Transwoman using women's loos at work

(1000 Posts)
CharlieSierra Fri 16-Sep-16 20:20:11

I've posted a bit about this over the past few days on the MN response to Spartacus thread in site stuff, but someone suggested I start a new thread about it here.

Earlier this week I was surprised to encounter an apparently male person in the women's loos at work. I understand from a colleague that they have just started the transitioning process, and it appears from all the research I have done that there is no way to avoid them invading our space. It would be discriminatory to prevent them.
We also have showers, presumably the same applies. I plan to take it up with HR, since none of the women in the building were told this could happen, but I haven't managed to speak to anyone about it yet.
I feel angry, powerless, silenced. It's obvious using the next cubicle that they use the toilet as a man would. We will have to adapt our behaviour, hide any discomfort so as not to make them feel uncomfortable. There are unisex accessible loos on every floor, but no, they want to be in ours. sad

WinchesterWoman Fri 16-Sep-16 22:35:59

Hi I saw this on the other thread. Since MN opened my eyes to this I have wondered how I would manage this at work myself. One of the problems is that in my place of work (extremely high traffic loos at all times!) it's highly unlikely a sexual assault could take place, so the bosses could easily say 'well what are you worried about, don't you trust your colleagues.' But I think it's the thin end of the wedge. What if one was suddenly in the showers we have for people who've run or cycled to work? If there's precedent with the loos, the bosses will point to that as breaking the precedent. Then once people accept them in work loos, where the users are less likely to be strangers, we'd be expected to accept men in loos everywhere - when they are more likely to be strangers.

Have you spoken to any other women at your place about this or are you too afraid to bring up the subject?

CharlieSierra Fri 16-Sep-16 23:01:06

I have only spoken to my assistant, who told me that she had heard something about the person changing their name. She is a bit cagey about her beliefs, she expresses some strongly feminist opinions but she's a single mother to one young adult son and on occasion I've heard her be a bit NAMALT. She isn't happy about this but I don't think she's a militant as me on the subject. I am afraid to bring it up generally, but just as soon as I get the opportunity I will take the head of ER to task about it.

I don't honestly fear a sexual assault, it really isn't that. It just isn't comfortable knowing there is a man in there, whatever clothing they choose to wear. Women have a right to know that this is going to happen. As you say, what about the showers; women cycle, and run at lunch time. It's so so wrong that they are in this position. And the answer will be, what's the issue, they are a woman. I feel powerless.

IhatchedaSnorlax Fri 16-Sep-16 23:08:27

The problem is that if you say anything,you're likely to be labelled as homophobic which is just wrong.

I hope HR support you, but I've a feeling they won't.

PartyRat Fri 16-Sep-16 23:08:44

Aside from shower room as I can see why people may be uncomfortable if there was an open changing area etc, what are your concerns with the toilet situation? Everyone will be in separate cubicles when doing their business, so at most you might have to share a sink with them when washing your hands? People seem to manage that easily enough in a kitchen so not sure why it's an issue in a bathroom?

CharlieSierra Fri 16-Sep-16 23:18:49

PartyRat the cubicles don't have walls and doors all the way to the floor, they aren't that private and it just feels wrong. It will take some getting used to. I wouldn't necessarily go into a cubicle to e.g. change my laddered tights, or half undress to mop up a spill in an exclusively women's space, now I would need to adapt my behaviour. I also object on principle.

Lorelei76 Fri 16-Sep-16 23:27:34

You're basically saying that someone with a penis is using the ladies, have I got that right?
I'm not sure where the law is on this one but I would point out that you have different loos and while they might officially be named ladies and gents, in reality that means penis or vagina.

I would argue that it's sex discrimation against women by not prvidng them an option of their own loos.

KateInKorea Fri 16-Sep-16 23:28:06

Are they legally a woman? Or just a declared one? Could you "identify" as a man and randomly go in there whilst using the unisex one?

Could you complain that he was in there since HR haven't said there has been a change, and then ask them to explain the policy for which toilets must be used and whether all the legal men have free access to the women's toilets. Ask them to explain why toilets were previously segregated by physical sex, and on what basis is there a requirement to now segregate on issue of a personal identity that is separate from physical sex.

Obviously if the person is now legally female you're going nowhere with this.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Fri 16-Sep-16 23:29:51

You change your tights in the washbasin area of the toliets?

As party rat says they are all separate cubicles. Sharing sinks isn't much of an issue.

PartyRat Fri 16-Sep-16 23:33:39

Ah see maybe we're coming at it from different angles then as I would still go in to the cubicle for both of those examples, just because I wouldn't want anyone walking in on me regardless of current anatomy!

Without being goady, do you still think you will feel uncomfortable when they are post op?

I think the individual will probably feel more uncomfortable than anyone in this situation, but using the ladies seems to be less awkward than having to continue with the gents but potentially be in there wearing a skirt/dress - I dread to think the reaction that would get from other people using the gents at the same time. There's also the issue of not being able to use a urinal comfortably in ladies clothes so having to wait a cubicle which could be occupied etc....I can only imagine they would want to get in and out as quickly as possible with the least attention attracted to them. I can't imagine someone is able to 'quietly' transition in the workplace. It must be very difficult.

LyndaNotLinda Fri 16-Sep-16 23:35:50

At the moment in the UK, only people who have a GRC are supposed to share facilities with people of the opposite sex. And that means they have 'lived as a wo/man for 2 years'. I assume as this person hasn't actually done that, they are not legally recognised as a woman and therefore should be treated the same as a man using the loos.

Standing up to piss in women's toilets is fucking horrible

Lorelei76 Fri 16-Sep-16 23:38:35

Party, Iadies clothing?!

Actually they could just use a urinal if they had a skirt on but boxers or whatever.

OP the protected characteristics do include sex as well as transitioning. I would go along that route. We have both unisex and sex dvided loos at work.

Bambambini Fri 16-Sep-16 23:45:12

I'd feel uncomfortable too OP. Don't think i'd like a male colleague to be in the next cubicle listening to me peeing, crapping, farting, wiping my arse, changing my moon cup and getting a sniff too and then we can wash hands at the sink togethet and share a knowing smile. Hell, it's bad enough when the othet users are women.

Apparently your comfort doesn't matter. It makes me angry that men don't care about the women who use these facilities and how they might ferl about it.

CharlieSierra Fri 16-Sep-16 23:48:51

Standing up to piss in women's toilets is fucking horrible

I think so too, but seemingly others think I'm over sensitive.

You change your tights in the washbasin area of the toilets

I might do a quick change in an exclusively female environment if I was in a hurry and there was a queue. Or I might hold my blouse under the hand dryer in case of spillage.

They are at the start of the process, not the end, so no GRC I believe. My research indicated this wasn't relevant though.

VashtaNerada Fri 16-Sep-16 23:50:40

Transwomen have been using female toilets and transmen have been using male toilets for decades (probably more). Ive shared toilets with transwomen in previous jobs and never minded in the slightest - I've also worked somewhere with unisex loos and although it was strange at first it soon became normal. I'm not sure where someone wees is really that big a deal.

ExitPursuedBySpartacus Fri 16-Sep-16 23:54:44

What Bambam said.

The wedge is getting thinner and thinner.

Bambambini Fri 16-Sep-16 23:57:41

I've used unisex loos and showers in the past. Had men crowding round me to watch me brush my teeth and could see the guy in the next showers arse through the shower curtain gap. I know i'm weird but i prefer female only if i have the choice.

CharlieSierra Sat 17-Sep-16 00:00:57

I can't imagine someone is able to 'quietly' transition in the workplace. It must be very difficult

Going straight into the women's facilities the first day they wear 'ladies clothes' hmm to work doesn't really indicate a desire to 'quietly' go about it to me. If they wanted to attract the least possible attention during their transition they would use the unisex loos.

Nutfreepeanutter Sat 17-Sep-16 00:03:11

Really, would you be uncomfortable if in a public bathroom a father brought their daughter in to the ladies.

Some trans women are extremely passable to the point you've possibly even been in the same loo as many before without realising.

Would you willingly whack your tights off at the sink or half strip off if you had lesbian co workers or are they not a problem?

Your colleague might fancy men not women so wouldn't care about you showing your knickers.

I'm concerned how anyone knows if they stand or sit, are you the ones peaking under/over doors. I don't care who I'm in a bathroom with as long as they aren't trying to sit on my knee or climb the cubicle walls.

Has anyone ever thought how you'd be "checked" to use the correct bathroom in the real world.. fancy flashing your bits if you were questioned.

I do get the showers part more if there's an open space but it's not likely you'd need to shower at work

KateInKorea Sat 17-Sep-16 00:09:26

I think the individual will probably feel more uncomfortable than anyone in this situation

On what basis do you hold that opinion?

but using the ladies seems to be less awkward than having to continue with the gents for whom?

I dread to think the reaction that would get from other people using the gents at the same time why would the other men do something dreadful to their colleague, it minimises and validates male violence against Trans people. If it is only done by men then shouldn't the ladies be equally afraid of this person? Being Trans doesn't lower the likelihood of a male being a violent person. Or doesn't that matter to you if their only potential victims are female?

hummingbirdhostage Sat 17-Sep-16 00:12:48

I might feel uncomfortable but only because I am not used to it. I would willingly sacrifice being uncomfortable for a short time if it meant someone transitioning felt able to use the facilities that best suited them. I reckon they have enough to cope with without me being testy about it. As long as there are cubicles and I'm not needing to see people use urinals I'm fine!

Bambambini Sat 17-Sep-16 00:16:40

I've never ever seen a father bring his daughter into the ladies.

I'm telling you i feel uncomfortable using loos and changing rooms in the presence of men. I presume you understand and accept that the Transwoman is uncomfortable using the mens - so why can't i feel uncomfortable, especially as i've been sexually assaulted and harrassed more times than i can remember.

CharlieSierra Sat 17-Sep-16 00:17:21

Normally children go in the bathroom according to the sex of the parent until they are old enough to go in on their own.

I may well have lesbian co workers, and I'm sure there are lesbian women at the gym and pool. No, I'm not bothered. They are women and I am straight. They won't jump me.

I don't care if my colleague fancies men or women, that isn't the point.

And no peeping under doors. You can quite clearly hear the difference when a bloke pisses standing up. And it's much quicker to whip your skirt up and get your cock out than to pull everything down and sit.

KateInKorea Sat 17-Sep-16 00:17:33

do you think that other women "owe" Transitioning males access? And would you expect men to and Trans men to also share, or are you happy for Trans men to stay in the ladies and are you comfortable with the message that gives about male violence?

PuertoVallarta Sat 17-Sep-16 00:23:45

This is your colleague and someone who will not be able to get away with having a perv in a place where everyone knows them. I would not push the bathroom issue. It could end very badly for you in terms of how you'll be labeled within the company. There are private stalls and it just doesn't seem like a big deal to me. If we want trans people to have negotiate safe spaces with us in good faith, we need to give up a little ground, too.

Showers are a different story. This isn't the same at all. I would leave off bringing up anything about the loos. If the person in question starts using the showers, or if you have some kind of gender awareness training like we often do at large corporations, that would be the time to bring up showers. Not beforehand and not going to HR in anticipation that it's going to be an issue before it ever is on, IYSWIM.

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