“When a man says no in this culture, it’s the end of the discussion. When a woman says no, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.” — Gavin De Becker, author of “The Gift of Fear”
Many transwomen are afraid or unwilling to use men’s restrooms. As a result, they are pushing for the power to use women’s restrooms. In response, many women have asked, quite sincerely, “But wouldn’t this allow sexual predators in women’s clothing to enter the ladies’ rooms unsuspected?”
Before I go farther, let me make myself excessively clear: this article won’t propose a solution that will satisfy all sides of the debate or anticipate all possible scenarios, nor argue whether transwomen are women. I’ve already seen where those debates go (nowhere). I also am not writing this to change your mind; in fact, I fully expect your mind to stay rigidly where it is, as this topic tends to be polarizing.
I am writing this to highlight a somewhat amusing — but more disheartening — hypocrisy I see coming from the trans-allied feminists involved in this debate.
Rape Culture Doublethink
Liberal feminists tend to fancy themselves, like, totally Conscious or whatever. They know rape culture is a thing, and they are against it. Well, they claim to be. But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Their behavior in the transgender bathroom debate is no exception.
These “feminists” will acknowledge the majority of rapes are never reported, but then cite the lack of news coverage of assaults by transwomen in bathrooms as evidence that transwomen supposedly never rape anyone.
These “feminists” get irritated if someone derails a conversation about gendered violence with “Not all men are violent!” and will deal the infamous M&M argument in response. That is, until the hypothetical assailant is a transwoman. Then suddenly, the M&M argument does not apply and how dare you suggest a transwoman would ever rape anyone?! #NotAllTranswomen!
These “feminists” will gladly take to Tumblr to accuse celebrities like Jared Leto of rape without requiring proof, but will actively ignore the growing number of women reporting they were raped by transwomen, as well as the growing number of news stories of some transwomen behaving like predators in public restrooms and dressing rooms. In fact, trans-ally feminists will even shift the goalposts by deciding any transwoman convicted of rape was actually a cross-dressing cisgender man all along, and therefore irrelevant to the discussion. (See also: Retroactive No True Scotsman fallacy.)
These “feminists” take it mighty seriously when feminist commentator Anita Sarkeesian gets threatened online to the point where she has to leave her home and cancel an event. But when transwomen make nonstop open threats to batter, rape, and kill women who don’t share their worldview, those same “feminists” turn a blind eye — or worse, join in with threats of their own.
Finally, these “feminists” will wax poetic about how we should always respect people’s triggers. But let’s look at the high-profile case of Lila Perry, a transgirl who refused to use a private locker room and instead demanded access to the female one, causing 100 girls to walk out of school in protest. Perry’s response? “They are claiming that they’re uncomfortable. I don’t believe for a second that they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry.”
Only in a rape culture can Perry so easily dismiss the genuine fear of 100 young girls. And only in a rape culture will “feminists” take Perry’s side, writing that Perry’s classmates “should be ashamed of themselves” for being triggered.
Power at Play
Trans activists are known to punish anyone who disagrees with their concept of gender. They’ve created a political climate comparable to McCarthyism. On top of that, most of the debate seems to be happening online, on social media. As we all know, when females dare to opine on the Web, we are more likely than men to be harassed for doing so.
Now add all of that to the trauma of being a rape survivor, living in a rape culture where your trauma is constantly belittled, dismissed, ignored, and triggered, and you’ve got one hell of a rigged “discussion.” On one side of the “discussion,” we have transwomen: a group that has an incredibly powerful, wealthy lobby with vocal allies supporting them. On the other side, we have female rape victims: a group that is triply afraid to express themselves, and barely heard when they do.
In case that wasn’t clear enough, I’ll say it this way: This is not a fair discussion. It’s hardly a discussion at all. It’s more like one side screaming at the other side, when the other side is already curled up in the fetal position, quiet and crying, scared to provoke more wrath.
It’s very clear that trans-ally feminists have no sympathy for female sex assault survivors, even when they claim they understand and care about our pain. This quote from Katha Pollitt’s pro-trans op-ed succinctly sums up the hypocrisy: “I’m immensely sympathetic to the fears of traumatized women, but fear can’t have the last word.” But see, that’s the trick: fear is getting the last word. Transwomen’s fear, that is. Women’s fear of getting raped, on the other hand? Our fear comes second, if at all.
The message is that we’re silly, confused little girls who need our reality explained to us. That their feelings are more important than ours. That we must empathize with their struggle but quit bitching about our own. That we are wrong — in fact, bigots — for fearing rape. If we proceed with caution, we’re misandrists — whoops, I mean transphobes. If we complain, we’re being hysterical.
When they tell us “Don’t worry about it,” they don’t see how brushing women’s fears off as mere “trans bathroom panic” is no different than Return of Kings mocking feminists for having Rape Tourette’s.
If you ever wondered what rape culture looks like, this is it. And if you ever wondered how feminist you truly are about challenging that rape culture, then I suggest you start by honestly evaluating your own response to female rape survivors who dare participate in the transgender bathroom debate.