I would Have Made The Same Mistake.

And mistakes like this one can be expensive:

A popular restaurant has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit with a lesbian who said a bouncer chased her out of the women’s bathroom and forced her to leave because she looked masculine.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced the settlement Tuesday on behalf of Khadijah Farmer.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund ….Gad.

The Caliente Cab Company, while denying the allegations, also agreed to add gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy, amend its employee handbook with a section on customer restroom use and adopt a gender-neutral employee dress code.

The old “sensitivity training” rigamorale.

Farmer said the confrontation at the Greenwich Village eatery occurred June 24 after she attended New York City’s annual Gay Pride march.

According to a story from last year, the bouncer accosted her in the bathroom after a woman who saw her going in complained. She tried to show the bouncer her ID:

The bouncer refused to believe that Farmer was a woman even after she emerged from the stall and attempted to show him her driver’s license, she said.

“He totally dismissed that,” she said, adding that the bouncer told her “he wanted me out of his bathroom and restaurant.”

Farmer was then led out of the restaurant – and her friends were made to pay the bill for their abbreviated meal, she said.

It sounds like the bouncer thought he had a pervert on his hands, and just wanted him out.

Look. It’s really simple. If you’re a chick…dress like one if you want to be able to use public restrooms. If you look like a dude when you enter a women’s restroom you are going to alarm people. That is not their fault. That is your fault. Same thing applies with cross dressing guys. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more cases like these.

Am I the only one who is getting sick of people behaving inappropriately in public, and expecting everyone to just suck it up, or else?

Hat tip: Crime Scene KC

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88 thoughts on “I would Have Made The Same Mistake.

  1. Pingback: Khadijah Farmer v. Caliente Cab Co.

  2. Err… what part of “she had ID identifying her as a woman that they refused to look at” did you miss?

    So she’s masculine. Does that mean *she doesn’t get to use the restroom?* She’s a woman! Where does she pee, in the street? She was a paying customer!

    For heaven’s sake, people. And it’s ironic you’d roll your eyes at “The Transgender Legal Defense Fund” when the very story is about a WOMAN WHO WAS DENIED USE OF A RESTROOM BECAUSE HER GENDER DIDN’T MATCH 1950s STANDARDS. …

    Here’s an amusing turn of events: I’m a transsexual. My friend – who is a straight woman – got hassled the same way as this woman was, but I was able to “vouch” for her. The bouncer was like, “do you know this person? Will you watch her?” And I said, “Yes.”

    So here I was, a transsexual who had to “watch” my friend, who came factory-direct as a woman, because she transgressed gender norms. She has short hair and is tall and was wearing pants, and she wanted to pee. I was shepherding her so she wouldn’t, uh, I dunno? Try to rape someone? Ironic, since my genitals were rebuilt and hers were menstruating (hence her urgent need).

    I’m not sure exactly why people police restrooms. They’re not sacred ground. If a man wants to assault someone in a restroom, they can just walk in. And they do – and when they do, people don’t stand there and yell at them, they run. You have no assumption of safety simply because the sign says “woman”.

    Harassment is idiotic. All most people want to do in a bathroom is use the facilities. Most of the time in these situations of harassment, someone is being a jerk to another person because they don’t wear a dress or something. If women were really threatened, they would *run*, not yell and act all annoyed and high and mighty.

    “Transgender” might seem laughable to you, but gender norms are fickle. Wait till it happens to you or a friend of yours. (No, I’ve never been challenged myself. Ironic, isn’t it?)

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  3. For heaven’s sake, people. And it’s ironic you’d roll your eyes at “The Transgender Legal Defense Fund” when the very story is about a WOMAN WHO WAS DENIED USE OF A RESTROOM BECAUSE HER GENDER DIDN’T MATCH 1950s STANDARDS. …

    ==========================

    No, that is not ironic. Ironic is that her GENDER DID MATCH THE 1950’S STANDARDS, but the freak’s disguise allowed it to get paid because it was pretending to be a man.

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  4. I’m not sure exactly why people police restrooms. They’re not sacred ground.

    That’s pretty presumptive. You may not care, but I certainly do. Probably because gender seems to have more meaning for me than it does for you. Some of us like our genders static and separate, just as you prefer a more fluid and ambiguous arrangement.

    If a man wants to assault someone in a restroom, they can just walk in.

    But it’s wrong. That’s not a normal, accepted, or legal behavior. And people don’t just “run” – they complain to the management and to security. Like they did in this case.

    Should the bouncer have checked and believed her drivers license? Of course.

    Should anyone take umbrage at her being mistaken for, and treated like, a man? Of course not.

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  5. WOMAN WHO WAS DENIED USE OF A RESTROOM BECAUSE HER GENDER DIDN’T MATCH 1950s STANDARDS. ???

    You must be joking. This thing does not match the 2008 gender standard. Your view is skewed because you surround yourself with similar freaks. The rest of us are disgusted.

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  6. Thing? That’s a woman. She identifies herself as a woman. How about referring to her as a HUMAN BEING.

    She happens not to be as femme as a department store model, but she’s still a woman. Women wear pants and button-downs, this is 2008. We all don’t look like the women on “Sex in the City”, and we never did.

    As for me, I don’t “surround myself” with gender-fluid people. Or, for that matter, freaks. Bearded ladies aside, I’m talking about a straight woman who was wearing women’s clothing and doesn’t happen to look like a model.

    Is this Iran? Is this Saudi Arabia? Should we require women to wear distinctive clothing or be beaten?

    Oh my God, don’t tell me! She wore JEANS.

    I’m disgusted you’d refer to a woman as a “thing”, an “it”. I’m not a freak, and neither are these other people.

    Did you know that the first lawsuit protecting gay rights was about a straight woman who was prohibited from going to court in pants? That’s what gender rights are about. It’s about the right not to live in a totalitarian society where a married lawyer can be fired from a job because she wore pants.

    These laws protect everyone. If you want gender absolutism, move to Saudi Arabia, where women are punished for not wearing “women clothes”. Thank you, I’ll stick with the United States, where the Supreme Court upheld the rights of women to wear pants.

    I still choke over the “behaving inappropriately” bit of this post. By wearing pants and a button-down? I can see her breasts form here. What do you want, everyone to wear lipstick as a prerequisite for the right to urinate? A DNA test?

    Someone mistook her for a man. Okay. It happens. THEN the policing started, which is the part that isn’t okay. She had ID indicating she was a woman, and friends along with her as well. What did the club do? They forcibly ejected her after refusing to accept that ID.

    The only one being freaks here are the people freaking out because a woman doesn’t look EXACTLY like the model in their head. Guess what? She’s an adult, she gets to pick her own wardrobe.

    Here’s the part I love: if she had dressed like a whore, no one would care or question her. Right? This never would have been an issue. Apparently it’s more important to police her appearance when she is being modest than if she was being a slut.

    I see this kind of hypocricy all the time. Now *that’s* what is disgusting.

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  7. I’m disgusted you’d refer to a woman as a “thing”, an “it”. I’m not a freak, and neither are these other people.

    —————————

    I don’t care. “Thing” and “It” are the being kind. Freak is probably inappropriate as you chose to butcher yourself in order to disguise your true gender. Truth is, my vocabulary is not extensive enough to find a descriptive term that accurately describes just how completely disgusting you really are.

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  8. “If you look like a dude when you enter a women’s restroom you are going to alarm people. That is not their fault.”

    You know what? I’ll agree with you there. I’d be freaked out if I thought a man was there. Biased against men as that is, so are those skewed sexual assault statistics. However, if I (by a second glance, by seeing a driver’s license, whatever, was proved wrong, I’d be thoroughly embarassed and would feel awful for mistaking gender.

    ” That is your fault.”

    Not. True. It’s NOBODY’S fault. It’s a misunderstanding. Honestly, and Nahid might disagree with me and I’ll be on noone’s side, but while I think we MUST have a society where gender can be determined by the individual, we need to still work on living without assumptions. For now, assumptions will happen, and we need to accept that. The difference is what you do when the assumptions are broken. Many of you are saying that we must blame the person for not meeting our standards – and THAT is disgusting. Instead, we need to shift our parameters of assumptions until they disappear altogether.

    “Freak is probably inappropriate as you chose to butcher yourself in order to disguise your true gender. Truth is, my vocabulary is not extensive enough to find a descriptive term that accurately describes just how completely disgusting you really are.”

    So, you would laud someone who “chose to butcher [them]sel[ves] in order to” ENHANCE? their “true gender,” meaning to further fall into society’s norms? A more flat-chested woman who gets a breast enhancement – would you consider her a freak for “butcher”ing herself, or would you appreciate her doing whatever she could to match your standards? Sadly, my impression is that it’s the latter.

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  9. Nick: Dehumanising people makes it easier to hate them, doesn’t it? If you met me, you’d never know I was trans – is that what bothers you?

    I have to say your view of the world is pretty FAIL. You lower other human beings to the level of animals when you disagree with them? Nice.

    Welcome to the USA, where we are allowed to be adults, dress how we want, worship as we like and be who we want to be. You are the disgusting person here, that you would act so disrespectfully.

    And I agree with Marie here – I bet you wouldn’t say a thing to a woman you learned had chest augmentation or a face lift. Would you call her an “it” for butchering her “true gender” (sic)?

    Incidentally, you seem to confuse gender – a person’s rôle in society – with sex – a person’s body. You don’t perform surgery on someone’s rôle in society… the word “gender” is just a different pronunciation of the word French word “genre”. They aren’t the same thing.

    Also, your only response is to basically say EWW ICK, which is hardly coherent. Try again.

    EPIC FAIL.

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  10. I don’t know why I bother – I guess it’s just because these comments are filled with so many self-serving inaccuracies that I can’t let them pass.

    Incidentally, you seem to confuse gender – a person’s rôle in society – with sex – a person’s body.

    From the Collins Essential English Dictionary:

    gender
    Noun 1. the state of being male, female, or neuter

    From the American Heritage Dictionary:

    3.
    a. The condition of being female or male; sex.
    b. Females or males considered as a group:

    the word “gender” is just a different pronunciation of the word French word “genre”.

    From the American Heritage Dictionary:

    [Middle English gendre, from Old French, kind, gender, from Latin genus, gener-; see gen- in Indo-European roots.]

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  11. So, you would laud someone who “chose to butcher [them]sel[ves] in order to” ENHANCE? their “true gender,” meaning to further fall into society’s norms? – Marie

    Nick: Dehumanising people makes it easier to hate them, doesn’t it? If you met me, you’d never know I was trans – is that what bothers you? – Thing

    Actually, I couldn’t care less about someone surgically altering their anatomy for enhancement purposes. Such people are not doing it for the purpose of perpetrating a fraud as this woman was. Fraud is exactly what they are doing, and it is for the purpose of tricking people into thinking they are something other than what they are. That is just plain disgusting.

    I do not dehumanize you Nahid. You did that to yourself for the purpose of disguising your true gender. You should be locked away some place safe, where you can never, ever recruit, defraud or infect society again.

    As far as your, “Epic Fail” shove that gay rhetoric right up which ever hole you prefer. The one you play with or the one you had carved.

    Don’t test the mastery of your anatomical artwork Nahid. Bring your nasty self around me and I will show you that Adam’s apple you couldn’t hide, or the brow you cannot file down.

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  12. geoff Says: “From the Collins Essential English Dictionary:
    gender Noun 1. the state of being male, female, or neuter
    From the American Heritage Dictionary:
    3.
    a. The condition of being female or male; sex.
    b. Females or males considered as a group”

    Your sex chromosomes and/or your derived secondary sex characteristics make you male or female. Your biology and socialisation (yes, both) make you masculine or feminine. Gender is used to deal with your societal presentation: you appear masculine or feminine. Sex is your body. There is an overlap, but they are not identical.

    “From the American Heritage Dictionary: [Middle English gendre, from Old French, kind, gender, from Latin genus, gener-; see gen- in Indo-European roots.]”

    Thank you for proving my point. Middle French “gendre” > modern French genre > modern English genre AS WELL AS > ME gendre > modern English “gender”.

    Nick says: “Actually, I couldn’t care less about someone surgically altering their anatomy for enhancement purposes. Such people are not doing it for the purpose of perpetrating a fraud as this woman was.”

    “That woman” – the woman who was won the lawsuit – did not have a sex change. She was born with XX chromosomes and a vagina, and she is no different from any other woman on the planet. You seem to confuse “lesbian” and “transsexual”.

    “Fraud is exactly what they are doing, and it is for the purpose of tricking people into thinking they are something other than what they are. That is just plain disgusting.”

    You mean like people who pretend to be 40 years younger by getting breast implants and cheek implants and face jobs and nosejobs? Sorry, but no dice.

    Uh… dude. She’s a WOMAN. What the hell are you talking about? Didn’t you read the article, or did you just decide to make it up? The Trans Law Clinic defended her because this was discrimination based on *gender* – they didn’t say, “get out, you dyke”, they said “get out, you woman who is dressed too manly for us”.

    She’s not a crossdresser. She’s not a transsexual. She’s a woman.

    “I do not dehumanize you Nahid. You did that to yourself for the purpose of disguising your true gender.”

    Who are you to decide what my “gender” is? And you dehumanise me by calling me “Thing”, so, uh, you are wrong.

    I bet you think transwomen are, like, big ol’ drag queens. I bet you think we’re like those people in pornos or something. Guess what? We’re just normal women. I went through puberty just like my sister did. I had surgery – surgery recommended by the American Psychological Association and a team of doctors, none of who saw a red cent for it. I suffered greatly. You don’t undergo such a significant life-change without knowing what you are doing.

    You know, I am a normal person. You can try all you like to turn me and other trans people into monsters, but I go to work, pay my taxes, love my family, and live a normal life. So I had surgery – so what? I was born with a birth defect – I am intersexed, and it’s not my fault and I’m not ashamed of having to have medical treatment to live a full life.

    “You should be locked away some place safe, where you can never, ever recruit, defraud or infect society again.”

    … recruit? What, do you think I tell people, “Wow, you know what would be great? If I could convince you to get major surgery! Dude, you are *totally* a girl.” Have you even *met* a trans person before? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Defraud, eh? Who am I defrauding? You do realise that as a woman, I am paid now like 80% of what I would make as a man, right? I don’t understand what you mean, because that’s the only money I’m aware of that changes hands.

    “As far as your, “Epic Fail” shove that gay rhetoric right up which ever hole you prefer. The one you play with or the one you had carved.”

    Gay rhetoric. Mhm. Anal references – I got that one!

    I’m not the fetishised whores from your dreams, boy. You obviously have put a lot of thought into how I have sex, which is ironic since, you know, we weren’t talking about who or how I have sex. But I guess I know what you have on your brain.

    “Don’t test the mastery of your anatomical artwork Nahid. Bring your nasty self around me and I will show you that Adam’s apple you couldn’t hide, or the brow you cannot file down.”

    LOL, you are too funny. Ann Coulter has an adam’s apple the size of my head, and I don’t have one at all. And I don’t have a brow, but it’s a nice try. Keep on trollin’.

    Nasty? You sure are getting hot under the collar. How about you keep your mind out of the gutter and out of my pants, since they don’t belong there in the first place.

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  13. Gender is used to deal with your societal presentation: you appear masculine or feminine.

    Perhaps in the specialized literature with which you are familiar. But the common definitions don’t reflect that distinction.

    There is an overlap, but they are not identical.

    That must be why the American Heritage Dictionary definition explicity equates “gender” to “sex.” Merriam Webster has both definitions (the only one I’ve seen so far that does): the first definition is “sex,” and the second is your “presentation.”

    Thank you for proving my point. Middle French “gendre” > modern French genre > modern English genre AS WELL AS > ME gendre > modern English “gender”.

    And if you apply the least bit of logic, you’ll quickly find that though they have the same Latin origin, the French word “genre” does not necessarily equate to the English “gender.” And of course the English word “genre” is not at all the same as the English word “gender.”

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  14. You find confusion on the meaning of the word “genre” and “gender” starting in the 20th century, when it begins to be solely associated with sex in the general discourse. In linguistics, this created a great amount of confusion, because the “gender” of a word refers to what kinds of categories a language makes. In European and Semitic languages, these are often historically labeled (by speakers of the languages themselves) as “masculine, feminine”, but that’s a coincidence of great misfortune and confusion. Anyone who studies a foreign language that has gender rapidly learns to live with this confusion.

    In common discourse, we also talk about peoples “race”, when in fact race is also a made-up thing that is inaccurate. There is more genetic diversity inside of Africa than outside of it, for example, so despite two people being “black”, genetically they may be more distant from each other than from someone from Nordic blood.

    Not only that, but all humans are almost identical in terms of our genes: our ancestors were apparently close to extinction. You find a larger range of genetic diversity in your average chimpanzee grouping in the wild than has been found in the entire human species – our genetic differences boil down to rapidly-changing things like skin colour and a few instances of disease-resistance issues like sickle-cell, which helps fight malaria.

    So if someone talks about “race”, it’s certainly fair to call clarification on the issue, since it is not only a red herring but has no basis in biology. Humanity isn’t composed of different subspecies; it’s all about culture. In the same way, it’s fair to call clarification on the conflation of sex and gender, when the two are interactive but certainly not identical.

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  15. You find confusion on the meaning of the word “genre” and “gender” starting in the 20th century

    Not really any confusion. They have distinct, accepted definitions. You can do what you want with claiming a difference between “transgendered” and “transexual,” but the difference does not derive from the current definitions of the root words.

    In fact, the definition of transgendered is itself in flux, so you can’t really claim an etymological heritage for it. At least thus far.

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  16. “You can do what you want with claiming a difference between “transgendered” and “transexual,” but the difference does not derive from the current definitions of the root words.”

    I didn’t, in fact, distinguish the two. I am well aware that the terms are in flux and their meaning varies a lot. In fact, I didn’t make any sort of argument for or against a distinction between transsexual and transgendered.

    Instead, I was discussing the fact that this woman, Khadijah Farmer, was discriminated against because of her gender. Amongst the slurs and insults, I was trying to point out that she’s being pilloried because she looks masculine. She *isn’t* trans anything. She’s just a woman who happens to look masculine according to our cultural standards, but even though she was able to show ID that indicated she was a woman, she was thrown out of a restaurant for trying to use the restroom.

    Bottom line: people should be allowed to use the restroom. All this “gender policing” – the snickers about how she should conform to society’s demands she look like, I dunno, I guess a model? is that what women are, emaciated sticks with tiny dresses? – is the kind of behaviour appropriate for the actual Morality Police of Sa’udi Arabia, not for the United States.

    That’s the bottom line.

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  17. Heh. People with messed up gender identity can never wrap their heads around normo attitudes. They’re forever talking octal math to people who only know binary. They think if they evangelize hard enough, straights can learn to take a comfy whiz around people who wear obvious sexual issues on the outside.

    Me, I think public restrooms are a barbarity in any case. Getting together with a bunch of strangers to perform one of the less attractive biological functions is intensely icky.

    And, of course, being a hardline property rights absolutist, I think a restauranteur should be allowed to kick you out of his bathroom if he thinks your shoes are tacky.

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  18. “Normo attitudes” being, in this case, refusing to let a female customer use the restroom because she doesn’t dress according to some nebulous handbook?

    Exactly how are we judging what is right for someone to wear? If a man is in a pink shirt, should he be thrown out of the men’s room? What standards? Who gets to judge?

    I still find it ironic that a well-dressed woman was refused the right to use the bathroom. She wouldn’t have been refused the right if she had been dressed in a tutu and point shoes, a wedding dress, a burqa or any other outfit that would clearly be inappropriate for a bar and restaurant, but she wore pants and a button down, omg omg omg everyone panic and scream about t3h h0m0z.

    “Me, I think public restrooms are a barbarity in any case. Getting together with a bunch of strangers to perform one of the less attractive biological functions is intensely icky.”

    But a necessity. People have to pee. It’s a biological function and it’s not avoidable. You can’t decide not to pee or whatever.

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  19. “Normo attitudes” being, in this case, refusing to let a female customer use the restroom because she doesn’t dress according to some nebulous handbook?

    Nobody said that. What we said was she shouldn’t be surprised if she alarms other patrons and catches flak from the management.

    Instead, I was discussing the fact that this woman, Khadijah Farmer, was discriminated against because of her gender.

    No, we were discussing this inaccurate statement you made:

    Incidentally, you seem to confuse gender – a person’s rôle in society – with sex – a person’s body. You don’t perform surgery on someone’s rôle in society… the word “gender” is just a different pronunciation of the word French word “genre”. They aren’t the same thing.

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  20. See, if you were born with a copy of the handbook, you don’t find it particularly nebulous. It’s actually one of the simpler manuals we get handed.

    Lady looks like a dude, dresses like a dude, is mistaken for a dude.

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  21. Lady looks like a dude, dresses like a dude, is mistaken for a dude.

    …pseudo-dude walks into ladies room, ladies freak. When they find out that dude is only pseudo, they’re still very nervous. They’re wondering: where does the adoption of male behaviors stop, exactly?

    It’s an ugly world sometimes, and genuine predators exist. Erring occasionally on the side of safety isn’t a huge price to pay.

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  22. There is no evidence that “ladies freaked”.

    In fact, the original story, which is linked above, reports the following:

    “Just as she was about to enter the bathroom, a woman walked out, flashed her a nasty look and said, “This is the women’s bathroom,” according to Farmer, who is an HIV counselor. “I replied, ‘I know that. Thank you. This is where I’m supposed to be,'” Farmer said, noting that she was wearing a yellow polo shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. Moments later, a bouncer burst into the ladies room and began banging on her stall and yelling at her to leave, she said.”

    If you are concerned about a person in the women’s room, you *don’t* talk to them. Let’s be clear. YOU DON’T ACCOST THEM. You go for help. In this case, I think the situation is pretty clear. Not only that, but the bouncer burst in and interrupted her *using the facilities*.

    I remind everyone that this wasn’t in some hick tavern somewhere. This happened *in the Village*.

    “…pseudo-dude walks into ladies room, ladies freak. When they find out that dude is only pseudo, they’re still very nervous. They’re wondering: where does the adoption of male behaviors stop, exactly?”

    What does that mean? Does that mean, “Is she a rapist?” Is that what ‘the adoption of male behaviours’ means to you? What on Earth would a masculine-appearing woman threaten, exactly? Is she going to beat you up? Is she going to sexually assault you? It’s the women’s bathroom, where else is someone who is female going to go?

    This is all excuses anyway. The situation is gender policing: she wore pants, she appeared masculine, it is unacceptable to someone, she gets the boot. It wasn’t right and the Company *admitted* such behaviour wouldn’t be right even while admitting no guilt (legal settlements, pfeh).

    I also don’t see what the big deal is with her “looking like a dude”. She doesn’t look like a “dude” to me. She has breasts. She has feminine facial features. She might not wear a wee Prada dress and Jimmy Choo shoes, but she’s still *clearly* a woman.

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  23. Are you looking at pictures other than the one topping the post? Because neither her features nor her chest look feminine to me. Those are well within chubby man-boobs. My verdict would be “male.”

    I’m pretty sure the “women wearing pants” thing is no longer a societal hotbutton. I haven’t worn a dress in I don’t know how many years. I wore jeans to my mother’s funeral.

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  24. If you are concerned about a person in the women’s room, you *don’t* talk to them.

    Uh…sure…if that’s what you want to believe. I don’t know how you conjure up these dramatic scenarios, but there’s a large gulf between accepted behavior and rape, with many gradations between. Here’s how it worked:

    The woman leaving the bathroom sees a guy walking in, and tells him that he’s making a mistake. Simple enough – she wasn’t “concerned” at that point, because there was no threat. “He” insists on going in, so she goes to DEFCON 2 (what I called “freaks out”) and talks to the bouncer.

    What does that mean? Does that mean, “Is she a rapist?” Is that what ‘the adoption of male behaviours’ means to you?

    No. But a guy who deliberately walks into a woman’s restroom is, with rare exception, up to no good. Maybe he’s a perv, a peeper, setting up a practical joke, stalking, etc., but somebody normally doesn’t cross that threshold unless there’s something nefarious afoot. So now we have the situation where a woman is acting like a man in the restroom. If she’s dressed like a man, it suggests the possibility that her sexual preferences tend toward those of a man. In the case above, I’d say that was an iron-clad certainty.

    That’s guaranteed to make women uncomfortable. I know that the few times I was in public showers or restrooms with gay men, they weren’t at all subtle with their wandering eyes, making for a very uncomfortable experience. Lesbians have been similarly overt with my wife.

    And S. Weasel is right: “pants” have nothing to do with it – women wear pants 95% of the time. And if she looked anything like she does in that picture, there’s absolutely no question that she looked more male than female.

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  25. I feel like there are two things happening on this blog:

    1. You are uncomfortable because a woman (who identifies as a WOMAN) is dressed in a way that is too masculine for your liking.
    2. You are transphobic.

    The two are obviously somewhat related, but for the purposes of your original post, your arguments about gender actually serve to SUPPORT the conclusion that this woman was wrongfully discriminated against. If you believe a “woman” is someone born biologically female, who identifies herself as a woman, and who is identified as such by her public documentation (driver’s license, etc) and who is referred to and recognized as a woman by family, friends, etc, then for someone to eject Khadijah from a space designated FOR WOMEN after she had explained to them that she identified as is identified on her driver’s license as a woman, makes no sense. People dress in a variety of ways. I personally dress in very “feminine” ways most days, but sometimes I like to wear a pair of sweatpants and a big t-shirt. That doesn’t make me less of a woman. If I cut my hair short, that wouldn’t make me less of a woman. If someone saw me from far away and thought I was a man, or couldn’t quite tell, that wouldn’t change who *I* am. It would just be a case of someone *else* misunderstanding. That’s OK. Misunderstandings happen. Khadijah attempted to clarify that misunderstanding, and was discriminated against nonetheless. That’s the problem, which should be fairly apparent to any discerning reader.

    The other issue, which is your discomfort and lack of understanding about trans people, is something I am not going to go into, but if you are interested in actually trying to learn and educate yourself, I would recommend the following sites for basic information about trans issues:

    http://gendercrash.com/101.shtml
    http://missavarice.blogspot.com/2007/12/transgender-basics.html

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  26. re: Geoff – “That’s guaranteed to make women uncomfortable. I know that the few times I was in public showers or restrooms with gay men, they weren’t at all subtle with their wandering eyes, making for a very uncomfortable experience. Lesbians have been similarly overt with my wife.”

    HAHAHA.

    I’m a lesbian, and I can tell you for a fact that straight people *always* think gay people are interested in them when 99% of the time, we aren’t. Seriously, don’t flatter yourself. You’re not all that hot, and if we know (or even think) you might be straight, we’re not going to show interest in someone who will never reciprocate our interest.

    I’m a very feminine-looking lesbian, and I constantly get hit on and harassed by straight men, while actual lesbians almost never hit on me uninvited (usually because they think I’m straight).

    So, get over yourself. We’re not interested, and you’re just flattering yourself if you think we are. Get your mind out of the gutter and focus on your workout. That’s why I’m trying to do in the gym.

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  27. a) Gotta agree with “a lesbian who isn’t interested in you.” How do you know those people in the showers were gay? And why do you assume all gay men have wandering eyes? Last I check, all straight men check out girls too with their “wandering eyes”. Too bad you’re too homophobic to be alright with the idea of a guy checking you out.

    b) Let’s bring this conversation back to the simple facts: Ok, you’re right that maybe it’s understandable for her to be mistaken for a man on the way in. Somebody should have spoken to her or gotten a manager (which they did). The problem is when the person in question produces identification indicating her sex, and that is ignored and she is subsequently chased out of the building for being a “pervert.” That is where the line is drawn.

    I don’t care if you would have thought “she” was a “he” or not; when that person proves that she has every right to be in the ladies room, then you leave her alone. If that drivers license can get her on an airplane, it can get her into a bathroom. Enough said.

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  28. I feel like there are two things happening on this blog:

    That’s where you first went wrong.

    I can tell you for a fact that straight people *always* think gay people are interested in them when 99% of the time, we aren’t.

    Sorry kids, but I got independent confirmation, both on the sexual orientation and the interest. Gays and lesbians always claim that the scoping never happens – complete BS. I’ve been scoped, hit on, and stalked by gay men. So have my friends. It happens all the time. Do you know how annoying and persistent you can be? It’s exactly the same as straight guys annoying women with unwanted attention: claiming that the GLBT community has some sort of special immunity is delusional. The hackneyed “you’re not all that – you’re just paranoid” argument is old and pathetic.

    Last I check, all straight men check out girls too with their “wandering eyes”.

    Congratulations, that was the point: that men aren’t allowed into the women’s bathroom for just that reason. So a woman who is acting like a straight man is not a comforting presence in the ladies’ room.

    I don’t care if you would have thought “she” was a “he” or not; when that person proves that she has every right to be in the ladies room, then you leave her alone.

    Again, congratulations: that’s pretty much what everybody else said in this thread.

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  29. “I’ve been scoped, hit on, and stalked by gay men. So have my friends. It happens all the time. Do you know how annoying and persistent you can be?”

    Yes, because I deal with that behavior from straight men every day. All the time. I’ve never dealt with it from lesbians.

    “claiming that the GLBT community has some sort of special immunity is delusional.”

    I’m not claiming there is a special immunity – I’m claiming that not *every* GLBT person is interested in you, as you seem to assume. In fact, that *vast* majority of us are not.

    Are you attracted to every woman you see? I’m not. And when I am, I sure don’t make the first move, unless I’m in a lesbian club, or know that the other girl is gay, or am in some other situation where I feel comfortable expressing interest in someone. Right now, I’m happily in a relationship, so I’m sure not interested in checking out some old married woman, and I seriously doubt most other queer women are. In fact, we spend a lot of time trying to avoid the married women and the women with boyfriends who want to “experiment” or get us involved in their threesomes (check out the Craigslist women-for-women section if you don’t know what I’m referring to).

    In conclusion, you are simply expressing the typical homophobic response to the *idea* that a man might be interested in another man.

    Seriously, get over yourself.

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  30. But I dunno, maybe my standards for “gay” and “interested” are different than yours. Let’s check:

    If a guy tells you he’s in love with you, steals your underwear so that he can use it to masturbate while he lies in your bed thinking of you, and then he tries to fondle you while you’re sleeping and violently tries to stop you when you’re making out with your girlfriend, is he gay and interested?

    If a guy spontaneously tries to go down on you while you’re riding a bus, is he gay and interested?

    If a guy checks you out, then rubs his crotch and asks, “wanna play?”, is that gay and interested?

    If a guy gives you a lift, then invites you back to his place for “more than a beer,” is that gay and interested?

    If two guys are checking you out, then one says to the other, “I’d sure like some of that,” is that gay and interested?

    If we can’t find agreement on those, I have more.

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  31. I’m claiming that not *every* GLBT person is interested in you, as you seem to assume. In fact, that *vast* majority of us are not.

    Nice strawman. I never said that “every” GLBT person was interested in anybody. Not every straight man is interested in every woman, either. Most of your argument is based on “some” lesbians not checking out other women. That’s a meaningless statement in the context of this discussion.

    Are you attracted to every woman you see? blah, blah, blah…

    I don’t really see your point. Are you saying lesbians never check out other women? That’s flatly wrong. And your experiences as a femme hardly apply to the type of lesbian under discussion here. But I will say this: far more lesbians take “no” for an answer than men of either orientation.

    In conclusion, you are simply expressing the typical homophobic response to the *idea* that a man might be interested in another man.

    In conclusion, you’re making more weak generalizations based on your own prejudices.

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  32. I wondered how long it would be before something-phobic intered into the conversation. A phobia is a fear. I’m not afraid of people who flunked basic biology. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a suffix for “find something distasteful and, at long last, pretty boring.”

    You realize, geoff, this thread will go on as long as you keep rebutting points and Nice Deb doesn’t shut it down. Which is fine, if it amuses you. There’s a sort of booster-swarm that happens in these LGBT threads.

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  33. Most of your argument is based on “some” lesbians not checking out other women. That’s a meaningless statement in the context of this discussion.

    And most of your argument is based on “some” gay men checking out other men. Interesting coincidence, that.

    That said, I should probably stop feeding the trolls here. Peace out, and I hope some of the people commenting will actually make an effort to educate themselves and face their own prejudices.

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  34. wow.

    a) its funny you’re called nicedeb, and this post is not so nice. maybe just funny to me.

    b) geoff, i’m actually quite concerned for you. none of those experiences you listed above are by any means “normal.” if this was all one guy, it sounds like he has a problem. if it was not, i have to wonder how a stranger on the bus got his head close enough to your penis to “try and go down on you.” like physically, i can’t imagine how that’s possible. when someone’s backpack intrudes on my personal space on the bus, i usually scoot over. i can’t imagine remaining motionless while they tried to take off my pants.

    c) “transphobic” actually doesn’t just mean literally “afraid of” transpeople. most social phobias refer to intolerance, such as the type of intolerance you show by calling someone else’s existence “distasteful.”

    d) at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether gay men checking you out or lesbians checking your wife out makes you uncomfortable. frankly, straight men check out women all the time whether it makes them uncomfortable or no. the thing is “checking someone out” very rarely translates into “planning to sexually assault them.” so even if i WERE to check out your wife, i doubt she’d be in much danger. we could probably pee in separate stalls in the same bathroom without anyone getting hurt. whereas if i wasn’t allowed into the bathroom, my bladder would explode.

    i’m sorry gay people and trans people make you uncomfortable, but unfortunately your discomfort is not as big a concern to me as my ability to pee when i need to. deal with it.

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  35. I wondered how long it would be before something-phobic intered into the conversation.

    The next step is for them to start calling me a “closet homosexual.” Pretty standard sequence.

    And most of your argument is based on “some” gay men checking out other men.

    I quite agree. And only “some” straight men would check out women in a ladies room. And yet, that possibility is sufficient to justify our current policies. The men who wouldn’t take a peek are irrelevant.

    i have to wonder how a stranger on the bus got his head close enough to your penis to “try and go down on you.”

    Well, if you’re really concerned, I’ll tell what happened. I was a naive 19 year old taking a Greyhound bus ride home from college. In the skanky Chicago busport I’m killing time waiting for my next bus, when a guy strikes up a conversation. Well, after a semester of academia I’m full of idealistic populism, so I yak with the guy until my bus arrives.

    To my mild dismay it turns out that he’s taking the same bus, and he plunks himself down next to me. To my further dismay, the bus is completely full – I’d already been traveling for about 16 hours, and I was hoping I could get a pair of seats to rack out in. Oh well, at least I had a window seat.

    So it eventually gets dark, and I lean over on the window to get some sleep. My special buddy then uses my shoulder as a pillow. “Fair enough,” says I, “just travelers helping each other out.” But then he starts rubbing my chest, and my freak-out begins. “Is he asleep? Should I wake him? What do I do?”

    And while I’m playing deer in the headlights, he slides his head down my chest and into my lap. I can feel the hot breath in my nether regions – he’s not breathing, he’s blowing in my crotch. That breaks my stasis, and I haul him up and restore him to his seat.

    Then the sequence happens again. Exactly the same sequence, with exactly the same end result. So I say, “Knock it off!” to which he replies, “Well, you don’t mind if I rub on your chest a little, do ya?”

    “Yeah, I do,” says I, impressed with my own assertiveness – an attribute I had in woefully small amounts at that age. so the rest of the night I sat bolt upright, eyes wide, feeling trapped and nauseous. He left the bus in Omaha, and I continued home. On the remaining leg I got to help carry a drunk off the bus, so things were definitely looking up.

    even if i WERE to check out your wife, i doubt she’d be in much danger.

    It’s not the danger, as I’ve said above. I don’t know why you all seem to jump to assault and rape. Invasion of privacy is a sufficient offense.

    i’m sorry gay people and trans people make you uncomfortable

    So am I. They seem to go out of their way.

    our discomfort is not as big a concern to me as my ability to pee when i need to

    Congratulations. You, too, have made the same exact point that everybody else on the thread has made. Is it groupthink that makes you all make the same point that was never contested in the first place?

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  36. this thread will go on as long as you keep rebutting points

    Well, it’s to the point now where they’re not even reading what I’m saying. They’re just conjuring up their safe strawman of “transphobes won’t let me use their bathrooms.” To be fair, I think Nice Deb forgot a clause in her last paragraph. The third sentence should have ended with something like: “without getting grief.”

    The real question is: is it reasonable for women to feel uncomfortable when a woman who looks like a man enters their restroom? I claim that it is reasonable, but nobody has really addressed that point.

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  37. if this was all one guy, it sounds like he has a problem

    Each sentence is a different guy/guys. All but one of these incidents happened between ages 18 and 25. Off the top of my head I can think of four more that I didn’t list. And of course my friends have many stories as well.

    I didn’t particularly mind the last 3 incidents – I understand that if you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know the answer. But the original point was: does a person have justification for feeling uncomfortable in public facilities,when they encounter people who deviate from their “binary gender assignments” (hope I used that correctly – I just heard it today)?

    The response was: “no, because they’re not interested in you, you’re just paranoid.” The list was simply meant to show that these events really happen.

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  38. To be fair, I think Nice Deb forgot a clause in her last paragraph. The third sentence should have ended with something like: “without getting grief.”

    No, I meant to say that we have to cheerfully accept what ever inappropriate, and problematic behavior they throw our way, (or else) they’ll sue our asses.

    I realize that the bouncer didn’t take the time to look at her ID. That was his mistake, as I acknowledge in my post. Her mistake was trying to use the bathroom while dressed and looking exactly like a dude. Would it kill her to wear something more feminine? It would certainly spare her some grief, and would seem the reasonable approach, to me.

    Unless she’s on some kind of crusade to tear down common mores, which is what I suspect is going on here.

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  39. geoff – that bus story is pretty horrifying. if it happened to me i woudl freak out. my concern is that you’re associating the horrifying-ness of that experience with gayness, when actually the more pressing issue there is “sexual predators.” which no one likes. gay or straight. but obviously all gay people are not sexual predators, and those of us who are respectful of other people deserve that same respect from you.

    and mean deb: it certainly would “spare her grief” to wear something more feminine, which is the whole problem. what i wear shouldn’t be any of your concern, and you shouldn’t “give me grief” over it.

    and to address the point you don’t think anyone has addressed, geoff, if a woman sees someone she reads as a man in the bathroom, of course it is ok to be initially uncomfortable. the question is what you do with that discomfort. had she looked even a bit closer, she would have seen that the person was a woman – if i can tell from a photograph i’m sure she could tell in person. barring that, respectful inquiry works. this woman was ready and willing to show id of her womanhood (already pretty degrading, if you ask me) and still got harassed. so this is not about peopel feeling uncomfortable, its about people reacting to that discomfort in an abusive way.

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  40. that bus story is pretty horrifying

    Yup. It’s obviously stuck with me for a long time. The preceding story was far worse, however.

    my concern is that you’re associating the horrifying-ness of that experience with gayness

    No, the point was not to call gays predators, the point was to show that being checked out or hit on by gays is not uncommon. If you’re in a public facility that is supposed to provide sexual privacy, having people with an interest observing you is off-putting.

    For instance, in the first example I cited, the fellow in question was in my fraternity. I had to wait until I was sure he had left the house before I could shower in peace. In another case I had to change my workout schedule at the gym because this fellow kept watching me in the locker room and asking me for my phone number.

    and to address the point you don’t think anyone has addressed, geoff

    Now we’re back to where we were a third of the way down the thread. The follow-up question I posed was: given that the women now know that the intruder was in fact female, should they continue to find the manner of dress & behavior unsettling? My argument was that that was perfectly reasonable, since there was a significant possibility that their sexual privacy was being invaded.

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  41. what i wear shouldn’t be any of your concern, and you shouldn’t “give me grief” over it.

    It’s my concern if you’re in the lady’s room and you’re dressed to look like a man. That is concerning. Period.

    If you can’t see that, there’s really no point in discussing this, further.

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  42. Geoff, I take my hat off to you, that was a brilliant takedown of the gay “double standard.”

    Well thought out and expressed.

    These people will never “get it” because they want to stand out, they want attention, and they want to piss of “uptight” straight people. They live for it.

    This is also why gay marriage is really a non issue for gays, because let’s face it, once they actually get all those things they say they want, it ain’t gonna be fun anymore is it?

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  43. This is a difficult topic, and there are a lot of kneejerk responses that make it very hard to make progress in a discussion. I admire those visitors who have made an effort to actually think before responding. It may, unfortunately, be impossible to reconcile these views, as Nice Deb pointed out.

    To summarize:

    ND: People who look like men in the ladies’ room freak me out.

    GLBTs: It shouldn’t. People can dress any way they want to. You’re repressing our right of self-expression.

    ND: But you look like a guy. In the ladies’ room. All our social mores tell us that a guy in the ladies’ room is a Bad Thing. You’re a sheep in wolfskin telling the other sheep not to be nervous.

    GLBTs: Get over it. There’s no harm – it’s not like we’re going to rape you.

    ND: But the harm is that I can no longer feel at ease in the restroom. I don’t need the threat of rape to feel uncomfortable. What about my rights?

    GLBTs: Suck it up, hater.

    That dialog may not capture the nuances of the situation, but I think it reflects the spirit. It will always be true that everybody needs a facility to use, and it will also be true that economics will limit us to no more than two types of facilities. So somehow there has to be a reconciliation.

    The only way a reconciliation can ever be reached, though, is if the GLBT community recognizes the legitimacy of the feelings of the ‘binary gender’ community. Rather than denying the validity of those feelings, they should acknowledge them, accept them, and then try to work through the situation in a less confrontational way. Otherwise they’ll be stalled indefinitely, much as progress on racial issues has been stalled.

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  44. It’s not “suck it up, hater” that they’re saying. They’re saying, “It’s my restroom too. I am also female.”

    I mean, maybe you think that’s being a hater, I can’t speak for you. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to be allowed to use the restroom. Where, exactly, should Farmer have gone to use the restroom? Answer: the women’s room. It’s easy. She’s a woman. She could be wearing a wig and short-shorts, she still would use the women’s room!

    You have the right to use the restroom in peace. So does she.

    And I call shenanigans on the “Gay Threat” thing. There is no reasonable threat of “sexual privacy being invaded” because gay people are around. Gay people are not sexual predators, although there are certainly some sexual predators who are gay just as there are some who are straight.

    Yes, people have had bad experiences. No, that doesn’t mean gay/lesbian people are Up To No Good In The Bathroom, Starin’ At Yer Junk. You are characterising gay and lesbian people as rapists and molesters.

    So the real reason that woman couldn’t use the restroom is that she was kinda butch, and since she was kinda butch she must be like a man, and if she’s like a man she must be a molester.

    Shenanigans, I say.

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  45. I mean, maybe you think that’s being a hater

    Ummm, that was the GLBT faction calling ND a hater, not the reverse.

    You are characterising gay and lesbian people as rapists and molesters.

    Not at all. That’s a fallacy you’ve promoted since you came on this thread. I never, ever called GLBT folk rapists and molesters. Ever. In fact I made this point explicitly to you before (5/18, 7:49 pm), yet you keep returning to “rapists.” What is this fixation on this illogical strawman?

    So the real reason that woman couldn’t use the restroom is that she was kinda butch, and since she was kinda butch she must be like a man, and if she’s like a man she must be a molester.

    …or more likely, maybe she leaves the seat up like a man.

    Even if rape, molestation, and assault didn’t exist, men wouldn’t be allowed in the ladies’ room, simply because it’s a violation of their privacy and poor etiquette.

    Gay people are not sexual predators, although there are certainly some sexual predators who are gay just as there are some who are straight.

    Hetero men aren’t either, yet they’re still not allowed in the ladies’ bathroom.

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  46. “The only way a reconciliation can ever be reached, though, is if the GLBT community recognizes the legitimacy of the feelings of the ‘binary gender’ community. Rather than denying the validity of those feelings, they should acknowledge them, accept them, and then try to work through the situation in a less confrontational way.”

    Ok, you clearly have “feelings.” But dressing how you want and using a restroom is not “confrontational.” So that can’t be what you are referring to. And if you are referring to the way this conversation has been, I think both sides have been equally confrontational.

    Regardless, let’s say we “accept” your “feelings”; to what result? Ok, you’re uncomfortable in the bathroom when somebody who looks “butch” walks in. Great; got it. The problem is your solution is “Well don’t walk into a bathroom looking butch.” In other words, your idea of reconciliation is to ignore the way GLBT people wish to express themselves. In other words, it is you guys being “confrontational” since you seem to reject any “butchness” in the girls restroom.

    If you feel uncomfortable in the ladies room, talk to the person. If they say they are a female, and you still feel uncomfortable, then it is not because you don’t like “rapists” or “wandering eyes” in your bathroom. It is because you are uncomfortable with a woman looking masculine.

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  47. The problem is your solution is “Well don’t walk into a bathroom looking butch.”

    At this point I’d be speaking for Nice Deb, which I wouldn’t care to do, but I’d regard that as a starting point, not an ending point. for discussion.

    If they say they are a female, and you still feel uncomfortable, then it is not because you don’t like “rapists” or “wandering eyes” in your bathroom. It is because you are uncomfortable with a woman looking masculine.</i

    And that sort of absolutist self-serving diagnosis is at the root of the problem here. Any other gross, ill-informed generalizations you’d care to pull from your fanny?

    Way to reach across the aisle, there.

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  48. But dressing how you want and using a restroom is not “confrontational.”

    How very one-sided of you. You unilaterally decide that what you want to do is not a problem, even though people say that it is. Your very statement is “confrontational.”

    How about a little less defensive bluster and a little more open-mindedness?

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  49. bmac- “These people will never “get it” because they want to stand out, they want attention, and they want to piss of “uptight” straight people. They live for it.” what? at least geoff is like, trying to express rational thoughts. you are just being ignorant. newsflash, the world does not revolve around you. nothing i do is to piss you off, and CERTAINLY nothing i “live for” is to piss you off. gay people “stand out” because they differ from the norm, just like a black person stands out in the middle of a kkk rally. but similarly, an argument can be made that said black person is not being black to stand out. some people are gay. its not about you. and i know i know, youre going to say the kkk is an extreme example, but judging from your comments i’d say as a gay person i’d feel equally unsafe in a rally full of people like you.

    which brings me to my response to geoff: you say this is not about rape, molestation, or assault, but take a wild guess as to what happens to lesbians who try to use the MENS room? we don’t live in a tolerant society. there are plenty of places in this country where masculine-appearing women are really not physically safe, and thats not ok.

    furthermore, hetero men aren’t allowed in the women’s bathroom, but they are allowed in the men’s bathroom. obvious difference. if i can’t go into either one, i’m going to have to pee in the middle of the restaurant. which is not polite.

    the problem is you’re putting all of the responsibility for addressing straight people’s ‘feelings’ of discomfort on gay people. “straight people are uncomfortable, so you need to figure out a way to make them more comfortable.” that doesn’t “totally” make sense. why is the responsibility on me to fix your issue? if your solution is “dress more feminine,” thats not really “less confrontational” so much as completely stalling progress by making the issue invisible. the only way people are ever going to learn common decency is by being “confronted” with real live people who deserve it. so i’m already doing my part by living as an out gay woman in a super intolerant world. you need to meet me halfway by not asking me to disappear.

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  50. Social inertia. Society has had its customs of dress and sexual roles for centuries, if not millennia. You are choosing to defy those customs, and expecting that the rest of society will honor your desires. It’s going to take quite a bit more time, discussion, and understanding on both sides before that can happen.

    But, as you can see from many of the militant responses here, there is absolutely no progress being made toward that understanding. In fact, with the current attitudes, both sides are digging in their heels. For a minority group like the GLBT community, that is likely to be far more damaging than for the majority. So I would argue that it is in your best interests to take a more moderate tack.

    I could be wrong: maybe you need a march on Selma to make your point. But my money would be on the gentler approach.

    Of course, I’m a conservative. It’s my job to resist change. And I’m in no hurry, because I’m in no pain. But I don’t think what you’re doing now is getting the response you want.

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  51. there are plenty of places in this country where masculine-appearing women are really not physically safe, and thats not ok.

    Very true. I doubt anybody here would disagree with that.

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  52. Kaya-
    Comparing gays to blacks on any level is the oldest trick in the book, and is laughable, and quite frankly insulting to people who suffered much more for their civil rights than gays ever have.

    And it’s incredibly ignorant.

    But that’s your M.O. isn’t it? So typical. If you think for one minute the woman in this post that started all this does not look that way for the attention, and to intentionally stir up shit, than you’re either naive, or delusional.

    Gay people have a choice of how they present themselves in public, black people do not. Don’t be ridiculous.

    Asking the whole of society to accept however you want to look without any grief makes you the selfish one, and saying you’d feel unsafe at a rally with “people like me” makes you the judgmental one.

    I’d say you’re the one that makes everything about you.

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  53. Sorry Geoff, I don’t mean to torpedo your extremely rational arguments, but I think I have a point that many (not all) gay people go out of their way to be outrageous, and then complain they’re being persecuted.

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  54. I think kaya is the only reasonable visitor we’ve had thus far – I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I’d give her some consideration.

    Of all the GLBT guests we’ve had these past few days, kaya is the only one who actually read the comments and put some thought into her responses. I’m glad she came by.

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  55. Fair enough Geoff, I understand I have a hyperbolic “bull in a china shop” kind of commenting style, but that’s just me I guess.
    I think my point still stands however crudely made, which is basically, this whole thing comes down to many gay people have a persecution “victim” mentality, and on some level, really enjoy being outcasts. Not all, but many, just love “stirring the pot,” and the woman whom this post is about is most definitely one of them.

    A simple pair of earrings could have probably averted the whole situation, yet that is somehow asking too much of her personal expression.

    We all have to get along, and asking the majority to make special considerations for how you choose to dress, is childish and selfish, and shows no regard for society in general.

    I spent most of my life looking radical, I used to have dreadlocks believe it or not, and I got hassled plenty, and yeah, that’s part of the fun, but that’s the price you pay if you make a choice to look different, and I accepted that, and didn’t cry foul when people routinely mis-judged me, and I expect the same from anyone that has control over how they decide to present themselves.

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  56. “I spent most of my life looking radical, I used to have dreadlocks believe it or not, and I got hassled plenty, and yeah, that’s part of the fun, but that’s the price you pay if you make a choice to look different, and I accepted that, and didn’t cry foul when people routinely mis-judged me, and I expect the same from anyone that has control over how they decide to present themselves.”

    I think perhaps that is a very telling statement about your state of mind, BMAC. There is no evidence that she is “looking radical”. She’s not doing this for politics or to Spite the Man. If you are so unwilling to see the difference between how she decides to dress and the reasons that you decided to dress the way you did, it is no surprise that seeds are falling on sterile ground.

    It’s too bad that you find me unreasonable, Geoff. I don’t remember saying anything different than Kaya – in fact, I happen to be a big fan of hers and I was surprised and pleased when she commented here. Perhaps it is because I am not as talented a writer as she is.

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  57. I don’t remember saying anything different than Kaya

    It’s the strawmen, Nahid. You’re not addressing the arguments made here – you’re addressing arguments you’ve made up.

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  58. “ND: But you look like a guy. In the ladies’ room. All our social mores tell us that a guy in the ladies’ room is a Bad Thing. You’re a sheep in wolfskin telling the other sheep not to be nervous.”

    What other reason would it make a person nervous?

    “My argument was that that was perfectly reasonable, since there was a significant possibility that their sexual privacy was being invaded.”

    What do we call someone who invades your sexual privacy? A pervert? A molester? A rapist?

    Not to mention that your own reported experiences with men included attempted sexual assault. How, exactly, would you characterise this behaviour?

    I don’t see the straw man in my argument. It’s just what is lurking directly behind everything that is being said. This is what we are really talking about. I mean, a woman in a chicken suit wouldn’t freak out women in the restroom, whereas there’s a lot of panic around masculine-appearing women.

    So what is the reason for the discomfort? Potential sexual assault/invasion. It’s what I keep saying about if she was dressed like in a tutu, if she was in hot pants and a wig, if she was otherwise dressed in a way that could be characterised as atypical, there’d be no issue at all. Zero. Zilch. The issue exists because of the assumptions being made about her being a sexual predator. It’s the theme of this entire discussion, no matter how much we dance around it.

    I also want to disagree in the strongest way with the assertion made that Khadijah Farmer was “acting out”. There is no evidence, not the slightest accusation, that this is the case. In fact, Ms. Farmer characterised her dress as how she normally dresses, that she doesn’t go out of her way to offend people, it’s just her personal style. She’s not wearing facial hair or sideburns; there is nothing about her dress that would suggest she’s some kind of radical looking to offend nor was there anything in the news story to suggest she was wearing a codpiece or some other drag outfit.

    In fact, her clothing style is extremely conservative, covering up the majority of her skin and her hair is very plain. She is dressed quite elegantly and simply in the photograph; characterising her as some kind of social rabble-rouser appears to be wildly speculative.

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  59. What do we call someone who invades your sexual privacy? A pervert? A molester? A rapist?

    No. Those are people who assault your sexual privacy. A guy who walks in, does absolutely nothing, and then walks out, has invaded their privacy. Their privacy isn’t a matter of “safety,” it’s their right to use the facilities in an environment with no fear of intrusion by someone who might take a sexual interest in them.

    It’s just what is lurking directly behind everything that is being said.

    No, it’s really not. Not at all, actually. Not even close. In fact, sexual assault in a public restroom never once entered my mind until you brought it up. It’s such a rare and extreme case that it has little to do with the issue.

    Guys scoping me out in the locker room invaded my privacy, but there was no assault or even a threat of assault (well, except for the one guy). The unisex locker room was established with the idea that it would be sexually neutral place – the scopers violated that trust. It made me feel uncomfortable to the point of changing my schedule and finally giving up on public locker rooms.

    I had no fear for my safety. But my sexual privacy was invaded to the point of curtailing my lifestyle.

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  60. geoff – i guess at the end of the day there are two things we might just fundamentally disagree about. the first one i have hopes of changing your mind about: i totally get not wanting to have your “sexual privacy” invaded, however i think its a double-standard to only take issue with that when its a gay or trans person who’s doing the invading. straight people invade each other’s sexual privacy every day, and straight people certainly invade gay people’s sexual privacy every day, but its taken as just a personal discomfort you have to deal with rather than something you need to call security about. for example if i ride the train and i’m looking particularly gay that day, i get stared at in ways that makes me uncomfortable. should i ask that all homophobes be required to ride in a different car? discomfort is one thing, but requiring that your comfort take legal priority over someone else’s is quite another.

    the other point is just a matter of how you think social change takes place. i think the kind of incremental change you’re talking doesn’t really work, to go ahead and use another extreme example, and another example involving black people, apartheid didn’t end out of a gradual ‘learning how to love each other.’ and i don’t think it ever would have. obviously there are smaller changes that do happen on an incremental basis, but i’m not of the opinion that the type of compromise you’re talking about will ever lead to significant change.

    and finally bmac – i don’t even know why i’m bothering responding to you at this point, but how dare you. first of all, comparing black people and gay people is not a “trick.” its a comparison. and don’t you dare fucking tell me i don’t understand how much black people have suffered in this fucking country. i’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say you might be a white man, who at one time thought it was “hip” to wear dredlocks, and that made you look radical and maybe even attracted some radical chicks. and you think THAT comparison, of you with ALL of the straight, white, male privilege you’ve had your entire life, to a gay black woman wearing jeans and a button-up shirt is not “ignorant, and frankly insulting to people who have suffered far more for their civil rights” than YOU ever have? i’m frankly horrified that you don’t see how incredibly racist, sexist, homophobic, and dismissive you’re being right now.

    this is not about ‘loving to play the victim’ or ‘loving to stand out.’ as a black woman in america i don’t need gayness to make me stand out or to give me some kind of special “victim” status. i just AM gay. and as uncomfortable as that might make you, its not about you.

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  61. Kaya-
    This is one of those internet arguments that go in circles and lead to viscious name calling, and that doesn’t help anybody.

    We’ll just have to agree to dis agree, and I honestly wish you the best, and I’ll leave it at that.

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  62. I’ve been using the term “sexual privacy” to describe the desire to enjoy a sexually neutral environment at times when your own sexuality is exposed: i.e., in restrooms or locker rooms. I’ve focused on that because it’s an extremely sensitive issue, and, of course, because it was the topic of the post.

    Out on the streets, you take your chances. You would hope that people would have the rudiments of gentility so they wouldn’t stare so offensively, but sadly those standards of behavior were compromised decades ago. Most of us factor that into our dress when we go out in public: we try to wear clothes that won’t draw unwanted attention to ourselves. In that sense we’re all a bit repressed in how we present ourselves. In my case it’s probably a good thing, because I’d look like a vagrant if left completely to my own choice.

    i’m not of the opinion that the type of compromise you’re talking about will ever lead to significant change.

    Could be. Looking at race relations in this country, it took a very confrontational, abrupt approach to make things change. So maybe you do need that to kickstart the process. But I would also argue that many black leaders have persisted in the confrontational approach since that time, and that it has failed miserably. Rather than reconciling the races, it is putting more distance between them. I think there’s a time and a place for both strategies, but the GLBT has already used confrontation to the point of exhaustion.

    OTOH, California just legalized gay marriage, so maybe I’m all wet.

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  63. geoff – i do get the discomfort issue, even if i think its often unfounded, i just think there are more mature ways to handle discomfort than getting security to throw someone out of a bathroom. i also want to point out that its equally uncomfortable for gay people to be in locker rooms and bathrooms knowing that half the straight people in there are probably thinking “gross, she’s checking me out” when all you actually want to do is pee, or change your clothes. but like bmac said, we may have to agree to disagree.

    also nahid – thanks! and i didn’t think you were being confrontational or unreasonable either. you made a lot of good points that i wasnt even able to articulate, and sadly may have gotten lost in this discussion. its just easy to get misinterpreted in online forums, i think. thats why i like to practice. 🙂

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  64. i also want to point out that its equally uncomfortable for gay people to be in locker rooms and bathrooms knowing that half the straight people in there are probably thinking “gross, she’s checking me out”

    …and of course it continues to be uncomfortable when the straight people are worried that the gay people will think that the straight people are worried that the gay people might be checking them out…

    i didn’t think you were being confrontational or unreasonable either

    Were it not for his continuing insistence on bringing up the sexual assault strawman, I wouldn’t have had a problem with Nahid’s comments, either.

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  65. “Were it not for his [sic] continuing insistence on bringing up the sexual assault strawman, I wouldn’t have had a problem with Nahid’s comments, either.”

    Girl <==

    I still say it’s no straw man. Sexual intrusion is the name of the game here.

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  66. Girl <==

    Sorry about that. I now recall that you mentioned it earlier.

    Sexual intrusion is the name of the game here.

    There’s a big difference between creating an uncomfortable working environment by telling lewd stories, and rape. The office worker who is discomfited by those stories isn’t at all concerned with assault, she just feels uncomfortable.

    If I were to apply your argument to kaya’s point about getting stared at on the train, it would come out like, “That’s ridiculous – why should you be afraid? Were you afraid they’d rape or assault you? What a gross generalization! Not all heteros are rapists or violent, you know!”

    As you can see, it transforms the tone of the complaint and remedies completely.

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  67. well actually i’d argue that Nahid is right about sexual violence being an underlying concern. if you applied it to my comment about being on the train, i wouldn’t say thats a gross generalization. if i someone is like, talking shit about me on the train, i’m not so much uncomfortable as i am pissed off. but if someone is creepily staring at me, i’m uncomfortable. and i’m sure part of the reason for that is that i don’t really know what they’re going to do next. most gay-bashings start with a stare, and escalate. its kind of scary. honestly, if i’m on the train and someone looks like they really have a problem with me, i have an exit strategy planned in my head. i think the point is that the reason i have that exit strategy is that the other person is exhibiting signs of hostility, whereas in the case of a masculine-looking woman entering a bathroom, she wasn’t even looking at the other woman at all – there would not have been an interaction if the other woman hadn’t forced one. so the fear on the part of the straight woman is a tad more irrational. and i think we’re all entitled to our irrational fears, but we keep them to ourselves, we don’t use them to police other people’s behavior.

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  68. whereas in the case of a masculine-looking woman entering a bathroom, she wasn’t even looking at the other woman at all

    The other woman thought she was a man, and didn’t believe Ms. Farmer’s protestations, so she thought a taboo was being broken. She didn’t do anything wrong. The bouncer was the one in error.

    f someone is creepily staring at me, i’m uncomfortable

    Well ‘creepy staring’ is inherently aggressive, regardless of your gender, though it may be in the eye of the beholder. Again, we all suffer from jerks like that. But I’m not talking about people who are threatening, I’m talking about people who turn away from you, curious people who try to look at you surreptitiously, people who cross the street to avoid you or shift away from you on the train, people who gossip about you: generally people who make you feel unwelcome and uncomfortable, but don’t pose any threat.

    So if I put my Nahid hat on, I’d start in with: “Why are you so afraid of being attacked by these people who are perfectly harmless? Are you accusing all hetero people of being muggers? You’re just a heterophobe living in the dark ages.”

    I’ll give up at this point. If you all don’t see the difference after all this, it’s never gonna happen.

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  69. Good grief 10,000 words later:

    This ain’t brain surgery folks.

    If you look like a dude (because you consciously dress like one, and wear your hair like one) and you enter a public ladies room, you will startle the ladies.

    It will not be their fault. It will be your fault.

    End of story.

    All it takes is allowing yourself to think for a few scant seconds that the world doesn’t revolve around you.

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  70. All it takes is allowing yourself to think for a few scant seconds that the world doesn’t revolve around you.

    Good grief, I didn’t want to get sucked into this again, but I’m amazed at how little of this entire conversation seems to have sunk in.

    Do you make all your decisions about what to wear, how to dress and what makes you feel comfortable in your own skin, based on what other people might or might not think, and how they might or might not feel? No, of course not.

    It just so happens that what might be comfortable for you (maybe a skirt, maybe a blouse, maybe jeans, whatever) might be more conventionally tied to “looking feminine.” That doesn’t make it more “right” and it doesn’t give you the right to force other people to dress in a way that would make them uncomfortable so you won’t have to question your assumptions.

    Ms. Farmer obviously is not comfortable in girly clothes. Personally, I’m not comfortable in masculine clothes – or hot pants, or short-shorts, or overalls, or culottes. Or Uggs. Or ugly stirrup pants. Why? I just don’t like wearing those clothes. They aren’t comfortable, don’t flatter me or my body, and make me feel uncomfortable when I wear them. If someone told me that refusing to wear these clothes meant I somehow thought the “world revolved around me,” I would think that was ridiculous. And I’m sure you would too.

    Ms. Famer is neatly and cleanly dressed, in clothing that she feels comfortable in. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand, or why you are so intent on dictating to other people how they should dress and act.

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  71. I have no interest in ‘dictating’ to other people how they should act or dress.

    THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS:

    If they look like the wrong sex in a public rest room, they are going to catch some grief….and it will be their own damn fault.

    @#$%^&1!!!

    Doesn’t common sense, and common courtesy matter for some people, anymore?

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  72. Doesn’t common sense, and common courtesy matter for some people, anymore?

    Yes, common courtesy would have been for the bouncer to treat Ms. Farmer with respect. The fact that he didn’t is what led to this lawsuit.

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  73. No argument there, except to say as I did in my post, (without being privvy to court proceedings) he evidentally thought he was dealing with a perv, and just wanted her out.

    But like I said…he made a costly mistake.

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  74. it doesn’t give you the right to force other people to dress in a way that would make them uncomfortable so you won’t have to question your assumptions.

    That’s the one-sided view that I find completely reprehensible. It makes me much less sympathetic to the GLBT cause.

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  75. “the GLBT cause.”

    I have no idea that there was one GLBT cause. I’m impressed that we are so well-organized. I had no idea. Oh wait, perhaps by “cause,” you are referring to the right to be treated with respect and dignity, as fellow human beings. I can see how that could be hard to get behind.

    Also, I think “siiigh” was referring to the disrespectful treatment that the bouncer gave Ms. Farmer AFTER she produced ID proving she was NOT “a perv.”

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  76. perhaps by “cause,” you are referring to the right to be treated with respect and dignity, as fellow human beings

    Another strawman. Perhaps there is no single “GLBT cause,” but there is a single GLBT mode of argument: throw up an absurd distortion of the issues and attack it.

    Also, I think “siiigh” was referring to the disrespectful treatment that the bouncer gave Ms. Farmer AFTER she produced ID proving she was NOT “a perv.”

    That’s not the way I read it – it appeared to be a much more general statement of values.

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  77. Pingback: Complaint about the women’s restroom « Unfiltered: The Real Dirt Inside Men’s Minds

  78. Pingback: Employment Non-Discrimination Act Makes as Little Sense as Chemotherapy for a Cold

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