Transgenderism and public washrooms

Krista - posted on 11/17/2010 ( 77 moms have responded )

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From Global Maritimes:



FREDERICTON, NB - An androgynous lesbian who says she was assaulted by a woman in a women's washroom at a New Brunswick university says people need to educated about those who don't fall into traditional gender categories.



Michelle Rayner, a first-year student at St. Thomas University, issued a statement Wednesday alleging she was attacked when she was mistaken for a man in a women's washroom on campus.



Rayner said she understands why the woman in the washroom mistook her for a man, but upon explaining she's a transgender woman, the other woman punched her in the mouth.



Rayner said in an interview that the incident occurred during the first week of classes and she didn't report it to police or the university.



Jeffrey Carleton, the university's director of communications, said the incident was never reported but the university is going to look into it.



Rayner said she's speaking out now to raise awareness of transgender issues and the fact that not everyone fits neatly into the traditional perceptions of male and female.



"People aren't recognizing transgender issues," Rayner said. "There are people who fall between. ... I'm only one example."



She said her goal is to educate the public about those differences and to push for more gender-neutral washroom spaces on campus.



___________________________________



Here is a photo of Rayner: http://www.xtra.ca/BinaryContent/stories...

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that the other woman was being bigoted, or do you think she just didn't believe Rayner's explanation about being transgender? Do you think that people who cultivate an androgynous appearance are setting themselves up for this type of incident? Do you think that we should just set up unisex washrooms and be done with it?

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[deleted account]

I had a thought randomly today...here where I live very often the cleaners of toilets are men. There isn't a rule saying they have to have a female to clean the female toilets, so if everyone went around hitting men in female toilets there'd be a good chance some would be the cleaners!!! Hitting someone is totally unacceptable no matter what the circumstances are.

Johnny - posted on 11/19/2010

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Defend themselves, yes. But initiate a violent interaction because they perceive danger? No. I've felt threatened by a man coming into the bank machine lobby when I was taking out cash and standing in my personal space, but I really don't think I just have the right to turn around and punch him. I started with turning around and saying excuse me, he took 4 steps back, end of story. If I'd punched him, I'd be writing this from jail.

[deleted account]

Even IF Rayner was a man in the ladies toilets that does not mean the lady had the right to punch him, feeling threatened or not, unless this man actually tried to do something to the lady in the toilets then defence doesn't come into. From the info given to us Rayner was completely innocent and this woman attacked, that is not self defence.

Also just because Rayner didn't report the incident doesn't mean it was fabricated, many people are attacked and don't report it, it could be down to fear (of not being believed for example), embarrassment, or many other reasons. Maybe she spoke with someone who gave her the courage to come forward with the information.

Sal - posted on 11/19/2010

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i do get where people are comming from being that a man in the ladies its not the norm, and yes i guess it woud take a moment to get your head around it, but really ladies do you really think that every man/lesbian or transgender person thinks your so desirable they are going to just jump on you, i'm not stupid and living in a dream world where nothing bad happens but i just don;t want to be hostile and suspisious of everyone i come across who isn't exacty where they shoud be or look exacty like i think they should that is such a sad way to live.personally i'd proablly rather meet the young lady in the story in the ladies rather than some of the ladies on here, i just don;t know if i'm good looking enough to share the bathroom with sharon!
someone mentioned that maybe she was a litte aggressive when explaining she was transgender....ohh i wonder why she might get a bit narky- she probally has to deal with this type of suspision everyday, and according to rayner she just wanted to pee.

Stifler's - posted on 11/18/2010

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The point is, assault is illegal and this crazy woman should be charged and awareness should be raised about tolerance for the transgendered. This transgendered person doesn't even look threatening at all. She looks like a chick and she had no right to ask her to leave nor does any article I've found say that Rayner attempted to upskirt her or look through the stall door or sexually assault her.

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Sal - posted on 11/19/2010

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there is one more thing i would like to mention....you never know who someone is, i have a dear friend (known her over 20 years) who is an androgynous looking lesbian, not quiet as androgynous as the girl in this story but i was taken back the first time i saw her in a unisex type uniform, almost asked her if julie was at work, i thought it was a young male (it was julie), anyway she is now a plain clothes detective, i doubt she would take kindly to being hit by someone and that lady would be on the serious charges of assult police....i also checked with hubby, he wasn't sure of the exact law off hand but is of the opinion if a man were in the ladies room, for a legit reason (ie mens broken or taking a elderly lady or little girl, he would not be in any trouble, but punching him because you hit first and asked questions later would result in you being the one in the poop

Kim - posted on 11/19/2010

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Jenn, I hate the fact that most Mall bathrooms are down long halls way in the back. I get nervous going to them and usually look for a store with a bathroom first. If a person looking much like a man walked in you bet I'd be nervous!! And be worried how to get around them and out the door ok. Maybe the girl at the college got nervous and just wanted to get away and this person was going on about being a woman and she just wanted to get away? I could totally see that but I don't think hitting was needed unless the door was blocked and she felt threatened.

BTW I just found out my cousin's daughter is transgender. She feels like a boy and the school has made her a special bathroom because s/he didn't feel comfortable in the girls room but they didn't want her using a boys bathroom. I can soo see that. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Dana - posted on 11/19/2010

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Like I said before, we have no idea how Rayner approached this other woman when "explaining". I'm not saying one person is right and one is wrong. I still maintain that I don't know enough to make that kind of call.

Dana - posted on 11/19/2010

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I don't think it's right to just haul off and hit someone either, that's not what I, personally, am saying. However, I still think a person has a right to defend themselves if they think they're in danger, IF that was the case in this particular story.

Johnny - posted on 11/19/2010

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I totally agree that there is probably more to the story than is shared in the article. My suspicions were definitely raised when she chose not to report the assault straight away. If it had happened like she had said, and if she is a person who feels the need to stand up for her own rights, why wouldn't she have reported it? I could understand if she was "in the closet" or something, but that is obviously not the case.

However, I can not support the idea of 'hit first and ask questions later'. We can't just go around getting violent every time someone startles us or doesn't meet up with our expectations of how someone should look. That would be a terrifying world. If things actually did play out as Ms. Rayner has stated, her aggressor deserves to be charged with assault, regardless of who or what Ms. Raynor is. It could well have been a man in the ladies room who was using it because the men's was broken. I just can not except that I have the right to punch anyone who slightly frightens or unnerves me. I'd be in a lot of fights if that was the case.

Jenn - posted on 11/19/2010

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Sorry, but even without knowing all the facts, and even if Rayner gave a snarky answer that she was a woman, that still does not give the other woman the right to hit her. And to answer your question Dana Schenk - would I hit a man that I felt threatened by? No, I would not. In most cases, that would only lead to further attack if the man was truly prepared to assault me or rape me or hurt me in any way. How would I feel threatened just because someone is in the bathroom with me? I might feel threatened if they're all up in my face and/or making rude/suggestive comments and/or they have clearly stated that they are going to hurt me and/or they are lunging at me - that would make me feel threatened not just their simple presence in the room. That's ridiculous.

[deleted account]

Dana, what I was pointing out is from the information we have been given, Rayner was innocent, there is nothing to suggest she did anything other than walk into the toilet and then try to explain she was a woman. That is all the information given to us so by the information given Rayner did nothing wrong. Now I am not saying there isn't more to the story, simply that the info given states she was attacked when explaining she was a woman.

I am aware that there is probably more to the story, Rayner may have been a little fustrated when telling the woman she is infact a woman or she could have been dismissive of the other womans concerns as she needed the toilet and just muttered I'm a woman. But that doesn't take away the fact that unless she went over and physically raised an arm (or whatever) to attack the other woman, the lady had no right to punch Rayner in the mouth.

Dana - posted on 11/19/2010

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Yes, Sal, except I think everyone is attracted to me and wants to attack me sexually. *eye roll*



Well said, Erin, now I don't have to state my opinion-again.



Toni, how do you figure from the info we're given on anything, let alone that Rayner was completely innocent? Granted, I'm not saying she isn't but, I'm also not declaring to know anything for sure from what info is given and that's the difference between your argument and mine.

Erin - posted on 11/19/2010

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I'm not in any way defending any discrimmination against Rayner, if that is in fact what happened. If she was calmly trying to explain the situation and the other woman took offence to her transgenderism, then she is absolutely in the wrong. We just don't have enough information here to say that is definitely what happened.

Charlie - posted on 11/18/2010

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Its only defence if your attacked first though but i agree we don't know the full story .

Erin - posted on 11/18/2010

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If I came out of a stall to find what I thought was a man in the bathroom, I would certainly pull up short and ask WTF was going on. Unless they are there with a little girl, I would absolutely be suspicious. Would I swing first and ask questions later? Unlikely. But we really do only have the barest of details in this story. Maybe Rayner was aggressive or hostile when explaining she was transgender? There are a lot of 'maybes' that could contribute to why the woman lashed out physically.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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So, IF she thought this was a man, in the women's restroom and she possibly thought that he was going to attack her, she shouldn't try to defend herself?



Everyone who is saying that you should never "assault" a person is telling me, that if they feel threatened by a man, they're just going to stand there and let God knows what happen to them because it's "wrong" to hit someone.

Bonnie - posted on 11/18/2010

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The transgendered person doesn't look threatening at all and she didn't say or do anything that would make a person think that she was up to something while in there (ie. assulting another woman), but I have to say, she does not look like a woman to me. All it takes is one quick glance at that and women are thinking to themselves, "what the heck." BUT...overall the transgendered person did not need to be punched out for no apparent reason.

[deleted account]

That's what I was thinking, Heather. How do we know the whole thing wasn't made up if there was no report of the incident initially... ? Not calling this person a liar, just that we don't KNOW any facts actually. It's simply one person's word against... well, I'd say another person's word, but we don't have that. Maybe it's a fabrication, maybe it's a fact, maybe the woman that did the hitting was afraid, maybe the woman that did the hitting was just a jerk. Fact is... no one knows anything for sure here.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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That's all IF she punched her because she was transgendered though - again, we still don't know exactly why.

[deleted account]

I'm more questioning the fact that just because someone is transgender that you can have "that type of incident" and smack them in the face. That's like smacking someone for being different, say from another country or another religion. Eh.

Heather - posted on 11/18/2010

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I just have to wonder....if Rayner really was punched in the face after she explained she/he was transgendered, why didn't she report it? I suppose she could have been embarrassed, but if I had no fault in a situation like that and someone hit me, you better bet I'd file a report. Instead, Rayner's coming out with this story during an awareness rally which makes me wonder if it really happened or if Rayner's sensationalizing the story to make a point. The woman had no right to hit her, but it just doesn't pass the common sense test when we're only given the facts in the article.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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Well you go ahead and speculate, I'll stick to the facts that are presented.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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Where does it say that the woman asked a question? It could have happened in a matter of seconds. She could have seen her walk in, yelled, "Hey this is a woman's restroom" , the transgendered woman could have approached her trying to explain when the other woman punched her. If you notice, it says "but upon explaining, the woman punched her". That gives no indication of how much was actually said.
The point still is, we don't know exactly how it all went down, it's vague.

Kate CP - posted on 11/18/2010

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I agree with Loureen and Jenn. The woman was trying to de-escalate the situation when she was punched in the face.

Charlie - posted on 11/18/2010

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Sorry but the woman had time to process it the victim was EXPLAINING that she was transgendered and the other lady still punched her in the face , If it were a quick reaction upon merely seeing Rayner than perhaps but i have a hard time accepting that given time had passed and she was explaining her situation she was doing it out of fear alone , Rayner is tiny , i would go so far as to say she is frail looking , masculine yes but hardley threatening IMO.

Erin - posted on 11/18/2010

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I'm with Dana on this one. I won't say the offender is a bigot based purely on this info. She may have just got a shock to see what she thought was a man (and she DOES look like a man) in the ladies toilets. Obviously she didn't need to punch her, but it could quite possibly have had more to do with a moment of panic than some deep hatred of transgenders.

Jenn - posted on 11/18/2010

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But she was comfortable enough to ask a question, upon which Rayner replied. It was the answer that she didn't like, not the fact that she thought a man was in the restroom. That to me says she is bigoted toward transgendered people.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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I was just talking about this very fact to someone, Loureen. I don't think we know enough to judge this other woman. One, she could be smaller than the transgendered woman and two, who knows her level of comfort. For all we know, she could have been raped last week by a man and be panicky.

I for one, can not judge her or label her as a bigot, when I don't have nearly enough background info or other info for that matter.



All we know is this: "Michelle Rayner, a first-year student at St. Thomas University, issued a statement Wednesday alleging she was attacked when she was mistaken for a man in a women's washroom on campus.



Rayner said she understands why the woman in the washroom mistook her for a man, but upon explaining she's a transgender woman, the other woman punched her in the mouth. "



Clearly not enough info.



Not to mention it's on a college campus, we all know there are TONS of attacks on college campuses.

Charlie - posted on 11/18/2010

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*eye roll* that woman looks like a not very pretty woman or a very pretty guy , i mean are we being serious IS she really that threatening , look at her you've got to be kidding , i wouldnt call her butch , iv'e seen much butcher looking women who look like women than that person .

[deleted account]

I'm assuming it is Toni =] I know my stepsisters who live in Wolverhampton would probably do that if they needed to but to me it's just wierd and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. In pubs and clubs it probably does happen but more often than not probably because they're too blind to read the notices and the drink obviously makes you need the loo more! I have only ever been clubbing once though so I don't know what goes on up here at clubs =]

[deleted account]

I am appaulled by some of the responses, Sharon seriously you wouldn't want a butch women using the ladies, that is very rude.

People are people and unfortuantely some people are born the wrong sex or not what is typically perceived as correct in their sex, they have to deal with idiots like the woman in the toilet every single day because of small minded intolerants who spew hate.

I have no issues with anybody genuinely using any toilets, if someone needs the toilet it is inhumane to not allow them to go. It is a basic right.

Jennifer, maybe it is different up North but I know here in the Midlands loads of girls regularly use the gents to wee because when you need to go, you need to go...and very few have been chucked out of pubs and clubs for it, they may if caught get a telling off lol.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/18/2010

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This post made me think back to the days that I worked in retail. It was a high fasion Women store, and extremely busy. We had a cluster of 6 dressing rooms, and I happened to be on the floor. There was a transgender (pre-op) definately still had male characteristics shopping in the store. She was just grabbing cute cloths, and noticing everyone staring at her. I proceded to help her, and even made her feel comfortable about using the dressing rooms. She would even allow me in the room with her to help her out....to nervous to come out and look in the large mirrors. I did my absolute best to make her feel like a women and that she was doing NOTHING wrong...dispite the arrogant over the shoulder glances. From that day foward, she would come in specifically to see me...it made me feel good to help her.



I have no problem with this situation at all.....I don't think there needs to be unisex bathrooms...but I have no problem sharing the bathroom with a transgender. This makes me think of the days of slavery where African Americans had to have a seperate bathroom...if they were provided with one at all.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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No worries. :)
One of the first threads I started in DM was called Paper, cover, hover. It was about whether you use toilet paper to cover the seat, you use the cover's they provide or you hover...or in your case, nothing!

Jenn - posted on 11/18/2010

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Why is it gross? I don't see how it's any different than using the toilet at a friend's house or a relative's house; how do you know how well they clean their toilet? I mean, it's not like I see a toilet with a shit stain on it and just plop my ass down. The bathrooms that I've been to have always been pretty clean and have a chart posted on the back of the door for the employees to sign when they cleaned it last. I'd be more concerned with what's on the door handle than the toilet seat.

Jenn - posted on 11/18/2010

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I think if I saw that person in the bathroom I may think to myself "is that a man or a woman", but if you actually look you can see that she is a woman. I wouldn't say anything, and it wouldn't stop me from going pee if I had to go. I've seen women before who looked quite masculine, but they were women nonetheless, why would I expect them to use the men's room when they are NOT men?

Sharon, you said: "I don't give a fuck if the person is a female - but looks male. I don't want men in the bathroom with me." But she's NOT a man, so where do you expect her to go pee? I can't believe you would be so offended by someone because they look "ugly". And maybe I'm alone in this thought, but do you all really feel afraid when you use a public toilet? I can't say I even think about it - I'm at the mall and have to pee, I go to the bathroom and pee. End of story. No fear, no worries, and oh the horror I SIT on the seat!!

Dana - posted on 11/18/2010

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I don't think the woman was bigoted, she sounds like she was scared. She looks like a man, if a man approached me in a woman's restroom, I'd have a moment of panic too.



The other day my sister stood on the other side of a door and jumped at me when I walked through, I shoved her in the chest with both hands hard enough to make her stumble. Some people just have different instincts. Big whoop.

Tara - posted on 11/18/2010

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I think she looks more like a he, but that doesn't mean I would feel justified to punch "him" in the face in a public washroom. Unless "he" was making the moves on me of course. Which clearly isn't the case.
The woman who did the punching should have been charged with assault, simply because unless one is acting in self-defense there is no place for violence in this world.
Unisex washrooms as an option would be a good idea, a third option for some establishments, and for those with a family washroom it would be a fourth option. But if it's the only way to keep people from assaulting others while attempting to perform one of our most basic functions than so be it.

I honestly don't see the issue, there are bathroom stalls, it's not like we're all sitting in a Roman wash room, lined up against the wall knees to knees.

Tracey - posted on 11/18/2010

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I had to take my son through the ladies as that was the only way to get to the disabled toilet (obviously the theme park thought you didn't get disabled men?) My son is 12 years old, 6' tall and to be honest looks like a pissed off teenage thug due to his autism and not liking being near people. I apologised and explained to the full up ladies room and no one complained about an adult sized male being in the room.

Petra - posted on 11/18/2010

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My thinking mirrors Kate's - I'd imagine there's a reason Rayner didn't use the men's room, she'd be far more likely to be assaulted there than in the ladies' room. And like a few others have said, women's rooms have stalls, your privacy is not an issue. Rayner wasn't there to perv anybody, she was there to do her business. No prying eyes to see her "business" and no way for her to see anyone else's. What's the big deal?

The woman who punched her for simply using the ladies' room needs to get her head examined. Rayner's actions were completely innocuous and in no way warranted any violence. When a man comes into the ladies' room with his daughters, I don't bat an eye. When I've gone out to gay clubs, the stick figures on the washroom doors are irrelevant. I don't think you can view a "ladies" room as any form of protection - pervs are going to perv you if they want to. But people (transgendered or otherwise) needing to use the washroom? I don't care who is in which washroom, as long as they're there to just use the washroom. I'm more offended by loud, stanky poos in a public washroom than I am by a man or a woman or an androgynous person using the "wrong" bathroom.

[deleted account]

The ladies room has cubicles. No one gets to see anything unless they look under or over a door. If anyone does that they deserve a punch in the face.

I'm not going to feel violated if a man sees me washing my hands or retouching my lipgloss.

Sal - posted on 11/18/2010

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i have used the mens room when it was all that was free and working, but i don;t make a habbit of it, as loreen say not much phases us aussies, really a man hanging around the ladies being crude and lude is one thing thats not on, but someone who needs to pee, let them go, i bet if you saw her peeing in the car park because she had no where else to go and you'd call the cops, i just think people should get over them selves sharon if a drag queen came in the ladies would that be ok because he looked like a chick???? shaved egs boobs makeup?? isn;t that ladylike??

Kate CP - posted on 11/17/2010

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I'll be honest here. If I saw that person (the one in the photo) in the woman's room I wouldn't really be offended. Number one, she looks like a woman to me (not a very pretty one, but feminine nonetheless) and number two any man that looks that girly can use the woman's room in my book. If she tried to walk into the men's room she'd have gotten a lot worse than a punch in the face.

Sharon - posted on 11/17/2010

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I don't give a fuck if the person is a female - but looks male. I don't want men in the bathroom with me.

You don't care, fine, use the mens room, that just leaves more TP for me and the other women.

The transgendered says he/she is female but how the fuck am I to know that? Now every pervert will be scoping out womens bathrooms claiming to be transgendered.

If you look like a man, stay out of the womens room, thats all there is to it. If you're just that ugly, then I feel for you. If you're transgendered, then you'd think they'd be more sensitive to the perception of sex than others.

How hard is it to get the message that the womens bathroom is for women?

I've freely admitted to using the mens' bathroom in an emergency but those were emergencies with either no one around or plenty of people as witnesses.

If I walk out of a stall and see a man standing in front of me, he will get decked. After this news story, I'm more certain of that than ever.

Johnny - posted on 11/17/2010

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If I am using the washroom in an isolated location, the fact that it is designated as a women's room does not make me feel safe. The kind of man who wishes to attack women is unlikely to be put off by a sign.

I've used the men's room a few times. And I've been in a few gender-neutral rooms. Men are way more laid back about a woman entering their space. I also found they were very respectful and didn't use the urinals. When we had our gender-neutral bathrooms in college, the men were told not to use the urinals and I never saw it happen, not even during drunken parties.

As for the transgendered... you know, before my daughter was born this was oddly one of the things I was worried about. Knowing just how ignorant and full of hate towards those who are transgendered, hermaphrodite, etc much of the general population is, and knowing the high rate of those occurrences, it was on my mind. I know that nowadays there is so much done to protect kids from bullying and also political correctness towards so many other differences, but people get away with treating people with gender differences like crap.

Julie - posted on 11/17/2010

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Sharon - "Its a small protection that men are not allowed into womens' rooms."

Yes, it's small. I don't believe that if a man REALLY wanted to assault me that the picture of a stick figure wearing a skirt would keep him out of the rest room I chose to urinate in. Women keep themselves safe by being aware of their surroundings and others present.

As for :"Yo go right ahead and take your chances, start using the mens' room as your step "forward"." where I pee is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that I can accept the fact that someone who is vaguely gendered (or even oppositely gendered) can harmlessly utilize the same facility as me.

Sharon - posted on 11/17/2010

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Julie - in my world you better look female if you're using the ladies room.

I don't want to use the restroom with strange men who most of the time are more powerful than I am.

Most bathrooms are well traveled and within screaming distance but for a fact there are times when screaming isn't an option and times when you're clearly out of earshot of anyone who gives a damn.

Its a small protection that men are not allowed into womens' rooms.

They don't even have to be violent. Just sick and twisted.

You may not care who is in the washroom with you & your child but I care. And for that matter, how many times have I sent off one of my kids to the restroom that is within sight of where I'm sitting? What if the norm were men in either restroom? Nope. Not gonna fly with me. Yo go right ahead and take your chances, start using the mens' room as your step "forward".

Julie - posted on 11/17/2010

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I don't get what the big deal is ... the stalls have DOORS. Said doors afford one privacy to urinate or defecate as they wish! Why not just go unisex? Well, I guess guys wouldn't have open urinals, but is that even a big deal? It's not like we're talking about a locker room where people are changing and showering.

People shouldn't have to clearly define their sex to anyone. If everyone is respectful, it should not matter. Besides, not all people are 100% male or 100% female by birth. Why should they have to justify who they are on a daily basis?

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