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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Will Men Really Attack Us If Bathrooms Are Divided By Identity Rather Than Biology?


I went to this party once. It was pretty dark, and they had one of those strobe lights going. Pretty sure everyone was high – I recognized the signs of cocaine and meth use. The music was really loud, which surprised me, being as we were in an attached townhome and the neighbours would surely call the cops at some point. I remember I didn’t really want to go – I was never much of a party person – but my best friend pulled the line, you know the one,

“It would mean so much to me if you came!”

So, I went. I sat alone in a dark corner on an overstuffed couch. I sank into the cushions and watched people ingest so many substances they couldn’t even tell me their names anymore. I wanted to go home, back to the Tom Robbins book I was reading, and be anywhere but this place, but I promised my friend I would try. So, when a guy I recognized from school, Luke, sat down next to me, I made small talk. It didn’t last long though, he was overbearing; clearly trying to hook up. He was drunk and high and so sure of himself, you could see it on his face that he figured he’d be in my pants within the hour. I got up to walk away, and he caught my arm.

“Where you going, beautiful?” He gave me a threatening smile.

“Just getting a drink.” I pulled away from him and walked into the kitchen. I grabbed a plastic cup and set it down on the counter, and as I turned I saw Luke standing right there.

“Make me one, too. Let’s enjoy them upstairs.”

“I’m good. I think I’ll stay here.” I told him as I poured myself a soda water.

“Come on, Courtney. I promise I won’t hurt.” His attempt at giving me puppy dog eyes was somewhere in the middle of terrifying and hilarious. I tried not to laugh but I failed. Soda water sprayed out of my mouth,

“Bitch.” He said and walked away. Relieved, I spotted my friend and joined her. I could feel Luke’s eyes following me as I made my way across the room. I saw, out of the corner of my eye, he was whispering to a friend and pointing at me. I ignored him and greeted my friend.

The party went on like this for some time. I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying so I worked on perfecting my smile-and-nod, and sipped my water nervously. I found myself wondering what people got out of this sort of thing. Lost in my own thoughts, I finished my glass of water, and then another and another.

Before long, I had to visit the washroom. Again, as I moved across the room, I felt Luke’s eyes on me. I saw him point at me. I neared the bathroom and I saw him stand up, still watching me. I slipped into the loo and locked the door. Maybe half a minute later, I heard his voice outside the bathroom door. I heard him say my name. I saw the door shift like a weight had been pressed against it. He laughed on the the other side of the door, and I slowly turned the knob. His face appeared as I pulled the door toward me. He pushed his way in and put his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey. Sorry I called you a bitch. I’m an idiot.” His eyes met mine, and were filled with sincerity.

“No worries, I’ve been called worse.” I chuckled.

“Friends, still?” He asked. I agreed. “Friends.”

What? What did you think was going to happen? Why would this not be how it ended? This is literally the same thing that happens every time I use a bathroom shared between sexes: fucking nothing. Nothing happens. No one threatens me. No one hurts me. No one makes me afraid. Yes! Men and women share bathrooms more often than not – at home, at parties, get togethers, work, barbecues, family events, and so on and so forth.

For some reason, though, many of you seem to think that once we find ourselves in public, we can no longer behave. That we leave our manners, our morality and our respect for other people firmly planted in our genderless dunnies at home, and lose all fucking control when we head out into the wide world.

Especially, for some reason, men. So many of you are convinced, you’re so goddamned sure that just as soon as the law says that women who were born men are allowed to use the women’s washroom, that hetero, cis-gendered men are going to use that as their long-awaited cue to launch an all-out assault on your fucking daughters in public washrooms. You’re sure that men have been lying in wait, for just such an opportunity. Until now, they’ve stayed clear of the women’s washroom because somewhere, in the deep sub-articles of our social mores, it was taboo. Now that the law says that transgendered women can go in there, it’s fucking on. Welcome men, to your smorgasbord of rape.

Yeah, that’s a crock of shit. Nothing will change, save for making the trip to the washroom a little safer and a little less awkward for transgendered people. No one is coming to rape you, now that trans women can use women’s washrooms according to the law. And you know what? I know you know that. You’re not truly concerned that protecting a trans woman’s right to use women’s washrooms is going to lead to men sneaking in to assault ladies in mid-stream. That’s not what this is about at all.

What it’s really about, is that you’re scared of and uncomfortable with trans people. This is your true issue. No one really buys that you believe prior to allowing people to use bathrooms according to their gender identity, predatory men could not attack women and girls in the ladies room. We also don’t really think you believe that once trans women are permitted in the girls' loo, cis-gendered men will.

“All they have to do is claim it’s their gender identity.”

Indeed. But all they had to do before was just walk the fuck in any goddamned time they pleased, and yet, still no mass rapings.

No, we don’t believe you have this little faith in men. We don’t think you actually see the hairier sex as this predatory. There’s no part of you that truly believes that guys have no self-control. Deep inside, you give men more credit than this. You know that men are not scouring the bylaws for loopholes to let them rape you.

No, you’re just scared. You’re scared of change. You’re scared of things you don’t understand. You’re scared of finding yourself alone in a bathroom with a trans person because you won’t know what to say. You’re a sheltered little god botherer who wants to stay inside the walls of your white, hetero, Christian world and you don’t want anything upsetting it.

Unfortunately for you, the world changes. It always will and there’s nothing you can do about it. You either embrace the change and work to make the adaptation easier, or you fight it and get labelled a bitter, old relic who won’t even make the footnotes of history.

I don’t care if men use the women’s bathroom, let alone trans women. It doesn’t fill me with fear, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable and nor should it do that to you, being as 90% of the bathrooms you use are already unisex. What would scare me, however, is requiring an armed penis patrol outside every women’s bathroom, checking panties to confirm there are, in fact, pussies in them. ‘Cause just like your hate and your disgusting religion, when you’re in public, I think you should keep your genitals to your fucking selves.

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