I'm not sure how I feel about this

(121 Posts)
Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:17

Our university library has recently installed a gender-neutral toilet, following requests from transgender people. I don't have a problem with that.

However, it replaces the ladies' toilet, so the toilets on one floor are 'mens' and 'women / genderless'. It feels as this reinforces that men are the default gender, and anything else is aberrant.

What do you think?

SoldMySoulToSanta Wed 05-Dec-12 14:23:08

I wouldn't have an issue with any person identfying as trans of any nature using the same loo, but thinking back to when I was at uni this would be abused my male twats students going into the ladies for a laugh. Either all gender free or better wording for clarity of who may use them

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:28:06

AliceWChild - why on earth are you suprised that those of us who aren't still at university, don't have children there or work there have no idea what the current 'student politics' are?

Dromedary - I am sure you aren't intending to be - but you are being very offensive. You are accusing male to female transgender people of being abusers (at least far more potentially likely to be) and saying no woman is ever abusive if you are unhappy to leave your child in a room with a M-F TG but not with a (strange) woman. If your children are young then either you should book a private/family room or not send them to be without you, any stranger is as likely or unlikely to abuse your child as the next.

Kim47 - I am really sorry that going about your life can be so bloody challenging sad Not everyone who isn't themselves TG or doesn't know anyone TG is that judgemental, honest. As for your walking weekend do you know the people you are going with?

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 14:30:51

LRD - so you would be quite happy to put your young daughters to sleep in a dorm with men you've never seen before in bed or getting ready for bed (no women) while you were in another part of the building?
A pre-op male to female is not a woman. They are a man leading life as a woman for a period of time to determine whether they should go ahead with the medical treatment. Does this mean that every individual has some kind of moral obligation to feel and act towards them exactly as one would do towards a woman? That is not realistic, and in certain circumstances it may not be safe.
It is silly to equate somebody feeling more at risk when sharing a room with a man, or having their daughter do so, to someone feeling more at risk with sharing a room with a child, a methodist, an upper class person, etc.
The huge majority of sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse of children is carried out by men. It is stupid not to bear that in mind and not to be a bit careful if you find yourself alone and about to go to sleep, and more so if it is a little girl, in a bedroom with a man you have never seen before.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:34:59

Don't worry, dromedary because I am more than aware of what people think and that's why I avoid such situations.

Even though most abuse happens in the home and if a man wanted to abuse a child in a hostel, it would be incredibly easy to sneak into a dorm at night.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 14:35:00

I've already told you, YHA don't let children in mixed dorms.

You are creating a fake situation and it's scaremongering.

The reason YHA won't let small children go in dorms is, as chipping says, because they can't be responsible for all the adults there (whoever they are). I would imagine most parents are happy with this since you wouldn't want your child in most mixed dorms I've ever been in - constant 'mummy, look, that lady has a hairy bottom!' cries would be the least of it.

I am aware that violence and abuse are gendered, but I think you're not half shoehorning that issue in here, when it's not relevant. God knows I disagree with kim on plenty of subjects but I think it's not on to twist that comment about a YHA when you're not even getting your facts straight. It feels awfully personal.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:36:44

My eyes have been opened to more discrimination now than I never knew existed. Situations arise that you just don't think about.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:37:54

Would you want your son staying in a dorm with other men? Because men abuse boys as well.

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 14:40:32

Alice - I think I've answered your comment, but just to make sure. Men are statistically far far more likely to sexually abuse a child than women. I agree that the chances are in favour of neither gender abusing a child on a one off visit to a youth hostel, but the risk is definitely greater from a man than a woman. Based on this I am prepared to take the tiny risk of leaving my daughter in a single sex dorm, but not to take the higher risk of leaving them alone with men who are strangers to us. That is a logical position to take. You may believe that men who are pre-op are less of a risk than men who are not going through the transgender process. I have no idea whether you are right or not, and would be very surprised if there were any statistics on this. It is also impossible to know whether such a man is genuinely transgender or not, anyway.
The youth hostel association provides single sex dorms for a reason - many people prefer to share a room with people of their own sex only. I am one of these people, at least where my children are concerned. And I can't always afford a private family room.
I'd be interested to know what the current position of the Youth Hostel Association is on this - might try to find out.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:42:53

This is reminiscent of the man sat next to a child on a plane or a man working in nursery.

n.b. It's kind of nice not to call people who are MTF transgendered men. But each to their own.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 14:46:04

www.yhagroup.org.uk/archives/childrens-rules-clarified

States clearly that children cannot go in mixed dorms without a parent (the situation you describe, dromedary).

This is from 2009, and I know the hostel I regularly stay at has a policy, which it says is YHA policy, not to allow children (under 16) into dorms at all.

I don't see why any adult would leave a child alone overnight and assume they'd be risk free.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:47:16

Kim - did you see my question earlier? (14.28)

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:48:13

LRD - I don't think she's leaving them overnight, just putting them to bed earlier than she goes to bed.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Dec-12 14:48:22

'Genuinely transgender'

Ah.

No, drom. Sorry.you are completely wrong.

There is no necessity for surgical intervention at all. Yes, there are a number of hoops to jump through if one wishes to access gender reassignment surgery. But there is no law at all that says you have to have it to be recognised as transgender.

Apols for the 'physically intact' phraseology. I was just using it as shorthand for not having undergone GRS. I do get that it might be a bit, erm, veterinary and so not a good choice, particularly wrt to the absence/ lack debate. I don't like 'pre-surgery' for the same reasons, as it implies that everyone must have surgery, and that surgery is the norm in this equation. I am now struggling for a shorthand... <not enough caffeine and it's early here...>

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 14:51:21

chipping - well, this is the point where I bow out because I don't have children, and if I comment on what I think I would do, I'll look judgy.

I do think dromedary has picked up on a detail in someone's post and gone running with it.

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 14:54:00

I go to youth hostels a lot - those in the YHA don't have mixed dorms (the bunk bed buildings may be different). Children are allowed in the dorms (all single sex) from the age of 5. They must have a same sex parent accompanying (but that person doesn't have to be in the dorm with them at all times).
I think that there would be an issue with leaving young boys alone for very long in all men dorms, and would hesitate to do that if I had a son.
Yes, a man can follow a child around, into any dorm, any family room (if unlocked), and other parts of the building, outside, in the street, etc etc etc. It is a question of where you draw the line in terms of the level of risk you are prepared to accept in not wanting to hover around your child every second of the day.
Do you think that I should be teaching my young daughters that everyone is equally harmless and to be trusted? Or that they should never trust anyone? I have told them that if they get lost they should go into a shop and speak to a female shop assistant for help. Is that morally wrong, because it discriminates against men? I have told them that some children are tempted into cars etc by adults who are usually but not always men. Is that wrong of me? I want to give them realistic advice that will make it more likely that they will keep themselves safe, without scaring them unnecessarily. This should not be about political correctness - it should be about the reality of the world that we live in.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:54:32

chipping - I know some of the people. But at the moment I can't afford to go anyway. Seeing as how I'm kind of finding it difficult to get a permanent job.

But I am uncomfortable even asking - I'd hope people would be fine. I don't even mind really going in the male dorm - but would they feel uncomfortable? And would I when I got dressed?

It's a minefield. I bet the YHA haven't even got a transgender policy and I don't know how it would be policed. I'm sure the group hasn't got a policy. But you've got to start somewhere.

I love these threads.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 14:56:18

LRD - don't bow out, there's no need to. You are just as entitled to have an opinion about what you would do if you had 2 small girls as anyone else smile

I think the thread has strayed away from the original question - but most of the best ones do!

I think that dromedary had a bad experience with one horrible person and is now unable to be rational about the situation.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 14:58:41

Thanks madwoman, saved me a post.

It is a necessary pre-condition to surgery to live as the other gender for a period of time. But not all transgender people are in preparation for surgery.

I wouldn't leave a young child in a dormitory with strange adults regardless of gender, TBH. What if said adult stole their things or swore at them or something?

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 15:01:10

dromedary this kind of thing has been debated before on here. Who do you go and see? How much of a risk are men? Would you want a male teacher in nursery?

The predominant risk of abuse is in the home. Not by a random stranger in a hostel or on a plane. There is a potential risk but pretty minute. How many children have been abused by a man when they got lost in a shopping centre?

FWIW - I work as a teacher. I even work in nursery on occasion. No one seems to be concerned or have any issues.

You would not believe how much I hate it when someone seems to link transgender and abuse on these threads. It is really upsetting. Just because I was born in male body does not make me an abuser. I want to just live my life without causing anyone any upset.

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 15:01:26

Kim - I am quite happy for my child to sit next to a man or anyone else on a plane, and am very keen on male nursery workers - male role models and all that. Similarly with transgender - not a problem at all.

By "may not be genuinely transgender" I meant that it would be quite easy for any man to claim that he is transgender when he was not, if he found it to his advantage. Very unlikely, I agree.

LRD - all I can say on the youth hostel association point is that my children and I stay at their hostels all the time, and have several times stayed in dorms (these have always been single sex, I have never come across a mixed dorm in the YHA). We have done this since the youngest was 5, the last stay in a dorm being a few weeks ago. Prior to that, had to stay in private rooms, as per the rules.

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 15:03:28

Personally if I went away with my son, I'd want a family room. Not a dorm. Just because it's easier for him to relax and be himself in without all those pesky walkers getting up at 6am for a days walking.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 05-Dec-12 15:07:39

Dromedary - It is a question of where you draw the line in terms of the level of risk you are prepared to accept in not wanting to hover around your child every second of the day Well, I draw the line at not putting the children to bed in a strange place, with strangers of any sex, in an unsecure building. They stay up later than normal & I/we go to bed earlier than normal. Not ideal when you are on holiday, but safe beats ideal. Nothing whatsoever to do with hovering around them every second of the day.

As for the rest of your post, I think you should teach your daughters that if they get lost they should look for a parent with their children or a person serving in a shop. It is simply not necessary to insist those people are female.

ithaka Wed 05-Dec-12 15:07:39

I think the issue isn't mixed dorms, as children aren't allowed in mixed dorms. Dromedary is concerned her children may be in a single sex dorm with a man transitioning to be a woman. I am not sure if that would concern me or not - I don't tend to pay much attention to other people in the dorms, but I could see it may concern someone who was vulnerable (ie abuse victim).

Anyhoo, on the issue of toilets, I definitely think unisex are the way to go. My daughter's high school has unisex toilets - individual cubicals and then the washing facilities are in an open/public space. It helps to prevent cornering and bullying in toilets/vandalism etc and seems a practical solution to any concerns about which toilet transitioning people should use.

Dromedary Wed 05-Dec-12 15:11:44

Kim - I don't feel that I am linking transgender and abuse. I accept that I am linking males and higher risk of abuse, and am linking male to female transgender to males if they have a male body. I would not feel any more concern with a transgender person than with a male. You I think feel that I should feel less concern. You may be right, but there is not much information to go on (unless you can point us in the right direction).

Again, I have no issues with males / transgender being teachers, nursery workers, etc etc. Those are environments in which there are other people, the staff are vetted, people know them, etc etc.

As a young woman I suffered plenty of sexual harassment and got into a couple of risky situations. Always men, never women, and always strangers. Bad things do happen to children and women out there - sorry to mention Jimmy Saville, but it's an easy example.

TheElfOnThePanopticon Wed 05-Dec-12 15:16:12

Strangers are strangers, and I really don't think it's appropriate to base trustworthiness on someone's genitals.

Unisex/ gender neutral toilets are a good idea, but I would be a bit pissed off if the men's loos were kept as men's for anything other than the short term.

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