Don't fear trans women

Walking into the woman’s restroom or change room is always a terrifying experience for me. Not because I may be harmed by a trans woman, but because I may be harmed by a cisgender one.

I wonder to myself, “Is this the time when I get harassed, assaulted, or worse, because a woman believes I am a threat to her or her daughter?”

Despite the lies and propaganda, the biggest threats to women in bathrooms are not trans women, but cisgender women who accuse other women of not belonging in that room, simply because they don’t look “feminine enough”.

This has happened time and time again, especially in the U.S., whereas the number of trans women in bathrooms who are legitimately accused of being improper there is only slightly higher than the number of zombie reports in women’s bathrooms.

A similar local example was the nine-year old cisgender girl who was accused by a man of being a boy at a Kelowna track meet in June 2023 because she had a pixie-style haircut.

In the recent case of a trans woman being accused of displaying her (male) genitals in a change room, it turned out she had bottom surgery and no longer has male genitals.

That was yet another case where a trans women was somehow a threat.

However, I also take umbrage with Amanda Wilson (the trans woman who was the subject of the complaint), when she states she believes “a person who does not have the physical sex organs of a woman should not be allowed in the woman’s change room”.

I am a trans woman but was fortunate enough to get gender confirmation surgery which allows me to pass as a cisgender woman. Additionally, trans women who never went through male puberty look and sound like any cisgender woman does. Should I be forced into a men’s change room, and thus be significantly more likely to be assaulted, raped or even killed simply because my genitals don’t match some ideal?

Should a 14-year old trans girl be forced into a change room with burly men with beards, simply because she isn’t old enough to have gotten bottom surgery? (Incidentally, this is the topic of another transphobic lie as children and adolescents have never been eligible for bottom surgery). No.

Furthermore, trans men are completely ignored in this debate. Should a muscular trans man with a beard be forced into the woman’s change room? Would any woman be comfortable with that? Of course not. If they did, they’d immediately be attacked, just like has happened repeatedly in the U.S. where bathroom bills have been passed. Again, no.

Then there are intersex people who often have ambiguous genitalia (contrary to Amanda Wilson's claim that intersex people have genitals of both sexes). What should they do? Just like physics is so much more complicated than you learn in grade schoo, sex and gender is not simply male female, XX XY or penis vs. vagina. Society is learning biology is complicated, but marginalized people are being harmed because people have irrational fears.

The fears about trans women in general, and especially about in bathrooms and change rooms, are based on lies, either direct or by omission. Trans women are not predators or groomers and saying “I’m trans” is not a get-out-of-jail-free card if a person harasses or assaults another person in a bathroom.

In truth, the most likely perpetrator of harassment of a woman in the bathroom or change room is a cisgender woman, and the most likely person being accused of not belonging there is also a cisgender woman.

Amanda Wilson committed no crime. She did nothing wrong. Instead, she was harassed simply for being there.

Trans women have used change rooms and bathrooms for decades with no fuss or alarm. The current trans panic is based on the exact same lies directed at gays and lesbians 50 years ago, blacks 60 years ago and Jews 80 years ago.

To paraphrase comedian Dara O’Briain, “Just because the fear of zombies is at an all-time high does not mean that we should enact laws against zombies.”

Deanna Gilbert, Kamloops

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