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

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
Provided by Springer
Citation: The transgender 'bathroom bill': Who wants it—men or women? (2016, December 19) retrieved 18 April 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-12-transgender-bathroom-bill-itmen-women.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
42 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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