Tag Archives: utopia

Bathroom Diaries: Transgender Restroom Access VS Civil Rights

19 May

There is a lot of misunderstood dialog between sex and gender – the ideas only get more conflated in communities and households that thought they go hand-in-hand…

The most recent headliner of the Great Transgender Bathroom Debate came hot off the press of the New York Times earlier this week. One of my new guilty pleasures is to peruse the comments thread on Facebook beneath the high profile articles. I like to see individuals with opposing viewpoints duke it out. Sometimes I just laugh at the “idiocracy”, other times I learn something new and it changes my outlook. Not this time.

NYT

I try to hold back the urge to get involved – to be one of those commenters that responds to every “hater” who disagrees with me. Every one has a different opinion – and that is OK!

I relapsed anyway when a few stray cats came in and compared transgender bathroom access to the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, my own claws came out.

To assert that only biologically males are “allowed” to use the men’s restroom is not the equivalent to having a “White’s Only” restroom. African Americans, at that time, did not have equal rights. Transgender individuals most certainly do have the same natural rights as you and I. To compare bathroom access to systemic oppression cheapens that injustice.

I do believe that you cannot force someone with a gender identity crisis to use a labeled bathroom inconsistent with their self-identification. This seems unethical and likely to cause emotional harm.

However no one is being denied equal access to public restroom accommodation. This debate is less about rights and more about being afraid of what you don’t know.

A majority of heterosexuals who feel that transgender individuals are encroaching on their privacy by using a restroom opposite of their biology are scared – scared that it is a gateway for anyone to enter any restroom based off of how they are “feeling.” Of course it does enable perverts easier access to harm people, though I do not think it necessarily is “breeding” a new type of predator.

If a man is comfortable living as a woman, and vice versa, then we should respect that.

This is a slippery slope for me as I toy with the idea more of what a restroom “means” to me (this is an amazing article about stall confessionals!  http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/stall-confessions-for-women-the-washroom-is-a-sacred-place-one-for-privacy-and-reflection).

For the record, I do not mind sharing a restroom with a transgender male. But everyone is not as liberal.

This is about fighting to fight. And while I am all for human rights, I think this topic is tired. If a transgender individual does not feel comfortable using the bathroom with which gender they identify…use a unisex one! It does not automatically classify them as “other.”  Trans students are the hot topic for discussion and lament having to “resort” to entering family restrooms because of harassment and bullying.

But! but! while it seems unfair that they feel threatened and pressured to use the restroom which biologically describes them, the fact is there is no solution that is satisfactory to the majority of any stance!

While transgender people may enter any restroom they choose, they cannot change the opinions of others. Like racism, discrimination again non-conformists will persist NO MATTER WHAT.

Some of you are just too damn sensitive over EVERYTHING and need to realize that labels are necessary.

We are a species, that since the beginning of time, has named things. We are innately curious, speculative, and yearn for identification and expression as a means of storytelling and making sense of the world. Having labels is not oppressive – it is how we categorize things.

Taking away gender labels in favor of  “genderless” will not prevent standards and societal normatives to shine through. Taking away the label that women wear heels and men play with guns will not prevent people from doing those things on the basis of gender.

Utopia, then, is not a society where is no gender.

Rather, utopia is a world in which there are a wide variety of genders and gendered expressions, all of which are seen as equally true, and equally acceptable. Gender of all sorts would ideally be as unmarked, and unremarked, as whether or not you wear glasses or contacts. You’d notice if someone was male or female or both or neither, but it wouldn’t be defining, and wouldn’t carry with it a weight of expectations, anger, censure, and potential violence. – Noah Berlatsky for Ravishly.com

Demanding genderlessness only reinforces the importance of gender, and makes it more visible. It causes you to look more microscopically for the “hated” signs of gender.

The end of gender shaming will not come from people having no gender. The end of gender is the moment when wearing makeup or playing with trucks isn’t seen as having any particular meaning other than that you like wearing makeup or playing with trucks.

As long as there’s one standard, even one standard of genderlessness, those who don’t conform to it will be marked and targeted.

Making restrooms for “all” or abolishing labels on restrooms all together will not solve the issue or make trans individuals feel any less alienated.

Education and acceptance are the only resolution.

 

 

Being Fierce in ’15 – Dispelling the False Association Between Feminism and Misandry

12 Feb

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We’re going back to basics. Have you ever heard the term misandrist? It’s like the antonym for misogynist and pertains to hatred for men instead of women.

Lately, discussions of feminism have been at an all-time high as celebrities such as Emma Watson are taking a public stand on the issue of inequality between sexes. Consequently, most backlash and negativity seems to attack feminism at it so-called weak spot, calling supporters “man-haters.” When did feminism become code for “person who hates men?” When did feminists become viewed as individuals who believe all men are predators? After all, feminist is just a word. A word to describe people who believe everyone should have equitable places in society regardless of their gender. Hey guys, that means we support you too!

Some feminists are misandrists, but it is not a criterion to join the movement. A portion does not equal a whole, even if that portion is very loud.

What matters is that feminism, distilled down to its most inner core, is about gender equality, with the goal of creating a society or utopia in which gender does not restrict an individual from an equitable shot at success and happiness.

Most feminists, including myself, politely disagree with the belief that women are better than men, and conversely try to convey that we’re all deserving and worthy – women, men, trans – and should be treated as such.

Man-hating is unfortunately a reactionary sentiment identified with feminism.

So…What Does Feminism Say Is Bad?

Feminism came about because of sexism – it’s historical presence as well as its existence today. Sexism is the problem, and a problem that is largely engaged in by men, and a lot of women internalize. Because men are largely the vehicles for sexism, they oftentimes wrongly associate feminism as an attack on men. But we’re not out for your blood in particular, our sights are on the patriarchy.

Men become participators in sexism because they have been taught to behave and think that way. Women internalize it for the same reason.

Aside from seeking equality, feminism asks both men and women to think about those normalized behaviors created by society, and calculate the impact. More than anything, the movement asks to hold people accountable who perpetuate sexism whether they realize their behavior is sexist or not.

It’s easy to get defensive about this. Whenever my boyfriend and I debate if feminism is relevant or even needs to exist today, he oftentimes brings up the belief that men can’t be accountable for sexist behavior they never thought/knew was wrong. To no avail I argue that this does not make it acceptable.

It all comes down to society and educating our peers how to treat each other with equity. That is what feminism seeks to achieve.

Saying all feminists hate men is a stigma, which closely relates to the notion that college is just one big beer fest. But you and I both know that college is more than that, isn’t it? Maybe I went to the wrong university…

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