I have changed my mind on many things in the last two years. Before, I thought I knew some issues, but it turned out I didn’t. Two years ago, I had no problem with any person identifying as trans using a changing room for example in a gym. However, the more I have thought about others, the more my mind has changed.
I have known several people who have transitioned, and I based my thinking on them. I also thought about the fact many trans people are survivors of childhood sexual or physical abuse, so I was very much in the camp of thinking of trans people as victims. My thinking was flawed.
What has also changed is the widening of self ID. More and more people “identify” as the opposite sex or no sex or both sexes but do not transition. Fewer transwomen are now having full surgery and very few transmen have full surgery.
I have friends who had surgeries. I know these people to be sweet and kind people, some even more conservative with a small c than me. I knew these people were good. I did not think about others.
I have moved temporarily from a small English town to a city. The city is very multicultural. The gym I go to in the city is huge. The women’s changing room alone is bigger than the gym itself in the small town. In the women’s changing room are women of all ages, races, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, everything. We have obese women, we have women with deformities and disabilities. Many walk around naked. These women have been going to this gym for many years. They see their friends there. There is a sense of trust. Introducing someone with a male body into that changing room would completely change the balance the women there have worked on and reached over years. If someone with a male body began using this space, I know many women would stop using the gym. Their cultural or religious background or their feelings over their obesity or deformity would mean they would not be able to or would not feel comfortable using the facilities any longer.
My gym in the small town is multicultural but mostly white. Most of the men who use the gym and men’s changing room are wonderful men, who are married or have longterm girlfriends. They walk around naked and they have friendships and trust with each other that they have built up over years. If someone with a female body walked into this changing room, the guys would assume the person had walked in by mistake. They would be kind, but gently tell the person they were in the wrong changing room and ask them to leave.
In the USA, a school girl who competes in swimming competitions, meaning she has very quick changes in which she must be naked while quickly changing from one swimming costume to another, tried to stop her school from allowing students who identified as transwomen from using the changing facilities. She lost her case. The one trans student was triumphant and cheering. The swimmer was left crying and distressed. Pro trans activists ridiculed this girl, saying she has a problem with “cisgender men”. Maybe she has. And she has the right to have her feelings. I personally thought she came across as a sweet and intelligent girl who simply wanted her boundaries respected by her school. She has the right to have her personal boundaries – the very personal boundaries that schools have been teaching girls to have for decades.
Again, I return to the fact that trans people are encouraged by the trans charities and pro trans movements to think solely of themselves. Their rights matter. Everyone must change to accommodate them. It’s a selfish way of living.
We also have to think about where people are in their transition. At the start of a transition, a person will look a lot like their birth sex. This will especially affect schools and young people’s sports. The boys will still have a fully functioning penis. This means erections will happen as part of nature, jostling of the body during sporting activity and, yes, attraction.
Self ID would mean more people with no physical changes to their body could use the facilities of the opposite sex.
There are many reasons why for thousands of years, there has been segregations between the sexes. I would be OK with any of my friends changing next to me, but Michelle from the market who is about to do a zumba class doesn’t know my friends and so would probably not feel comfortable. Just like when I had gender dysphoria and wanted to be around my male friends rather than female friends in most situations including sleeping spaces, they did put some restrictions in place because they needed their space and their emotional comfort. They didn’t want me around when they had their early morning erections. At the time, I did not understand why I couldn’t sleep in the same dormitories as my male friends who preferred men’s bodies because I simply was not thinking on any level deeper than I wanted to spend time with my friends, but now I do understand.
Some people point to the fact LGB people use changing rooms, so why not trans folk?
As a bisexual person, when I am in a changing room, I am very aware that there are women changing or walking around naked, and I do certain things to ensure I make no one feel uncomfortable or perved on, and I make sure there can be no way a woman can be inappropriate with me in a changing room.
First, I keep my eyes to the floor. Second, I am careful about conversations I have in changing areas, the topic of conversation and again I make sure my eyes are looking at the floor if the woman I am talking with is changing. Third, if there is a woman who has behaved oddly towards me in any way, I do not use a changing room with her unless there is at least one other person there. I only change clothes. I never shower in gyms, simply because I prefer my privacy and I prefer a bath to a shower.
Two of my male friends who are gay do not use the changing facilities at all. They change and shower at home.
What would help is cubicles. I don’t do full changes in front of others, so I use the toilet cubicles. Having a number of changing cubicles in gym changing rooms would be beneficial to people of different backgrounds who need different levels of privacy. It would also give people transitioning their privacy instead of the risk of being stared at in a changing room. Many people transitioning feel uncomfortable with their body, so again changing cubicles would be helpful.
There are reasons why there has been separation between the sexes for thousands of years in every culture and country. Some of it has been paranoid, agreed, but some of it has been for good reasons. We need to listen to human history. We also need to listen to others.
If we believe all people are equal, then that means all people’s feelings about their personal boundaries are valid. A lot of pro trans rhetoric is self centred and encourages selfishness and even aggression. When we live in society, we need to compromise. We all give up small parts of ourselves when we leave our homes and interact with the world. We might tone down our language or tone down a dress sense so that other people will react positively towards us. When we live as equals with others in society, we make compromises so that we get along with others. When it comes to sharing changing rooms, sleeping spaces and even rape crisis centres, we need to be aware of the needs of others, and be prepared to understand others, appreciate others and do our best to honour the feelings and personal needs of others.
Who wants to be known as a selfish type?