The transgender 'bathroom bill': Who wants it—men or women?

December 19, 2016, Springer

Most women are not bothered much about the fact that they might at times share public bathrooms designated for females with transgender women who were registered as men at birth. Men on the other hand take umbrage, and worry about the safety and privacy of the women in their lives. Such male transphobia has its roots in how men see themselves as the so-called protectors of women, says Rebecca Stones of Nankai University in China and Monash University in Australia, in an article in Springer's journal Gender Issues.

Transgenderism is a controversial topic about which opinions vary greatly. It also has practical implications. In the USA, for example, so-called "bathroom bills" are being considered. These bills will have to decide whether transgender people are allowed to use facilities that are in line with their current , or should rather go to ones set aside for the sex they were registered as at birth. Some people feel that allowing the former will cross a societal boundary, and legislators cite concerns about the safety and privacy of the women and children with whom transgender females would be sharing a bathroom.

Stones analyzed 1,035 comments posted by readers of 190 related online to gauge public opinion about the presence of transgender females in women's only bathrooms. Men were found to be around 1.55 times more likely to express safety and privacy concerns than the very women who would be sharing facilities with transgender females. Women were much less likely to comment on news articles related to the topic, and when they did they used muted, less intense phrases. Women were much more concerned about the possible presence of so-called 'perverts' who pose as transgender females.

Stones says that male transphobia is linked to the male gender role of protector. It is reflected in comments such as, "'I don't want some guy-turned-girl in a restroom while my wife is in there" and, "I have a teenage daughter and I demand that her privacy be protected from a gender-confused pervert that may walk in on her while she's in the restroom!" She theorizes that the concerns expressed by men in their online comments are also rooted in how they view transgender females. They see them not as , but still as men who are just lying or are merely mistaken about their gender identity.

"Consequently they view themselves as protecting females from these males intruding into private, female-only spaces," explains Stones. "This may be further exacerbated by a fear of deception and a belief that are mentally ill or 'sick'."

Explore further: Study uncovers high prevalence of military sexual trauma among transgender veterans

More information: Rebecca J. Stones, Which Gender is More Concerned About Transgender Women in Female Bathrooms?, Gender Issues (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s12147-016-9181-6

Related Stories

Study uncovers high prevalence of military sexual trauma among transgender veterans

November 21, 2016
New research found a high prevalence of military sexual trauma (MST) among transgender veterans and an association between the experience of MST and certain mental health conditions.

New study highlights high rates of suicide and self-harm among transgender youth

August 31, 2016
In a new study, 30 percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt, and nearly 42 percent report a history of self-injury, such as cutting.

Transgender women who begin hormone therapy more likely to quit smoking

October 5, 2016
While there has been much concern about the potential harm from transgender medical intervention (hormone therapy), a new study has found that transgender women who receive hormone therapy are more likely to quit or decrease ...

Gender theorist questions transgender "phenomenon"

April 29, 2014
A respected feminist theorist is calling for a radical rethink of society's acceptance of transgenderism.

Psychiatric diagnoses in young transgender women

March 21, 2016
About 41 percent of young transgender women had one or more mental health or substance dependence diagnoses and nearly 1 in 5 had two or more psychiatric diagnoses in a study of participants enrolled in a human immunodeficiency ...

Recommended for you

Early physical therapy benefits low-back pain patients

May 22, 2018
Patients with low-back pain are better off seeing a physical therapist first, according to a study of 150,000 insurance claims.

Closing coal, oil power plants leads to healthier babies

May 22, 2018
Shuttering coal- and oil-fired power plants lowers the rate of preterm births in neighboring communities and improves fertility, according to two new University of California, Berkeley, studies.

Insufficient sleep, even without extended wakefulness, leads to performance impairments

May 21, 2018
Millions of individuals obtain insufficient sleep on a daily basis, which can lead to impaired performance and other adverse physiological outcomes. To what extent these impairments are caused by the short sleep duration ...

Avoiding the car for travel could significantly lower risk of illness and death

May 21, 2018
People who are more active when commuting to work by walking or cycling could be cutting their relative risk of developing ischaemic heart disease or stroke by 11% and their relative risk of dying from these diseases by 30%, ...

New study shows higher formaldehyde risk in e-cigarettes than previously thought

May 21, 2018
Portland State University researchers who published an article three years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine about the presence of previously undiscovered forms of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor revisited their ...

Sleep better, parent better: Study shows link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting

May 21, 2018
Research has shown that consistently not getting enough sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, can put you at risk for a number of health conditions. But how does sleep, or the lack of it, affect how you parent?

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

iamauthentic2016
not rated yet Jan 08, 2017
I am a transgender female, intersex to be exact. One of 1500 children born each year hermaphrodite in this country. I am a Christian who lives the Law of Chastity! Transgender women have the highest rate of RAPE, ASSAULT, and MURDER IN America... go figure I have a problem being forced into male restrooms. My oh my how soon we forget that segregation in restrooms is no more acceptable to a black person than it is to me. Bad people exist among all genders regardless of laws or limitations. This is SEGREGATION plain and simple. Future generations will look back at these actions with as much shame as we do looking back at Segregation!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.