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August 4, 2008 | by  | in Features |
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Transgengered Toilets: Why does it hurt when I pee?

It is amazing the people you meet in toilets. People go to toilets for so many different reasons. They might be nervous. They might be angry. They might be full of shit.

I’m quite discerning about my toilets. I don’t go to them if there are holes in the walls between cubicles. I don’t go to them if they’re smelly, or dirty, or you have to squat down. Yeah, I’m a toilet diva. I’ve had it up to here with toilets. I bet you never thought so much about toilets in your life! But some people have to think quite a bit. Because no matter who you are, there are some toilets you’re not supposed to use. And I’m sick of it. There are never holes in the walls in women’s toilets. They’re always cleaner. They always smell much better. And you only have to crouch down in, like, Malaysia.

Why can’t I use women’s toilets?! Well actually, sometimes I do. That’s how I know they’re so much better. Still, to avoid being labelled a pervert, I usually, and always reluctantly, choose the darker path to excrement: with the rest of the boys. Sigh, the grass is always greener. It’s much harder for some people though. Some people don’t know which way to go. Or, they might know which way, only everyone else might not agree with them. I would hate to be in that position, to be expected to align yourself with a sex that does not align with your own.

I imagine transgendered life must be difficult. I don’t know why you’d choose to be transgendered. Oh yeah, I forgot! You don’t! At birth youíre assigned a gender based on your genitals and you’re expected to roll with it for the rest of your life. Even when they don’t know what to make of your genitals, they attempt to figure it out for you. Toilets are some of the only public spaces that are rigidly gendered. You just don’t go into the other genderís toilets. Toilets are a place of privacy from the other gender. But why? Is it because if boys catch a whiff of vag they’ll go primal and act like predators on all the poor little girls? It’s so patriarchal, and offensive how women are always seen as victims, passive to the will of men. And the assumption that all men just want to have sex with women constantly, even when they’re doing a dump, is not only offensive to gay people, but it perpetuates that belief.

There would be less rape in the world if there wasn’t so much institutionalised distance between men and women. It’s not just about sex, it’s about power. And all gendered spaces, not only toilets, serve to exclude women and men from that area. Power means access. When a woman goes into a men’s toilet, she is seen as sexually aggressive (in a sexy way), but when a man goes into a women’s toilet, he is seen as sexually predatory. These gendered spaces uphold this kind of thinking.

Why do institutions have to know about what gender you are? Furthermore, why do you have to choose one gender? Victoria University requires that you give your gender on enrolment. But what does it use it for? Even though there are more women than men at this university, they’re not building any more women’s toilets. I believe we all need to think a bit more about why gender data is collected, because I’m sceptical that it actually matters most of the time. I’m not saying ëclap-your-handsgender- reassignment!!!í. But it might help to be knowledgeable of the sensitivities around gender, and that it’s not that clear cut for everybody. Oops, M to F pun! Androgyny is so hot right now anyway. Why not test the waters of someone else’s toilet? Make a splash!

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  1. Dunedin Hussy says:

    new zealand bars are, by law, required to have separated mens and womens toilets. why? because it naturally becomes a safer place when a predatory man who follows a woman into the toilet can be more visibly doing so. but even that’s an assumption that there are more men who rape women than there are same-sex rape i guess.

    you win some, you lose some. maybe large institutions, like victoria university should add a transgendered tick box. then use the numbers to gauge how many toilets they should designate to those individuals. but then again you did say they don’t even use those stats to women’s toileting advantage, anyways, so scrap that idea.

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