good start.

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  4. drj says:

    Regardless of whether the expectation is reasonable, I can imagine that other women didn’t expect to be confronted with a penis. The trans woman apparantly chose to unilaterally change the conditions of other people’s visit – which is always an incosiderate thing to do.

    Having said that, this made me LOL

    Two customers said they — and two girls who were present — were “traumatized” after seeing the transgender woman’s genitals.

    Which brings me to my larger point:

    This is going to get far uglier before it gets better.

    That’s only because some people are invested in making it uglier.

    A lot of this could/should have been prevented if the spa had been sufficiently clear in advance about its legal obligation to not discriminate against transgender people.

    (Or perhaps the spa was sufficiently clear, but someone tried to stir up shit regardless – which changes the situation dramatically.)

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  5. Mu says:

    Only one solution: Separate but equal accommodation.

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  6. Beth says:

    @Mu: Yeah, people seem to have forgotten how well that worked last time we tried it.

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  7. Teve says:

    Somewhere in Germany right now: “Did you see this??? Americans are a bunch of children.”

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  8. SKI says:

    The trans woman apparantly chose to unilaterally change the conditions of other people’s visit – which is always an incosiderate thing to do.

    No, she didn’t. The conditions of attending the spa explicitly include seeing other naked women.

    The complaining person is the person who is trying to change the conditions here. She is demanding that this woman not be allowed the same rights and privileges that other women enjoy.

    She, and apparently you and James, are demanding that the rest of us agree trans women aren’t really women. That bigotry against them is acceptable. That they don’t have equal rights to exist as themselves in public because it will make some uncomfortable.

    The “answer” is clear and obvious – accept people as individuals. If they aren’t directly impacting you – and making you uncomfortable that they exist doesn’t count – they have a right to exist in public.

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  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    I honestly don’t know what the answer is here.

    Since the spa already has an answer they’re happy with, do you need to know one?

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  10. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Not using teacups for tempests would be a good start.”

    Took me three paragraphs to say what you said in ten words…

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  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @Teve:

    Yeah, there was a a viral video of a naked old German man chasing the wild boars who took his clothes while he was sunbathing naked in a crowded park. It was funny and sweet and the guy was cheerily interviewed afterwards. In America, nude sunbathing would be part of the culture wars, I guess.

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  12. JKB says:

    The solution is simple. Segregate on an objective basis of Penis and No Penis. Easy to enforce. A person who traumatically lost their penis to injury or disease can easily be accommodated in the penis area just as they are now. Trans individuals would shift based on the clear cut criteria. And it is objectively easy to enforce against any harassment feared by a person with a penis wearing traditionally female clothing and makeup in a penis area.

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  13. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    Yo!

    Germans would laugh at us for being weirded out at public nudity. Scandos too. It is a thing you learn to ignore. It is not a thing I would do, but it is a thing I can accept or easily ignore.

    I cannot express enough how often men abuse locker-room rules on public nudity in gym locker rooms in the US. Use a fucking towel! And shower flip-flops! I do not want your disgusting fungi infecting me. I have super-sensitive skin, ffs!

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  14. Modulo Myself says:

    @JKB:

    Yeah, that sounds very normal and regular and not at all a terrible, idiotic thing.

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  15. de stijl says:

    Molehill. Mountain.

    Establish and enforce appropriate rules on public nudity within your facility. Any idiot above toddler age can wear a towel appropriately.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    She, and apparently you and James, are demanding that the rest of us agree trans women aren’t really women.

    I think forcing people to pretend that people with penises who identify as women are exactly like other women is quite unlikely to be helpful in gaining more widespread tolerance and, eventually, acceptance for transwomen.

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  17. drj says:

    @SKI:

    She, and apparently you and James, are demanding that the rest of us agree trans women aren’t really women.

    Oh, come on. I’m not against change. All I’m saying is that an appropriate heads up would be fitting in a situation like this.

    That’s not unreasonable in a society in which the depiction of nudity is more strictly regulated than the depiction of murder.

    Most people are taught for decades (if they’re old enough) that there’s something uniquely special about genitalia. Letting them know that the rules have changed shouldn’t be too much to ask.

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  18. Lounsbury says:

    @James Joyner: And so the American Culturally Correct Left decide to have another go at playing Don Quixote as utterly incapable of admitting the arch position that a person with a penis is a woman if he says so is a loser and ripe of abuse.

    The Republicans are going to hammer them.

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  19. Raoul says:

    It does not appear to me that this attention grabber is traumatized about her situation. Anyways, the answer is simple, until she is fully transitioned, she cannot go the women’s area.

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  20. Lounsbury says:

    @drj: Or perhaps one should have some modicum of sagess and allow that just because a certain political fraction has decided the rules have changed, that wider society does not have to per se agree.

    Non discrimination in work places, that’s something one can say is reasonably digestible.

    Imposition of a rather radical redefinition of what’s a gender in terms of access to gender restricted (largely by women’s preference) places of nudity… well, that’s rather a different calculation.

    Of course this shall be vehemently denied – rather like it was denied that Defund Police, looting were actually problematic in your 2020 season.

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  21. Jen says:

    Every spa I have ever been to–and I’ve been to quite a few both in the US and abroad–has had private changing areas if you wish to use them.

    I’ve also always kept my eyes to myself. It’s impolite to look. I’m not sure I’d even know if a trans woman was at the spa. This does seem like a really, really unlikely occurrence and probably not something to get wound up about.

    On the other topic: I believe that the boar stole the man’s briefcase with his laptop in it, which for some reason made that whole thing even funnier to me. Plenty of nude parks and such in Germany, and when we lived in Europe most of the beaches were tops-optional for women.

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  22. drj says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Or perhaps one should have some modicum of sagess and allow that just because a certain political fraction has decided the rules have changed, that wider society does not have to per se agree.

    Wider society has already agreed (and rightly so). From the quoted article:

    In a statement, Wi Spa cited a section of California law that makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against transgender and other gender-nonconforming people.

    I assume you know how representative democracy works?

    But even in the absence of this specific piece of legislation, the spa should have the right to allow transgender people. All I am saying is that this may have been insufficiently clear to some customers.

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  23. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think forcing people to pretend that people with penises who identify as women are exactly like other women is quite unlikely to be helpful in gaining more widespread tolerance and, eventually, acceptance for transwomen.

    I think pretending that every woman is “exactly like” every other woman is not supported by reality.*

    I think pretending that the issue is anything more than some people being upset that someone else’s personal life doesn’t match their own preconceived expectations is similarly unhelpful at actually having everyone accepted as part of society.

    I also think the best way to have everyone accepted is to simply insist that everyone be accepted. To acknowledge that everyone is different but still has value.

    @drj:

    Oh, come on. I’m not against change. All I’m saying is that an appropriate heads up would be fitting in a situation like this.

    That’s not unreasonable in a society in which the depiction of nudity is more strictly regulated than the depiction of murder.

    Most people are taught for decades (if they’re old enough) that there’s something uniquely special about genitalia. Letting them know that the rules have changed shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    Why should it be the burden of individual transpeople to announce that they exist every time they are going about their life?

    How should they know that someone who objects to their existence and denies them their rights is in the room?

    The spa already told all their patrons that nudity was to be expected so your reference to nudity prohibitions/stigma in US society don’t really apply.

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  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have a few thoughts, not really connected.

    First, I have often encountered women who wished their bodies weren’t so sexually charged. I’m familiar with one or two who use toplessness to make a political point. And boy, do I wish penises were under that umbrella. The complaint is that just seeing a penis was “traumatizing”. How did you ever manage to have children? he wonders.

    Second, the trans woman in question may have been aware that she was pushing a boundary, but felt it was a boundary that needed to be pushed on. How dare she work for more acceptance of her particular form of femininity? How rude! And it’s not like the spa owner didn’t back her up.

    I was thinking that a more specific content warning might be better, but most of the wordings I came up with read a lot like, “Hey, just so you know, there might be black people in the shower with you!” If you recall, that was a thing 60 or 70 years ago. Any sign like that sort of reinforces the notion that there is something wrong with such a body.

    On the other hand, I get that this is a non-trivial thing. It takes work from “no penises except for my husband’s” to “that person with a penis is another woman just going to the spa like me”. Non-trivial work. Which we (at least me and the trans woman in question, at least) are demanding people do. So in that sense, I guess we are starting this cultural war.

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  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’ll admit that I fundamentally don’t “get” the concept of transgender, and probably never will. I’ll certainly engage in the polite pleasantries and conform to someone’s preferred pronouns as a matter of courtesy, but privately I admit that is more performative (and self-preservative) than an indication that I agree. That said, I suspect the end result will be customers who are offended (which I do get, I wouldn’t exactly be pleased with being put in that situation either) simply taking their business elsewhere.

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  26. gVOR08 says:

    In a nation of 300 million + people, we now have how many examples of transgender individuals in spas being an issue? One you say?

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  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    On the other hand, I get that this is a non-trivial thing. It takes work from “no penises except for my husband’s” to “that person with a penis is another woman just going to the spa like me”. Non-trivial work. Which we (at least me and the trans woman in question, at least) are demanding people do. So in that sense, I guess we are starting this cultural war.

    Legitimate question / request for education: why would someone who apparently identifies as a woman choose to retain their penis (or, for that matter, the converse, why would someone who identifies as a male choose to retain their vagina?) Kind of seems like trying to have it both ways, which I will admit I find disconcerting.

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  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ve been traumatized by the sight of naked males every time I go to a gym. Alter kockers walking around naked with their balls hanging to their knees, dudes with brass rings through their dicks, roid studs obsessively towel-flossing their genitalia. One gym I used to attend had leather sofas in the dressing room. Yes, that’s right, I want you to picture old fat hairy naked men peeling themselves off leather. I’ve seen it! I mean, I barely survived, but with enough alcohol you can get past these things.

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  29. drj says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Legitimate question / request for education: why would someone who apparently identifies as a woman choose to retain their penis (or, for that matter, the converse, why would someone who identifies as a male choose to retain their vagina?)

    Functionality is a big deal, of course.

    A surgically reconstructed penis/vulva may look like one, but doesn’t work like one.

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  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    How about if we all just grow up and stop giving a fuck what other people have between their legs? Americans are children. Jesus Christ, when I go to the dermatologist there’s a whole routine designed to keep me from having to be naked all at once. Naked in bits, that’s fine, apparently, but naked all at once? The horror. . .

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @drj:

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding. I read this piece to indicate that a former male was naked in the female section of the spa with an intact, “original equipment”, as it were, penis. Could be my mistake. If accurate, though, I can understand why the women there would have felt uncomfortable.

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  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I don’t really know. They don’t tend to share such intimate thoughts. At the same time, well, that’s painful and expensive and dangerous. I have one friend who did it, and was willing to talk about it, and it’s apparently two different surgeries, staged over a year or more. It’s a big project.

    As an aside, one of the surgeries is known as “orchiectomy”. That word kind of amuses me.

    Bodily dysmorphia (the thought that “I shouldn’t have one of those”) is a thing, but it isn’t universal among trans people. Yeah, this confuses me, too. But it is a thing.

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  33. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “but privately I admit that is more performative (and self-preservative) than an indication that I agree.”

    Sure… but that’s pretty much the definition of polite society. It doesn’t matter what you feel about another person. What matters is that we treat everyone with dignity and respect.

    I’m sure there are some activists who would find what you say here reprehensible — or, worse, “problematic” — but if everyone simply acted as you’re describing here the country would be a substantially more pleasant place to live.

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  34. Chip Daniels says:

    I don’t mind that the bandanna guy owns a gun. I don’t mind that he exposes it in the privacy of his home.

    But he shouldn’t be allowed to just whip it out in full view of women and children who might be traumatized by it.

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  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think that’s a tad different that women seeking out a unisex environment (for whatever reason) and finding themselves confronted there with an intact penis. It defeats their entire purpose for having sought out the environment in the first place.

    I’ll admit, I’m a tad traditional and unlikely to change my thinking about this issue, and that’s probably my failing. I’d never, ever be rude to anyone about it or call someone out, and I play along (as I said) with the pleasantries, but in my head no matter how you’re dressed or think of yourself – if you’re still walking around with a wiener, you’re a guy.

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  36. Karen's Obnoxious Husband says:

    I was at a spa once.
    I was in the men’s locker room and there was an elderly person with large flabby boobs, and smooth, nearly hairless body; I knelt down and looked carefully at the genitals and couldn’t see any testicles, but upon closer examination did see what may or may not have been a very small penis or rather large clitoris.

    I suddenly became enraged.

    I demanded that the manager conduct a full investigation and expel this person from the changing area until a full report could be made.

    Because no civil society can exist which tolerates such self-centered and inconsiderate behavior.

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  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It defeats their entire purpose for having sought out the environment in the first place.

    In their minds, yes, that’s what happens. But let’s think about this. Penises, on their own, there in the corner, do not inflict trauma. Pictures of penises do not harm people. What they are is a symbol, a standin for things that have hurt these women, or that they are afraid of. That isn’t a requirement. It isn’t a done deal, it doesn’t have to be that way.

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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Right. I suppose I’m saying that the demands for tolerance and understanding seem to be going in one direction – “you must abide this or be vilified” – without taking into consideration the other side of the equation. If these women have some sort of apparent duty to tolerate / play along with this situation, it would seem that the other party has an equal obligation to take their feelings about / discomfort with the situation into consideration as well. At least on face, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

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  39. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Naked in bits, that’s fine, apparently, but naked all at once? The horror. . .

    Well, only if you’ve seen this Luddite naked. Medusa had nuthin on my ability to scare people!

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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    You owe me a new keyboard. I now have wine all over my old one 😀

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  41. Kathy says:

    How about anti-Karen laws?

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  42. Raoul says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    “…her particular form of femininity.” You mean the one with the penis, right?

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  43. flat earth luddite says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Sorry, boss, I’ll snag the one from the new junior associate’s cubicle for you!

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  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    LOL, deal 🙂

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  45. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Right. I suppose I’m saying that the demands for tolerance and understanding seem to be going in one direction – “you must abide this or be vilified” – without taking into consideration the other side of the equation.

    On the contrary. Both sides should have the exact same demands – they have to let the other person be themselves. The bigot is allowed her opinions. She isn’t allowed to prevent the other woman from going to the spa unharassed.

    You said it yourself in describing how you approach the situation. People can feel however they want but they can’t object or prevent other people from living their lives. They have the right to be offended. They don’t have the right to insist that other people stop offending them by existing.

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  46. EddieInCA says:

    I’m in a gym 4 times a week wherever I am in the country. I’ve been in more locker rooms than the Village People combined. Some of the locker rooms are crowded. Other, not so much.

    But I couldn’t tell you who has a dick the size of a cucumber and who is hung like a field mouse. Why? Because I don’t look. Why? Because I don’t care.

    Why is it so hard for people to mind their own damn business? Why just not look? It’s not hard.

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  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    The bigot is allowed her opinions. She isn’t allowed to prevent the other woman from going to the spa unharassed.

    I think perhaps you’re layering motivations which aren’t in evidence here. Is she a bigot – meaning she’s actively opposed to transgender persons in any circumstance – or is she legitimately uncomfortable with being put into a situation where she’s entitled to presume certain conditions, but finds herself faced with something she never signed up for?

    Put another way, you’re presuming (somewhat correctly) that the transgender person is being harassed, but neglecting to take into account that the female patron is arguably also being harassed. It’s a two way street in which both parties have a legitimate basis for their beef. We’ve just seemingly arrived at a place where we’re now engaging in qualifying harassment as acceptable or unacceptable and attributing ill motives to someone solely based on our position on an issue. That’s taking it a little too far, I think. I think both persons have some basis for being offended and both have a reasonable, equal right to expect that their gripes be considered. We can’t put the onus on one to unilaterally concede just because we might happen to agree with the other.

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  48. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think perhaps you’re layering motivations which aren’t in evidence here. Is she a bigot – meaning she’s actively opposed to transgender persons in any circumstance – or is she legitimately uncomfortable with being put into a situation where she’s entitled to presume certain conditions, but finds herself faced with something she never signed up for?

    There is evidence. Her own words from as quoted from the original story above: “There is no such thing as transgender.”

    She is a bigot.

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  49. Roger says:

    In 2006 my son came home after his freshman year in college and informed me that blacks in America cannot be racist because racism is limited to situations involving prejudice plus power. Prejudice alone was never sufficient to equal racism; institutional power was required to elevate prejudice to racism. I argued quite a bit about that with him that summer. My bottom line was that the definition he gave was fine for his sociology classes and certainly was useful in exploring how racism has affected our society, but millions of Americans grew up with a different definition of the term. Lecturing them on what he believed to be the proper definition wasn’t effective advocacy; the fact that academics wanted it to mean something different than the dictionaries we grew up with said it meant was going to make it awfully tough to have a meaningful conversation with his cousins in southwest Missouri about how to make things better.

    In the fifteen years since, he’s gone on to earn his Ph.D. in sociology, which has confirmed for him the importance of the academic definition of racism. He’s also had some very frustrating conversations with friends and family, which I think have helped him appreciate how imposing definitions on people rarely convinces them—it just gives them a new thing to fight about. It’s much easier to dig in your heels about how ludicrous it is to say that only whites can be racist than to face the data that shows how the legacy of redlining still affects minorities today. So we’ve ended up meeting somewhere in the middle. I acknowledge the usefulness of his definition of racism and he tries to talk about facts rather than labels.

    I think we’re in an analogous spot today with some trans issues. In my son’s world, sex refers to your equipment while gender refers to your identity. That works fine for me,* but I don’t expect to see progressives make much headway with the masses by pontificating on the difference between sex and gender. I’m not sure yet where the middle ground on this is, but I’m confident that Republicans will exploit it as another wedge to pry away gettable suburban women if we don’t find a better way to talk about it.

    *though to be honest, I’ll probably never get my head completely wrapped around the idea of what it means to identify as one gender or another. I spent years working past the prejudices I was raised with that some things are guy things and some things are gal things, so it’s hard for me to get what it means to feel that you’re a woman. That feels to me like backtracking to reaffirming sexual stereotypes. I understand that my failure to comprehend does not mean there’s not a real thing there to be comprehended, so like HarvardLaw92 I honor the stated identity without truly understanding it.

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  50. inhumans99 says:

    This thread reminds me that I was exposed to being educated about individuals who were born a man/women but identified as a member of the opposite sex way before folks started getting their panties in a bunch over someone who was accused of not using the correct locker room/bathroom, and now spa.. I remember when I was attending courses at a community college in Sylmar, CA to get my AA degree (they had moved from a campus in San Fernando to a primary campus in Sylmar) and forgetting the context as to why the following was brought up, a guest lecturer let our glass let loose with questions when the lecturer revealed she used to be a he.

    I turn 50 soon so it has been many years since I attended this course but with hindsight it amazes me that I was around fellow students that just acted like adults and asked questions without judging or being rude (maybe in private they were all Yikes, but again…they seemed to understand that in the classroom setting all of us students would be well served if we all acted like adults around each other). I was witness to folks asking what it was like to have sex after the surgery (I think someone even asked how does an orgasm now feel for this individual, again keep in mind we were all adults in the classroom asking these questions), and other very intimate questions.

    To be honest, looking at the news stories regarding this subject over the past few years the most amazing thing is the college did not get in trouble for hosting this lecturer, nor the teacher who normally taught the course did not get in trouble, it was just an hour or so where we had an opportunity to ask questions, or just sit back and let others ask and take in the info. I feel like since I spent so many years getting my AA degree (I only attended course at night) and got to know quite a few teachers and regular students that any behind the scenes scuttlebutt about this incident getting someone in trouble would have become something I became aware of, but nope…since there was not a student who created a tempest in a teapot by voicing their objection over the content of the lecture to someone in power at the College it was just another interesting lecture I have been subjected too in the many years when I was a student.

    It feels like if this happened today that someone would record it, put it on the internet, and then a vocal minority would clutch their pearls that students in college were being exposed to such scandalous information, and folks like Tucker Carlson would latch onto the story and run it into the ground. Notwithstanding that even all those years ago when I got to take in the lecture I was among fellow adult students. Again, if this happened today, even if it did not happen in a classroom of actual children (anyone below 18 years old), tons of folks would crawl out of the woodwork to declare that even though it was adults exposed to such information they still needed to be “protected” for one reason or another.

    The maturity of society as a whole has really regressed the past 4-6 years, as too many adults are letting folks like Tucker Carlson treat them like children who have to be reminded not to touch the stove while the burners are on because you will get burned. The infantilization of a good chunk of the GOP electorate should start to chafe in the minds of some of the more prominent members of the GOP, but nope, at the moment plenty of folks have abdicated thinking for themselves and are happy to let TC, McConnell, Ted Cruz, DeSantis, and others prominent members of the GOP tell them what to think and how to feel about a subject, whether that subject is Global Warming, wearing a mask during a pandemic, or making up your own mind whether or not your life is ruined for all of eternity because you saw a penis on someone who also has breasts.

    The funny thing is, if you are at a spa where everyone you encounter will be in their Birthday suit than maybe, just maybe you should be less judgey about other folks’ bodies. I almost feel that this woman is acting like an individual who is shocked I tell you, shocked, that she goes to a nude beach and is forced to encounter people who are not wearing any clothes. Heaven forfend! Lol!!

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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    I’ll have to disagree. She’s stating a belief, and one that’s not entirely unreasonable. Bigotry, at least in my mind, unavoidably has to involve active antagonism / prejudice. Do we have evidence that this woman evinces such attitudes and actively works to disenfranchise transgender persons in all circumstances, which is pretty necessary to vilify her as being a bigot, or do we have an isolated instance where she has a legitimate reason to be annoyed? You’re doing what I described above – expecting her to unquestioningly confirm to your concept of an issue or else be vilified for disagreeing. That’s venturing into the realm of thought policing, and entirely unfair.

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  52. SKI says:

    And as a second post because no edit button… @HarvardLaw92: Put another way, you’re presuming (somewhat correctly) that the transgender person is being harassed, but neglecting to take into account that the female patron is arguably also being harassed. It’s a two way street in which both parties have a legitimate basis for their beef. No. Allowing someone else to be seen in public and having to accept them as a full fledged human with the same rights as you isn’t harassment.

    The bigot can have any views she wants to have. She can’t use those views to prevent someone else from living their authentic life.

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  53. Beth says:

    Hi, Friendly neighborhood Trans here. I read this article last night and was depressed. I also knew that it would be a topic of conversation here today. So, yet again, I am here to say, I am a 43 year old white Transwoman, and I am willing to answer any questions anyone has, I don’t care if you are worried about being offensive, just ask. A couple of comments:

    @James Joyner:

    At the same time, transgender individuals face an enormous amount of trauma. A transwoman would certainly feel unsafe in a men’s locker room or spa, particularly if she’s partly transitioned

    .

    There is no such thing as “partly transitioned”. I started HRT (Spironolactone to reduce testosterone, Estrogen and Progesterone for the good shit) about 3 years ago. Is that a partial transition? I am having my first facial surgery next week. I am having my scalp cut open and my hairline moved, then they are going to us that incision to either remove and reshape or simply grind down my brow bone, then they will do a fat transfer and graft that into my cheeks. I will likely have a second surgery later this year to re-sculpt my nose and chin to be more “feminine”. Is this a partial transition? or is the only thing that matters that I have my penis filleted and turned inside out to make a vagina? I’m seriously not trying to be sarcastic or mean here. Regardless of which surgeries I get, I will spend the rest of my life transitioning. Transpeople disagree on this point, but I am of the camp that believes that Transition is never completed.

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Legitimate question / request for education: why would someone who apparently identifies as a woman choose to retain their penis (or, for that matter, the converse, why would someone who identifies as a male choose to retain their vagina?) Kind of seems like trying to have it both ways, which I will admit I find disconcerting.

    This is a good question and am willing to help quell your disconcertion (we’re both lawyers, we can make up words right?). For most Transwomen, your instincts are correct, they want their penises gone and and the want them gone yesterday. For others, like me, there is an extreme ambivalence towards either their penis or surgery or both. I personally don’t care about my penis. HRT has shrunken it to the point that it just hangs there apathetically. HRT has also caused erections to be come difficult to come by and EXCEPTIONALLY painful. Basically, I just use it to pee and only really get aggravated by it when I can’t wear the cute underwear I want to wear. It really only bothers other people which I kabuki around by wearing special compression underpants. Shoutout to TomboyX!

    Surgery on the other hand is a doozy. While I have great insurance, money and a supportive spouse, surgery scares the shit out of me. Really any surgery. I am terrified of doctors like you wouldn’t believe. Which is surprising that I am so excited about my facial surgery. I don’t want to look in the mirror any more and want to smash my face in. I don’t feel that way about my penis. The surgeries themselves are also very complicated. They don’t really cut anything off, more of a repurpose. All of them basically involve some sort of fileting and then turning inside out of the penis. Then depending on which one, they either use available skin from the penis and scrotum to create the vaginal canal or they use parts of your colon or Peritoneum to create the canal. Many of these surgeries require extensive electrolysis in that area so that you don’t end up with hair growing in your vagina. Post surgery, you might end up sitting on the couch for 2-3 months while everything heals. If you’re lucky, the surgery was a smashing success. If not, you’re going to be going through revisions. Those can happen even with the best of surgeons. After that, you will spend the rest of your life dilating with various sized dilators so that your awesome new vagina doesn’t decide to seal itself shut.

    For me, the calculus works out that; I don’t really care about my penis (doesn’t really bother me all that much), I’m terrified of surgeons and I’m also dealing with the stigmas of 1. even if I do this, most people STILL won’t accept me as a woman and 2., I have been conditioned all my life to not want this, to feel bad about this and I don’t know if I’m worthy of it. All that works out to mean, I don’t know if I’m going to do that.

    @SKI:

    She, and apparently you and James, are demanding that the rest of us agree trans women aren’t really women. That bigotry against them is acceptable. That they don’t have equal rights to exist as themselves in public because it will make some uncomfortable.

    I’m going to echo this sentiment. A lot of this isn’t about “redefining gender” or anything like that. Western civilization has conditioned people to thing that Gay and gender non-conforming people are somehow wrong, or icky. This country has come a long way, but it still regards gay men as being “gross” or “weird” and honestly, one of the only way that gay men have been able to achieve a level of integration was because they had Transwomen to point to and say, “Well, we’re not like those freaks.” Without being pejorative or snarky, people like James and Harvardlaw will never see me as a woman. They don’t want me executed in the street or forcibly excluded from a lot of things, but the end result is that they don’t believe I’m a woman and that I shouldn’t be allowed in “women’s spaces”. It really doesn’t matter how many surgeries I get or how many hormones I take or the effort I put into things like this. I was born with penis, therefore I will never be a woman. It is depressing and disheartening.

    @JKB:

    The solution is simple. Segregate on an objective basis of Penis and No Penis. Easy to enforce.

    Um, you know that Transmen exist and many if not most don’t have penises. Many of them are not visibly Trans in the same way that Transwomen are. If Cis Women are terrified of penis having Transwomen in their “spaces” wait till Hairy Danny with the gut and mastectomy scars comes in the locker room. In the broader conversation, people forget that Transmen exist. Partly this has to do with the fact that people ignore what women do; partly because Transwomen are seen as “icky” and a threat to cis women, and partly because it’s easier for the boys to blend in. It’s not socially transgressive to be perceived as male.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I was thinking that a more specific content warning might be better, but most of the wordings I came up with read a lot like, “Hey, just so you know, there might be black people in the shower with you!” If you recall, that was a thing 60 or 70 years ago. Any sign like that sort of reinforces the notion that there is something wrong with such a body.

    I don’t think this point gets enough attention. It was like the comment about separate but equal above. Do we as a society really want to go back to that? Transpeople are the canary in the coalmine on that issue. Logically, if we can exclude Transwomen on the basis of being the wrong type of woman, whats to say that we can’t exclude Black women. Remember, for a long time there was a religious angle to racial discrimination. Do we really want to go back to that?

    Personally, I exist in a state of terror when it comes to using public bathrooms. To the point where I won’t if I can get away with it, no matter how painful. I also go out of my way to have Cis women come with me to protect me, or in some cases, buy my way into VIP areas so that I either have access to single occupancy toilets or just less potential harassment. I expect that I will never enter a locker room again. If I go in to the men’s locker room, I have breasts and generally read as female, I’ll be raped or attacked. If I go into a women’s locker room, I have a penis and read enough masculine that I’ll be attacked. Even if I have bottom surgery, I’m still too terrified to do those things.

    Anyway, this is getting too long as it is, so I guess “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our [Trans] dead.”

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  54. Gustopher says:

    A bystander asks the customer whether she’s talking about a transgender person, to which she replies: “There is no such thing as transgender.”

    I think there’s more going on here than a wild penis sighting, and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the bigot.

    An unexpected penis minding its own business might be startling. It might even make you uncomfortable. But it’s not traumatizing.

    Would she object to an amputee? A burn victim? A negro?

    I think the answer is clear — the bigot should buy up all the bookings for an hour or three and have Bigot Time at the spa.

    If she wants a private experience, with no objectionable other customers, she should just pay for it.

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  55. Beth says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Right. I suppose I’m saying that the demands for tolerance and understanding seem to be going in one direction – “you must abide this or be vilified” – without taking into consideration the other side of the equation.

    Here’s the difference, if the sole claim of harassment is because of the Transperson’s EXISTANCE in a space, then that claim of harassment should be invalid.

    Now, if the Transperson in question is being an a$$hole, or a slob or causing any sort of problem outside of their existence, then the claim is valid.

    In this case, we have an unremarkable Transwoman minding her own business and her very existence in a locker room is sufficient to set these Karens off.

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  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    The bigot can have any views she wants to have. She can’t use those views to prevent someone else from living their authentic life.

    That’s just it though. Is she doing that, or is she simply saying “I came here specifically because I has a reasonable basis for presuming that the scenario would be (as advertised), female only. That was not the case”. Perhaps she’s a domestic violence survivor who is reasonably uncomfortable around men? Perhaps she just feels more comfortable not being naked in a co-ed situation? I don’t think we’d label either of those as being unreasonable, would we? You’re presuming malevolence, I think, because you feel she should believe a certain way. I just don’t think there is a reasonable basis for layering that onto the scenario (unless the objective is to crucify her for having a different opinion about a contentious issue on which perhaps she hasn’t been able to progress as far as you have).

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  57. Jen says:

    I’m confident that Republicans will exploit it as another wedge to pry away gettable suburban women

    I swear if the next election features “trans people are coming for your spa day” in any way, shape, or form, I am going to lose my dang mind. Talk about the Karenification of politics.

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  58. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ll have to disagree. She’s stating a belief, and one that’s not entirely unreasonable. Bigotry, at least in my mind, unavoidably has to involve active antagonism / prejudice. Do we have evidence that this woman evinces such attitudes and actively works to disenfranchise transgender persons in all circumstances, which is pretty necessary to vilify her as being a bigot, or do we have an isolated instance where she has a legitimate reason to be annoyed? You’re doing what I described above – expecting her to unquestioningly confirm to your concept of an issue or else be vilified for disagreeing. That’s venturing into the realm of thought policing, and entirely unfair.

    She is denying that the other person is who they actually are. Denying them autonomy. Wanting to deny them access to participation in society. In today’s day and age, it is completely irrational and unreasonable. We know that transpeople exist. We’ve known it for thousands of years. There is a whole discussion in the Mishnah, codified 1700+ years ago, on the 7 different gender identities and how they are to be treated with respect to gendered religious responsibilities.

    Also, bigotry is literally defined by a person’s thoughts about a group.

    obstinate or unreasonable attachment to a belief, opinion, or faction; in particular, prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

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  59. de stijl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Mid-transition is messy and requires compromise. You gotta deal with what you were dealt with for a long time even if you have moved on from the anchor of born genetalia and have the means to score appropriate meds.

    Surgery is not an easy thing. It may not be covered by insurance or the national health service, and you might be be required to pay upfront. If a trans person has legacy junk it is usually not for lack of effort.

    I dealt with this decades ago as a cis het dude looking in. Ain’t no big deal, believe me. Just people realizing their true selves. Adult self realization is an actual good adaptive thing. Preventing it yields crappy, stunted lives beset by rejection and lack of fulfillment. Society harming individuals cruelly. I reject that.

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  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Beth:

    I respect that. Like Roger, I’m not entirely convinced of the legitimacy of the divide between sex and gender. Perhaps that’s a product of being from a a different era. There is no malevolence to it, I assure you. I do not remotely think these folks are bad in any way, or consider them to be a threat. I’d never actively try to make others affected by it uncomfortable, and actively seek to behave in ways which make them feel included and validated, but privately I also just don’t buy it either. It’s legitimately a stretch for some (myself included) to be expected to see a penis but think “that’s a woman”. Getting there is non-trivial work, and the disconnect is too large for some to broach. That doesn’t justify active agency to negatively affect someone’s life, granted. It just seems that we’re venturing into the realm of turning that into vilifying people for “wrong-think” to some extent, and I’ve never cared for that.

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  61. Beth says:

    @inhumans99:

    Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I keep doing things like this. This is a meatgrinder for me. It is physically painful to put myself through some of these comments. But, if I can bring any, even a di minimis, amount of understanding to people here then its worth it.

    For me, one of the most radical things I do is show up for my son’s baseball games. It’s important to let people know that being Trans is incredibly boring.

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  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @de stijl:

    Granted, and perhaps this woman could have dealt with in a more productive way (i.e. just quietly and privately expressing her reservations to the management, requesting a refund, and then leaving). Speaking honestly, that’s how I would have dealt with it.

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  63. Beth says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Honestly, if we both in court together, you probably wouldn’t know I was Trans until I opened my mouth. Even without any surgery, I still read as woman. That is until I open my mouth and this horrid voice comes out. As an aside, I just say that I’m from the Southside of Chicago, and we all talk like this. Anyway, I read as woman both because of the performative aspects I enjoy (I wear way to much pink, it makes me happy) and because of the effects HRT.

    That being said, the vast over whelming majority of Trans people don’t give a shit about what people think about us, we worry about what they DO to us. You can think I’m a man if you want, don’t really care, but what I do care about is how that belief then trickles down and effects where I can go to the bathroom, if I’m safe in public, if I’m going to get physically attacked in public spaces.

    I’m a woman, because I’m a woman, regardless of what you think about me. I’m not trying to be a jerk, please don’t take it that way. It’s just that the line between belief and action gets really fuzzy at times for some people.

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  64. Clif says:

    @SKI: Real women don’t have a penis, unless they’re on the receiving end of a sex act. Pretending that a man or woman is whatever they want to be only works while their natural body parts are covered up. This guy was just making a mountain of his his molehill, and of course the usual “protester’s” (read -antifa types) show up with their skateboards and start beating on whoever disagrees with their “anti-fascist” stance. Of course it’s in California, but some other state will have it happen until another dumb ruling is made, and then it becomes commonplace.
    Side note- did they provide a picture of the guy who exposed himself to a little girl? That’s a crime in most normal places.

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  65. Gustopher says:

    @SKI:

    The complaining person is the person who is trying to change the conditions here. She is demanding that this woman not be allowed the same rights and privileges that other women enjoy.

    She wouldn’t be ok with her teenage son being in the same locker room as the trans woman either.

    It isn’t about making sure trans people stay in their assigned-at-birth space, it’s about making them just go away.

    She, and apparently you and James, are demanding that the rest of us agree trans women aren’t really women. That bigotry against them is acceptable. That they don’t have equal rights to exist as themselves in public because it will make some uncomfortable.

    I have no idea whether trans women are real women. I think it’s a dumb question because it relies upon all sorts of poorly defined concepts of what a woman is.

    I do know that they are people and deserve respect as people, and they have to fit in somewhere. I don’t really see it as my place to tell them where.

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  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    There is a whole discussion in the Mishnah, codified 1700+ years ago, on the 7 different gender identities and how they are to be treated with respect to gendered religious responsibilities.

    Granted, but all of those are pretty soundly rooted in physical characteristics / various abnormalities respective to the same. Probably not the best example to use. It undermines your argument.

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  67. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    I called it “terrible male drag”. I was on HRT for about a year and a half before I went “Full time*”. I had breasts and was wearing a bra and getting all sorts of confused looks in court cause the suit wouldn’t close right. That was not a fun time. At the end, however, I did get to free myself from the oppression of pants forever more.

    *personally, I hate the terms “full time”, things like, “mid-transition or partial transition”, ugh, and the granddaddy of them all, “passing”.

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  68. Gustopher says:

    @Clif:

    Side note- did they provide a picture of the guy

    Dude, don’t fetishize trans people. That’s just rude.

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  69. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ” It just seems that we’re venturing into the realm of turning that into vilifying people for “wrong-think” to some extent, and I’ve never cared for that.”

    How about approaching it this way: It’s none of your business.

    Think how much easier your life will be if every time you start pondering whether or not some random trans person is or is not what they say, you just remember “Hey, it’s none of my business.”

    That’s all it takes.

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  70. Beth says:

    I would just like to point out the difference here between the discussion we’re having with Harvardlaw92 and the garbage that is coming out of Clif’s orifice. I will have good faith discussions with people who don’t understand and are unlikely to change their minds, but are at least open to learning.

    And useless chuds like Clif. Harvardlaw, you and I obviously don’t see eye to eye on this issue, but I think Clif is a good example of shitty belief that is likely to take unpleasant actions. I would rather get you to join my party (we have fun snacks) thank policy anything he is doing.

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  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Beth:

    Not at all. I appreciate the perspective and I’m more than willing to admit that my inability to “get” it , so to speak, is my issue. As I said, I’d never, ever want to act in a way that would make someone in your position (or indeed anybody, really) uncomfortable, and I’d value being informed about it if I inadvertently did. I just see some valid basis for discomfort on both sides of this scenario, but honestly have no real idea about how to resolve it (aside from the offended woman in question just quietly and unobtrusively leaving the establishment). Trying to be fair and understand better while also being unoffensive can be a tightrope. One perhaps that I’m not walking very well at present.

    If my discussion here has made you feel uncomfortable or denigrated / devalued in any way, please believe that was never my intention and accept my apologies for it. This is not remotely an easy issue, agreed.

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  72. Beth says:

    I have all sorts of edit timers running. I’m the Queen of the world!

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  73. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That’s just it though. Is she doing that, or is she simply saying “I came here specifically because I has a reasonable basis for presuming that the scenario would be (as advertised), female only. That was not the case”.

    I think if you pay any attention to the above article you will see that is not her tone.

    A lot of things can be forgiven with “I’m old and I’m uncomfortable” that aren’t forgiven with “there’s no such thing as transgender!” and then picketing the place.

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  74. Jen says:

    @Beth: Beth, I want to personally thank you for putting yourself through this “meat grinder.” Many of your responses have helped to fill in gaps in understanding that I am simply not comfortable asking of my trans acquaintances. It’s not their responsibility to educate me, I know that. So, thank you. (And, best wishes for your upcoming surgery!)

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  75. gVOR08 says:

    @wr:

    But this woman is clearly a political activist who is far more interested in making herself a martyr to her cause than simply getting along in her life.

    Can’t help but suspect the trans individual is too. And the spa may be playing this for free publicity. None of which changes the situation, which is why, @de stijl:, I am so gonna steal “Mount Molehill”.

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  76. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    How about approaching it this way: It’s none of your business.

    Think how much easier your life will be if every time you start pondering whether or not some random trans person is or is not what they say, you just remember “Hey, it’s none of my business.”

    That’s all it takes.

    I was afraid it was going to be received that way, which means I’ve done a bad job of exploring the issue. My apologies for that. Let me clarify that whether or not someone is trans isn’t of the slightest relevance to me with respect to how I view / value someone, and knowing that information doesn’t (and won’t) affect how I treat that person in daily life. Indeed, aside from my wife, I tend to view everybody else from a neutral viewpoint with respect to sex (probably a bad attempt at explanation, but if someone isn’t my wife I don’t really care what’s going on in their pants).

    A trans person is absolutely entitled to the same dignity and respect with which I’d treat anyone else. 100% behind that assertion and don’t question it in the least.

    I was trying more to explore the incongruity inherent in situations like this where it’s suddenly unavoidable and the best ways to deal with it constructively. Thinking I didn’t do such a good job of that, mea culpa.

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  77. Gustopher says:

    @Roger:

    In 2006 my son came home after his freshman year in college and informed me that blacks in America cannot be racist because racism is limited to situations involving prejudice plus power.

    They can be racist, they’re just not effective at being racists.

    Academic definitions that don’t match real world definitions is how we get some of the stupidest arguments in society. You would think the academics would be smart enough to realize that.

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  78. Beth says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’re being fine and quite polite. I assume good faith and, honestly, I have worked on knowing where to be/direct outrage. Like I said above, there is a difference between you and the trolls. I only respond to them to the extent necessary to have a discussion with other people.

    What makes these discussions difficult for me is not dealing in other people’s beliefs, it’s having other people debate what is “acceptable” about my existence. The Mishnah reference is useful because it shows that gender non-conforming people have been around since the beginning. The core of what we are fighting for is to be left alone in our existence. I can try really hard and explain what it’s like to be Trans, but, respectfully, the Cis mind can’t comprehend it. I can’t understand what it’s like to be Cis. I’m not joking.

    Lets take a slightly different (and imperfect) look at this. What if the woman involved was a Cis Black woman. Would it be acceptable for the Karen to pitch a fit and complain to management or ask for her money back? Would it be acceptable if the person was disabled? Or imagine for a moment that it was a Transman forced into the Women’s locker room.

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  79. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: Why do you assume the trans woman was being performative and looking to create a scene?

    She was probably just trying to live her life, and is in a spot where any normal action will create a scene. Should she shut herself up in a nunnery?

    Read Beth’s description of using a public restroom. Ponder how sad it is.

    Imagine being in a position where you can either hide away, or be accused of creating a scene.

    Given how quickly the spa came to her defense, I’m betting that this is a known trans-friendly spa, and that the trans woman was going there specifically to not create a scene.

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  80. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    A lot of things can be forgiven with “I’m old and I’m uncomfortable” that aren’t forgiven with “there’s no such thing as transgender!” and then picketing the place.

    That I’ll absolutely agree with. I was focused on (or was trying to focus on) the legitimacy of her basis for being uncomfortable, without excusing her behavior (which, again, I’m leaning towards I didn’t do very well). Picketing the place is way beyond an appropriate or justifiable response.

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  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Beth:

    Absolutely understand that. You’re a child of G-d; you owe no one (including me) an explanation for or defense of your existence. Apologies if I even insinuated that I felt like you did. Not getting it is not, and can’t ever be, a basis for disrespect or mistreatment. I don’t, and likely never will really “get” it, but at basis I’ve adopted the attitude it’s not for me to understand. Nobody appointed me the arbiter of “OK”, so I try to premise my attitudes towards people on what they do, not who they are. Trans is who you are, and that’s enough for me. It’s certainly not a basis for mistreating someone.

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  82. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Raoul:

    “…her particular form of femininity.” You mean the one with the penis, right?

    So, to my eyes, this is a sneer. If it isn’t, let me know.

    You might not know, but I have a daughter who is trans, and who is wonderful and a woman in every sense that matters to me.

    So up yours with your sneering.

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  83. Jen says:

    Or imagine for a moment that it was a Transman forced into the Women’s locker room.

    Exactly this.

    The woman who complained would have a problem there too, which is at the core of this conversation. There is a certain set of people–and I have no idea their numbers, could be a small number, could be many–who simply don’t want their daily existence rattled in any way, large or small.

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  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @SKI:

    I also think the best way to have everyone accepted is to simply insist that everyone be accepted.

    I agree, and let it be known that at the very first moment that I discover that I have the power to compel others to act as I choose for them to act, I will make it so. (And I trust that if you should gain this power before I do that you will do likewise.)

    This is another situation where a better world is only possible if we get better people. We clearly have SOME good ones here, and they (and no, I don’t automatically count myself among them) are doing the best they can. It’s a big pull.

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  85. Jay L Gischer says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Let me just echo and reinforce Beth. I am also quite happy to have discussion here with people who don’t get it. I feel that it’s easier for me because while I know a fair bit, I’m not trans. I’m not threatened. I’m not worried that at any moment someone might point at me and freak out, and demand that I be kicked out by management. I’m not worried that someone might beat me up, or even kill me, because of my unusual status.

    Some people can endure that in good cheer, but most cannot.

    I also like have discussions with people that are in good faith. I am fully aware that, as a cis person, this can be hard to wrap your head around. Not everyone is acting in good faith, or interested in listening.

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  86. de stijl says:

    @Beth:

    Be you.

    In all of your glory and righteous fury and blissful reconciliation. Be you.

    Know that you have true allies. I want you to be accepted and valued as equal and true neighbors.

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  87. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Let me echo Jen’s thanks.

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  88. senyordave says:

    One thing that is obvious is that GOP has started to move into overdrive on this issue, and we should expect them to use their never-ending ability to demonize a group (one of their best “talents”) to their political advantage. Going after gays no longer works – they discovered that there are gay Republicans, and even family members of US senators (e.g. Rob Portman, who suddenly switched from being against gay marriage to pro-gay marriage when hisson came out). Trans people are just the right sort of group to go after for the Republican party. Many probably don’t know any trans people, or if they do, they ignore them or disavow them completely. They are a much smaller percentage of the population (0.6% was one estimate I saw). My guess is with the vast majority of Republicans the best a trans person could hope for is something along the lines of “I don’t understand how a person could be this way, but as long as they keep quiet and don’t affect me or the people I care about, they can live their lives as they want”. A couple commentators here seem to fit that bill. My late father would have been in that group. Then you have Clif, who wears his bigotry proudly.
    Now a big issue in red states is trans kids in sports (high school and in some cases, elementary). Despite there being only a handful of examples of trans girls in some states (WV had less than 10 statewide), the Republicans have ramped this issue up to 11. It pushes all the right buttons for the GOP. They can make is sound like a trans girl playing high school soccer is the start of the destruction of HS girls’ sports, they can hint at the physical threat to “real” girls, and they can make not-so-vague references to the “weirdness” of anyone who is trangender, The fact that these arbitrary bans are extremely harmful to trans children is not a bug to the GOP, its a feature. As an aside, when I see some supposed feminists siding with groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family on these bills I feel like I’m on the other side of the looking glass. I understand the enemy of my enemy thing, but FRC and FOF would probably repeal the 19th amendment tomorrow if given the chance.
    When I hear people say “I don’t get transgender”, one of my first thoughts is I don’t get a lot of things relating to the human condition. It doesn’t make it any less real.

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  89. CSK says:

    @Beth:
    I think the woman who initially complained was a young Black woman with her daughter.

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  90. Michael Reynolds says:

    Or imagine for a moment that it was a Transman forced into the Women’s locker room.

    The answer simply cannot be that we have no place for transmen or transwomen to be. They’re human beings. We aren’t going to legislate them out of existence, we’re not going to create some separate-but-equal parallel world, they have a right to exist.

    As uncomfortable as people may be – and let’s assume it’s genuine discomfort and not a political performance – there is no decent alternative. So they can either go on being uncomfortable, or they can become just a wee bit more sophisticated.

    It’s amazing to me that people who enjoy watching superheroes and aliens and Baby Yoda and love the bar scene in the first Star Wars, or enjoy the world of Orcs and Elves, or the world of White Walkers and Dire Wolves, or love Mr. Spock, or a talking Paddington Bear, or a Ninja Turtle, can’t embrace the rather minor variability of human beings.

    Yes, it’s different seeing a transwoman in the dressing room. Give them a nod and a ‘how’s it going?’ and stop being a fucking asshole picking on a person who is already acutely aware of their minority status, aware that many people will be uncomfortable, already quite cognizent of their vulnerability.

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  91. de stijl says:

    @Beth:

    I sincerely hope I did not inadvertently step on your truly righteous rant. You rocked it hard.

    Trans rights are human rights.

    You have a friend here.

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  92. Raoul says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I don’t know that I was sneering when you conflated penis and femininity, I was just highlighting the absurdity of the language abuse you are engaging in. Look, I’m perfectly fine with transgender individuals. At the same time, women in a women’s bathroom should not be forced to look at penises. So hide it, transform it or do what’s necessary not to bother other people. This person (the person in the story) is obviously an attention getter and she is no better than right wingers in forcing their agenda.

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  93. de stijl says:

    @Beth:

    HarvardLaw92 often lines up behind the status quo for reasons I cannot pretend to comprehend. We have a world view difference.

    HL92 does not speak for us. Certainly not for me. We often disagree.

    HL92 is not fully representative. Not even majority opinion or close to it.

    I often pay him no mind.

    You are under no obligation to reply to him.

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  94. Teve says:

    @Raoul:

    At the same time, women in a women’s bathroom should not be forced to look at penises

    LOL how exactly do you think you’re going to see a transwoman’s junk in a women’s bathroom?

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  95. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    HL92 can certainly speak for himself, but I think that’s a harsh critique. He’s admitted to struggling, and is trying to find common ground. I think that’s commendable, even if I disagree with some of his points.

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  96. steve says:

    Hi Beth. Just so you know what you write is helpful. We have a transwoman child so nice to hear your perspective. There arent many people we can talk about this with in our part of the world. There is another doctor couple I work with who have a transman child. (Forgive if I get terminology wrong.) Being a bunch of doctors (wife is a doc who stopped practicing after child was born) Think we tend to look at things from a medical POV. The surgeries can have real issues. Both the other couple and us kind of hope that neither child has the surgeries but we will support them if they go ahead.

    We have had long talks about this issue. Both wife and I think and we think our daughter agrees that on a pragmatic basis exposing yourself while you still have a penis in a room full of people who dont is a bad idea. That it will not help with acceptance and probably make it worse. Going to have to sit down with wife and figure out if she really believes that or if we have just browbeat her into it. She is also an Aspie so does have other issues but she adores her mother and would do anything for her.

    Steve

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  97. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Perhaps I am reading past statements into his now language. I admit I am susceptible to that. I do not judge on first impressions, but 99 is a big lot you can form a judgement on.

    I do kinda need proof of a change of heart and a sincere mea culpa.

    Will judge him less harshly in the intermediate.

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  98. Chip Daniels says:

    One of the difficulties in our political discussions is speaking only in “rights talk” where everything is defined as a right which becomes inviolable, as in “A transwoman can use any locker room NO MATTER WHAT” or conversely, “A transwoman must use the room corresponding with their birth gender NO MATTER WHAT”.

    What works better is to use an old fashioned approach of norms of etiquette, defined loosely as “making others feel comfortable in our presences”.

    For example, we can have a social norm where trans people can freely use the locker room they feel comfortable in, and an accompanying social norm where people undress discretely, i.e., not exposing their genitalia more than necessary.

    Because honestly, cis people don’t want to be exposed to other cis people’s genitals any more than is necessary, and no one wants to be stared at no matter what their orientation.

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  99. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yes, it’s different seeing a transwoman in the dressing room. Give them a nod and a ‘how’s it going?’

    Well, I suppose hitting on them is another approach…

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  100. grumpy realist says:

    What everyone is carefully tip-toeing around is that usually, when a woman is exposed to the sight of an unknown person’s dick, it’s because such action is a part of one of the many kinds of sexual assault. By men. And it happens a LOT. Ask any woman and she’ll probably have a handful of stories. So yeah, for a lot of us there’s history here and we’ve developed a knee-jerk reaction. There’s a reason why we have an instinctive oh-my-god-is-this-man-going-to-rape-me? Or even kill me? fight-or-flight reaction with all the adrenaline surges etc. It’s because of our experiences.

    And no, you can argue all you want about how trans people have rights and should be accepted no matter how they look or how far they’ve transitioned, but you’re going to have to do better than claim women in spas “just have to put up with it.”

    This is an issue which will unite women and men across all political spectrums and I’m surprised that the progressive side of the Democratic party doesn’t understand that this is definitely not the hill to try to die on.

    So: moral of the story: for transwomen in a spa who haven’t completely transitioned? Just wrap a towel around yourself and keep from swinging your dick out in the open. You don’t know what memories you are trigging in the women around you.

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  101. Beth says:

    @CSK:

    So, I looked up the instagram video of the person the Washington Post is the person who made the complaint, and I would perceive her as being Black.

    https://www.instagram.com/tv/CQ2oxagHrXR/?utm_medium=copy_link

    Lets hope that works. Also, based on here statements that “Antifa” was trying to turn “wrong into right” that she’s a bigot. What exactly is she trying to “protect” women and children from?

    And thank you to everyone with nice words and support for me. I really do appreciate it. I also appreciate @Jen: for not burdening her Trans friends. That’s really important. I do this because I come from a lot of privilege that allows me to skate on a lot of trouble and burdens that other Trans people face. I’m an self-employed upper middle class white lady, who’s spouse has been supportive of my Transition and we’ve dedicated ourselves to remaining married, I have health insurance and access to mental healthcare and surgeries other people can’t get. This is the least I can do. Especially in light of how Black Transpeople get murdered simply for existing. I also feel like I owe it to the Transkids growing up now. I don’t want them to live a life of misery and self hate. The generations of Trans elders that put their lives on the line and were disrespected, murdered, ignored, hated, existed so that I could have a shot. St. Gwen died alone in a desert, we still don’t know who murdered St. Marsha. Trans existence is a radical act.

    I’d also like to throw my support to Harvardlaw. I know that him and I don’t see eye to eye on a of things. I read his comments on other issues and roll my eyes. But here, he’s been respectful and, I believe, open minded. If I can get him, or people like him that are reading to remember this conversation and the next time something like this comes up in different context and they say, “well, I talked to a Transperson once and it wasn’t like that” or some other form of betterment, then I’ve made the world marginally safer for my people.

    @Raoul:

    Why do I have to have surgery or shame in my body just to make you comfortable? Personally, I wear uncomfortably tight underwear because I’m more worried about seeing your fist in my face than I am about you seeing my dick. Also, statistically speaking, I know there are a LOT of cis men that want to see my dick based on pornhub searches. We’re a quite popular fetish.

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  102. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    You wouldn’t need to not look if people comported themselves properly. It isn’t hard. Towels are omnipresent. Cover your junk, pal!

    The alpha naked abuse the privilege.

    When I was in high school the shower room was an open room. No privacy dividers. Just a big room with drains in the middle and showers stuck on the outer walls.

    That is unimaginably fucked up! Enforced full nudity as de rigueur comportment. For non-adults! Unbelievable imposition! Absolute crazy town shit was the de facto regular experience for pre-teen and teen kids you could not forego.

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  103. Beth says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This is a hill I’m very likely to die on. I get that many women (if not all) women have experienced some sort of sexual violence in their lives. But the key word in your comment is “MEN”. I’m going to guess that most if not all Trans people are uncomfortable with their genitals and no matter their surgical status are going to be sticking them in peoples faces. I’m sure there are some buttholes that don’t understand etiquette and manners. I would also guess that some older people transitioning are used to walking around without towels and whatnot.

    I also understand that one of my privileges is that I haven’t experienced much sexual violence. I don’t know if its because I look like Brianne of Tarth or because my auto-dissociation blocks it out. But it’s there and Transwomen experience it too.

    What your comment is advocating is that we take a subcategory of women and exclude them from every day life because their existence, not behavior, makes people uncomfortable. Would we do this with Black women? Jewish women? I’m guessing that a lot of Muslim women who wear the Hijab experience some form of this as well.

    Also, weird aside, once my breasts grew, I automatically started covering them up. I just auto absorbed from the culture that those things are shameful and need to be put away. I even had that thought, like, why am I feeling shame about this. Where did that come from.

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  104. wr says:

    @gVOR08: “Can’t help but suspect the trans individual is too.”

    Based on what? All she did was go to a spa… then the righties started protesting the place.

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  105. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Thinking I didn’t do such a good job of that, mea culpa.”

    No, really, I got it. You were really clear about treating people with respect, and when you were wandering off into speculations it was an intellectual exercise. And I really didn’t mean to come across as telling you to butt out — more it was a statement of general principle, that in this Twitter-mad world we’d all be better off if people decided “Hey, this isn’t about me” before they spouted off.

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  106. Raoul says:

    @Beth: I would be perfectly ok if you were in the men’s locker, besides punches never resolve anything. Everybody is going have to give a little, if you feel you have to use the women’s locker, fine, but appreciate other’s sensibilities too.

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  107. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Academic definitions that don’t match real world definitions is how we get some of the stupidest arguments in society. You would think the academics would be smart enough to realize that.”

    Academic definitions exist for a reason. In fact, all professions have their own lexicons — must we abandon all of them because there are morons who misuse them?

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  108. wr says:

    @Raoul: “At the same time, women in a women’s bathroom should not be forced to look at penises.”

    I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms in my life. Never once have I been forced to look at a penis. Nothing I’ve read in this story says anything about this woman being forced to look at a penis. I suspect if she’d chosen to look away from the other woman in the room, she never would have seen anything.

    But if I’m wrong and someone grabbed this woman by the face and forced her to look at a penis, I will agree with you completely.

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  109. senyordave says:

    @de stijl: You wouldn’t need to not look if people comported themselves properly. It isn’t hard. Towels are omnipresent. Cover your junk, pal!
    It is a locker room. I go to a gym where there are rows, but you are changing right next to other people. When I go the shower I often drape the towel over my shoulder on the way. When I’m in a gym locker I expect to see other naked men. I don’t stare and I don’t compare.

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  110. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Yes, but when you take a perfectly fine word, and apply a different definition to it in academic settings, it ain’t the morons misusing them.

    Racist has always meant biased by race, with no issue of power to enforce it — because we all always have power, even if only in our own homes.

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  111. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Granted, but all of those are pretty soundly rooted in physical characteristics / various abnormalities respective to the same. Probably not the best example to use. It undermines your argument.

    Beth already touched on this but I think you missed the point of the Mishnah reference if you think it undercuts my argument. The issue isn’t that the Rabbis got it right 1700 years ago or that their categories are the ones I, or science today, would choose. The issue is that the Rabbis dealt with the members of our society as they actually are. That they (a) recognized that some people aren’t just male or female and (b) didn’t cast them out of society. They worked to categorize them, whether accurately or not, for the purpose of including them in communal life. And that, fundamentally, is what we need to focus on – making sure we have a society that allows for everyone to be able to participate.

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  112. Raoul says:

    @wr: I don’t go around looking at people’s genitalia in the locker room but if an undressed woman showed up in my locker room I would surely notice her breasts and her pudendum as I’m sure most people would too, and I would not believe you if you said you wouldn’t.

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  113. Beth says:

    @Raoul:

    You’re a bad faith actor in this conversation. The only reason I am choosing to interact with you is to further the conversation with everyone else. You’re an a$$hole.

    Now, according to you, here are my options, 1. I go into the women’s locker room, where I, a woman belong. I may get dirty looks or hassled. Personally, I’m terrified of Cis people, so I don’t want to find out. or 2. go into the Men’s locker room and very certainly get attacked. At a very minimum, I’m going to get groped or worse. I’d be lucky if some butthole only beat the crap out of me. Personally, I’m pretty hard on myself, I think I am obviously Trans and perceived as such. But my self perception is tainted by a lifetime of self hate. The fact is, other than being tall (Shoutout Brianne of Tarth) with wide shoulders, a brow ridge I’m having jackhammered off, and a penis, unless I start speaking, 90% of the time, I’m read as woman. I have long hair, breasts and wear traditionally feminine clothing. Again, I read as woman. If I walk into the Men’s locker room and start getting naked, I’m getting raped or attacked.

    Ask any of the Cis women participating in this conversation, how safe do you feel using the Men’s locker room. Regardless of how they feel about Transwomen in the Women’s locker room, they’re not going in the Mens.

    So, for me, the choice I’ve made is to simply never go into a locker room ever again and to use public bathrooms in state of profound terror.

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  114. Beth says:

    I don’t go around looking at people’s genitalia in the locker room but if an undressed woman showed up in my locker room I would surely notice her breasts and her pudendum as I’m sure most people would too, and I would not believe you if you said you wouldn’t.

    I think this proves my point. I would absolutely not be safe in the Men’s locker room. Especially with him.

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  115. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    I swear if the next election features “trans people are coming for your spa day” in any way, shape, or form, I am going to lose my dang mind. Talk about the Karenification of politics.

    Word up! (Or is it just “word!” where you live?)

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  116. Chip Daniels says:

    @SKI:

    for the purpose of including them in communal life.

    This is it, right here.

    Part of the bad faith we see is that the same people who are uncomfortable having a woman undress next to a transwoman are also uncomfortable having their son undress next to a transwoman.
    That is, they are not comfortable having people who are transitioning undress anywhere. They are not comfortable having trans people take part in a normal communal life.

    And this is a hill worth dying on, that we absolutely must make a society where everyone is able to take part.

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  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “Dude, don’t fetishize trans people. That’s just rude.”

    And a little sick by my take. YMMV.

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  118. Raoul says:

    @Beth: Obviously you should not go to the men’s locker room based on where you are- is it too much to ask for you to cover yourself so other women don’t see your member- can you not sense other’s discomfort in the matter?

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  119. de stijl says:

    @senyordave:

    I can put on my briefs easily with a towel still on. It’s pretty fucking easy.

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  120. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Word up and or word is still valid in my book. Of course, your friends may not agree.

    The cool bit about deploying “word” is that everyone acknowledges the ironic usage is inherently funny. Problem is, I sometimes use it unironically.

    I front as if.

    I enjoy the usage and want it to be continued.

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  121. senyordave says:

    @de stijl: Its a locker room, I expect to see naked men’s bodies in a locker room. To me common courtesy in a locker room means things like don’t leave wet towels on benches, don’t take ten minutes with the hair dryer.
    The only time I have ever felt obligated to cover myself in a locker room was when they did not have family changing rooms and on occasion a father would bring a daughter in because he was afraid of leaving them outside alone. I can tell from personal experience that the fastest you will ever see adult males move is if a 6 year old girl is brought into the men’s locker room.

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  122. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh for gawds sake, if you don’t want to see something, look away. This shit ain’t rocket science.

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  123. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I was twelve and PE forced me. I can cope with you all conceptually as an adult in an adult situation, but I myself was not comfortable. I did not want to do this. I hated every second. It was forced upon me unwanted. It was the only choice.

    Everybody does it. A huge fucking fuck you to that. I resent the implication that I am not alpha enough to cope. Who thinks a mandatory public shower for an unruly pack of 12 year olds is a good thing?

    Or, for that matter 17 and 18 year olds? I played organized sports til senior year.

    As an adult I can walk away from my gym. As a teen I was forced to shower after exercise in a manner I found extremely icky and that was my only choice. Yes, I learned to not look. It was forced upon me against my will. I fucking hated it. Every second.

    Seriously, how fucking hard is is to throw up some fucking dividers?

    What the fuck were they thinking as educators?
    I seriously hope this is not the case now. It could not be. Parents would freak out super hard.

    I cannot stand and fucking hate the shut up and abide response. I will not. I shall not. That was incredibly fucked up.

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  124. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Beth:

    If I can get him, or people like him that are reading to remember this conversation and the next time something like this comes up in different context and they say, “well, I talked to a Transperson once and it wasn’t like that” or some other form of betterment, then I’ve made the world marginally safer for my people.

    Without question. Honestly, I’d have done that before. I have some degree of history (Jewish kid, Catholic school, anti-Semitic city) with respect to being mistreated for who one is, so I’m sensitive to others being subjected to it. I don’t mean to presume to compare that to your situation. Just to say that I empathize with and understand where you’re coming from. Me not “getting it” means absolutely nothing more than I can’t get from A to B in my mind. It does not mean that you’re somehow a bad person, or someone deserving of mistreatment or abuse. The idea that someone would believe that, would act upon it, is both nauseating and infuriating, and you can be sure I’d push back against them. No one should feel unsafe being who they are.

    I don’t regard you as being somehow bad, as any less of a person, any less deserving of dignity / respect, because you’re trans. I absolutely would not treat you any differently because of it. I do appreciate the perspective & helping me to understand, which I realize can’t exactly have been easy for you. I fear I probably still won’t be able to entirely “get there”, and for that I apologize. It’s entirely my failing, but I assure you – despite that you have an ally. I might not entirely understand your situation, but I absolutely support it nonetheless. Kudos to you for having the courage to be who you are.

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  125. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Raoul: There is no other language for this. English is what we’ve got, and we’re using it to the best of our ability to describe the situation.

    Nobody is ever forced to look at anything in these situations. It’s not like someone’s being a flasher, invading someone’s space, talking to them, and dramatically pulling open their coat, demanding attention. I guarantee that didn’t happen. It is not like that. You can look away, or just maintain eye contact, or ignore them, and everyone will be fine.

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  126. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Racist has always meant biased by race, with no issue of power to enforce it — because we all always have power, even if only in our own homes.”

    Maybe to you. The second definition in Webster’s is: the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another. Which certainly implies a level of power to enforce it.

    Just because you have always defined a word in a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s the only definition. Or, as Humpty Dumpty would put it, There’s glory for you!

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  127. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Also, “forced to look at” and “I would notice” are very different things.

    I think Grumpy’s point about sexual trauma is a thing, definitely. Maybe Grumpy made the point you were trying to make?

    (And yet, even a woman who has been traumatized by sexual assault, given some time, might be able to notice many differences between a trans woman getting ready for a spa, and a cis man performing a sexual assault. I don’t really think these things look very much similar, other than there’s a penis.)

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  128. de stijl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    What if I would have preferred not to?

    Why should your “I learned to abide with this and you should too” be the de facto standard reaction? It was decidedly not mine. I reject the premise.

    There was no point at all. No purpose. Any school district could have installed dividers. It’s what toilet stalls are made of. A fifth of school square footage is bathrooms. Engineers know how to employ dividers evidently.

    In adult situations I agree. No problem. Not me, but I can see the desire. Not my point.

    For kids unable to effectively object, enforced public nudity was a bad call.

    Please tell me this does not happen today.

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  129. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    My high school removed all the stall doors from the bathrooms. Ostensibly because some of pulled them down. School retaliated by taking them all off. That school retaliated against us a lot.

    Gym class was a nightmare. I hated having to take my shirt off. For a closeted queer kid the locker room was a basket of uncomfortable feelings and also one of the places my classmates would torture me. Oddly enough, the grizzled weirdo gym teachers were one of the few people who went out of their way to protect me.

    That place sucked. I keep meaning to write to them to request an update to my records. It’s almost entirely pointless, but it will be cathartic to write that letter.

    The 90’s were awful for queer people.

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  130. grumpy realist says:

    @Jay L Gischer: As someone else pointed out above, it probably would be very different if we were in a country like one of the European countries that’s chill about nudity, or hey, traditional Japan (where it used to be usual for men and women to share the public baths.) Probably no one would freak out at all. (Heck, I doubt I would, thank you Japan.)

    But we’re not in that society. We’re in a society where women are constantly informed that they have to be worried about being sexually assaulted at any point. (And if they are, it’s their fault.) We have knee-jerk, instinctive reactions about where we’re safe and where we aren’t safe. Seeing naked dicks where we don’t usually expect them to be is one of those triggers. Because….rape.

    Transwomen and their supporters can talk All. They. Want. about How A Dick Doesn’t Mean That I’m Not A Woman but….I doubt you’re convincing anyone on the other side. Ignoring the very instinctive reactions that the bulk of U.S. women have–or worse, claiming that said women have no right to have those reactions–is not the way to convince people.

    And yeah, people. Go talk to people who have been women since birth. Ask them whether and how many times they’ve had a guy expose himself to them. I think you’ll be surprised. AND WE DON’T FORGET IT.

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  131. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: May I point out that I did NOT say anything about your not being in the women’s locker room. What I did say is: don’t let your opposite sex organs hang out. Cover up with a towel. It’s decent, and it’s polite.

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  132. Scott O says:

    @EddieInCA:
    “Why just not look? It’s not hard.”
    Reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. An elderly man calls the police to complain that his neighbors are sunbathing naked in their backyard. A cop arrives and the man says “right over there officer”, pointing to a window. The policeman looks out the window. The nearest house is a half mile away and he says “sir, I don’t see anyone”. The man says “of course you don’t, you have to use these”, while holding up a pair of binoculars.

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  133. de stijl says:

    @Beth:

    My experience was late 70s. And mine was not yours. I was / am het cis male.

    I knew a sophomore named M was getting bullied. I went out of my way to make sure he felt safe and included. Publicly. Back then I was BMOC adjacent. I had pull. I played varsity sports. My inclusion of him meant something. People called me f*g. I did not care in the slightest.

    A friend of mine K was getting shit too and I always thought she was a total bad – ass even though we weren’t super close until then. She was shy but really fierce. I respected her.

    I made sure she got every invite even if she declined. I would give her mixtapes I thought she might like. I wooed her non-romantically.

    K was very shy. K liked girls (in general then but today, one in particular) K had / has a spinal disorder which means her usual stance is hunched and left tilted (hah! Totally fits!) People called her The Worm as a sick mocking nickname.

    Eventually, when we bonded we decided to turn The Worm so to speak and recapture it as a positive. An affirmation. A big ole Fuck You! to the torturers of late adolescence. A big punk rock fuck you!

    K aka The Worm was the first person who hugged me meaningfully and wholeheartedly and not romantically. That opened my eyes. I had not experienced that until then. Ever.

    I was in a band and thought she would kick – ass as keyboards. She would not even hear of it. Hard no. I understand.

    We are fairly close even now. Nowadays we check in on each other 4 times a year or so.

    K kicks ass on a regular basis. I love her.

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  134. de stijl says:

    A very appropriate song that nails the vibe

    Thought You Were Cool

    by The Mountain Goats

    Even though K never wore high heels and could not click them even if she tried

    To K

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  135. Beth says:

    @grumpy realist:

    May I point out that I did NOT say anything about your not being in the women’s locker room. What I did say is: don’t let your opposite sex organs hang out. Cover up with a towel. It’s decent, and it’s polite.

    Respectfully, you don’t have to say the words “You’re not welcome here.” I take:

    Transwomen and their supporters can talk All. They. Want. about How A Dick Doesn’t Mean That I’m Not A Woman but….I doubt you’re convincing anyone on the other side. Ignoring the very instinctive reactions that the bulk of U.S. women have–or worse, claiming that said women have no right to have those reactions–is not the way to convince people.

    to mean that you do not believe I am a woman. I also understand this to mean that you believe I will never be a woman, I never was a woman. At best, I’m a confused man, at worst, I’m a pervert. In any event, I’m not welcome. I suspect there is nothing I could do or say to change your mind. That makes me sad.

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  136. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    I appreciate that. And you. I wish I could say that I used the abuse I experienced from my family and classmates to make myself a better person, but I didn’t. I was a rage filled butthole for most of my life. I hurt people, I was a jerk, and worse. I treated people poorly. I was actually getting worse by the time I decided to face the root causes of my problems and get help. Transitioning saved my life, my marriage and my future with my kids. I was on a path to wreck the world. Thankfully I stopped.

    I think this somewhat reflects what Grumpy was saying above. I was abused growing up. I’m confident my first boyfriend didn’t think about my emotions while we were fooling around. I’m pretty sure I was taken advantage of. I had another experience at a party that I wouldn’t quite call it rape, but I was definitely to drunk to consent. I sometimes suspect I was drugged. I dunno. Wasn’t good. The point I am getting at here is I had all of this horrible shit happen to me and I can’t use that to say to someone else that their experiences or concept of self-existence is wrong or invalid. It would be better to try and emulate you and lift people up. We might fail, but like your past experience or that of my gym teachers, it might give someone that little push to stop them from eating a gun.

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  137. de stijl says:

    @Beth:

    Not everyone is pissed at your being and presence as that shit-heel above who unaccountably mean and grotesque to you.

    Listen. Listen hard. You are valued. I treasure your presence here. Fuck those people!

    Stay beautiful and strong.

    Life made you swallow a punch bowl of shit and you had to grin and pretend to like it. I am not you but I get pain and isolation deep. I can feel your utter shitness.

    I knew a young woman named Rosa. We shared a squat in the butt end of nowhere. A small collective of like minded folk who lacked a current address. Rosa was a sweetie-pie and also extremely fucking pissed off that she could not just be Rosa and be happy. That was her goal.

    She was glad men fancied her. She was furious that men liking her involved money for services. One day Rosa never came back. I seriously hope she found a better life. I believe aw fuck me don’t make me say it.

    Rosa was a baller dudette but her vision was too constrained.

    Be happy in a house with a doggo or a kittie or a fishy or a hamster or just by your own fucking beautiful self. Have a straight job. Pay utilities on time. Pay taxes. Show them that their hate is useless. That you are a solid citizen. FUCK THEM!

    Do not let bullies dictate your life. No foolin. Never ever. Not even once. Fuck them!

    Be strong, be gorgeous, be cool, be smart. Breathe. I do it for therapy. It helps me and I’m a god – damned idiot. Forget what grumpy said.

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  138. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    “Word to your mother!” is what you are looking for in that context.

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  139. Clif says:

    @Gustopher: Flashing your penis at little girls is a bit more rude, at least. And defending a mans right to act like a woman is not a good thing, dealing with the mentally ill by accommodating their neurosis seems a bit mean- to them.

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  140. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Clif:

    Yah, this would be that stepping up moment I described above. Take your bullshit elsewhere. You’re entitled to an opinion; you’re not entitled to be an asshole. At least not here. Seek joy elsewhere.

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  141. Ken_L says:

    And most people would prefer not to be naked in the presence of strangers with different genitalia.

    I’m here to say that vast numbers of men would be delighted to be in a room with naked women. Which goes to illustrate what a load of bollocks this whole incident is, and how so many Americans seem incapable of ever growing up when it comes to sexuality.

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