At a McDonald's, a transgender person who identifies as a woman was beaten up as she exited the ladies room by three young ladies. It is not clear if the beating was due to that person being transgender or not, but a lot of people believe that it probably was. The incident has become a part of a growing debate across the country. Which public bathroom should a transgender person be allowed to use? In Gainesville, Florida residents rallied to oppose a law that allowed transgender individuals to use whichever bathrooms they felt most comfortable with. Controversy has also erupted in Baltimore where a similar law was enacted.
One part of the problem is that any guy could put on a dress and a wig and then claim to be a transgender. There is no national registry with photo IDs to identify true transgender individuals.
Understandably, many women would not feel comfortable with this type of situation. In addition, many parents would not feel comfortable with their daughter going into a ladies room where any guy dressed like a woman could enter freely and legally. The situation becomes worse for a father out with his young daughter because he can not escort his daughter into the ladies room and therefore has to worry about whom else might be in the ladies room with his daughter. The following commercial illustrates this concern: Citizens for Good Public Policy - Commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExGBlXKRrYs .
Furthermore, transgender individuals can be at various stages of their transformation. This means that no one knows what the true genital situation is underneath a person's clothes. On top of all of this, a transgender individual does not have to even dress like a woman. This means that an ordinary guy who is dressed like an ordinary guy could legally walk into the ladies room and merely have to claim that he really is a transgender.
The situation really gets complicated when it comes to a woman's locker room at a gym or pool where women are naked and taking showers together. What happens when a guy claiming to be a transgender steps in? It is clear that a very volatile situation would be created. The same is true for a man's bathroom or locker room. What if a woman who identifies as a man enters? Again, it would be a very volatile situation. These are lawsuits waiting to happen.
All of this draws into question how a woman and a man should be defined at least for the purposes of bathroom use. Is an individual a woman because he/she says so or because she/he was born that way? How are the needs of transgender individuals to be weighed against the needs of the wider society? Is this an issue of discrimination or something else?
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