Wimmin Only Spaces

There has been this strange canard regarding transsexuals and 24/7 transgender as well as the occasional transvestite invading women’s only spaces ever since I came out in 1969.  I know for a fact that it existed a long time before that.

Now these WOS tend to vary but the ones most right winger Taliban Christian people whip out in horror is the women’s rest room.  But lately the changing rooms and gym lockers have gotten big airplay.

When lesbians speak of WOS they tend to mean that annual lesbian folk festival in the woods of Michigan.

Before I came out I was terrified of using the men’s room.  I had some teenage boys attack me when I was 12 or 13 and beat me up for having the audacity to us the rest room at a theater and so I was afraid of being physically beaten just for the assumption I was gay.  Later in my teen years I was  this pretty little teen queen and I couldn’t use the men’s room because half the time I went into one some guy would hit on me.  Tearoom sex was sooo not my thing.  Besides I was afraid of the vice pigs who troll the restrooms looking for hapless gay men to jack up and arrest.

From the first time I went out as a girl using the women’s room was such a relief.  But then I fit in, matched expectations for a person using the women’s room. For many of us though achieving that fitting in takes far more effort than it took me.

I as a pre-op occasionally tried on clothes in communal fitting rooms.  I kept my panties on.  YMMV.

Last night I watched a DVD about The Wobblies, Industrial Workers of the World an early 20th century union movement and I was struck by how the rich elite bosses of their time used the same basic arguments against workers striking for an 8 hour day as they use against the employee free choice act.

The right wing Conservatives and Taliban Religious only have a few arguments that they use over and over again.  I’d be willing to bet they used the rest room argument against the early feminists in the Suffrage Movement.  I know for a fact that the ugly neo-Nazi harridan Phyllis Schlafly used it against passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. “Oh women will have to use the same rest rooms as men.”  “Lions and tigers and bears and transsexual rapists, oh my!”

It is all such bullshit.  Way back in 1969 Dr Lieberman at the Center for Special Problems gave me a card to carry that said I was in treatment for transsexualism.  With all the freaking requirements for screening they have now days how hard would it be to issue an equivalent sort of card?

Our biggest problem is that we aren’t really a class.  Rather we are more a bunch of individuals of widely varying appearances who enter into this process and our individual level of acceptance as well as the speed with which we amass that acceptance varies.  And it tends to be based on one of the most unfair of all factors by which people are judged, appearance.

Now working in a large mass retail environment can be a very enlightening experience.  Humans both men and women vary a lot in appearance.  Real life ain’t like TV or the movies.  There are some very odd looking folks out there.  Realization of this can go a long was in adjusting values of appearance based judgment up or down.

This brings us to the freaking MWMF.  I honestly always found it rather elitist and back in the 1970s I had every record that every single lesbian folk singer recorded on Olivia Record and records by some who recorded on other labels.  I even went to concerts by many of them in Los Angeles.  But I never had the money to travel to Michigan, nor much inclination to spend an outrageous amount of money for tickets to sleep on the ground.

As for meeting lesbians I had the Women’s Building, the Palms and Venice Beach.

This brings us to WBW or Women Born Women.  In the words of Simone de Beauvoir, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.”  Women Born Female would be more appropriate.  For those who have compared WBT to WBW… WBT is more women born with transsexualism and is more analogous to women born female in that both take into account the process of becoming.

I found it rather ironic that on the MWMF list back when the whole shit storm was happening it came out that one of the most vehement anti-trans women was in fact a WBT.  Some of us seem to think being the first one to cast a stone at other sisters is a way to gain acceptance and avoid suspicion.

But I think honesty and earnestness count for more.  There were actually a lot of us who were second wave feminists and very few of us were trashed.  But those who were trashed are the stories that get remembered.

Now days Julia Serano is actually accepted on a level that may well create envy on the part of other sisters.  She has talent, is creative and cute.  She is also brilliant and accepted in feminist circles. Damn the only thing I can fault her on is the annoying use of cis-sexual and cis-gender.

Do any of you think anyone other than an ultra right wing Taliban Christer would challenge her right to use the women’s room.  And I’ll bet she would be welcome at the MWMF too.

2 Responses to “Wimmin Only Spaces”

  1. Suzy CC Says:

    When is an Apple an Apple, and when is it an Orange?

    Suzan you raise very valid points, most of which I agree with whole heartedly, still, at the risk of being branded yet again as another of those darn HBS elitists for what I am about to say, say it I must. There seems to be an unspoken assumption in your essay that the persons being excluded from woman’s space are only WBT. Were that the case this would be a very different conversation but we cannot ignore the fact that those who are not WBW or WBT have indeed tried to slide into woman’s space on our coat tails

    Once upon a time it was assumed when you began transition it was with the sole goal to complete transition and assimilate as quickly as possible. I personally know the woman who was the first to address the issue of getting F on her driver’s license with the Colorado DMV. She was still in transition and while still retaining the old equipment for a while longer she desperately needed a license that reflected the real woman she was becoming.

    She made an appointment with the commissioner of the DMV and dressed appropriately in a professional business suit, she laid out her need for an ID that reflected the female she was She made her case well and as the person before him was obviously at female and her medical issue was being addressed there was no reason they should not assist her. There was no precedent before her visit that day, so by executive fiat he set one. My friend left with her new drivers license and for years after her so too did many other women in transition

    The reason I go there now is that once the precedent was set it was no longer an issue. Women on the path to correction were able to get that all important F on their drivers license even before their surgery, until one day a pair of TG swinging dicks used their “F ”drivers licenses to avoid arrest when they decided it was their RIGHT to use the communal showers in a woman’s locker room. “Sorry officer you can’t arrest us we’re women too! Needless to say it is now impossible for a WBT to get a corrected drivers license in the state of Colorado until after surgery..

    I put it back the question back to you to you Suzan in pretty much the way you left it. Would it even be an issue of WBT not only entered women’s space but being welcomed with open arms if they did it as women? My guess is no it would not… Were it not for the Mr/Ms Garrisons of the world and their insistence that they too have every right to woman’s space no matter how male they are.

    Warning this is a rather grotesque parody and VERY offensive, but offensive or not, sadly I have met far far more of his ilk than I’ve ever met of the real deal


    With that I rest my case.
    Suzy CC

  2. Suzan Says:

    I think you missed a lot of the Your Mileage May Vary on all this.
    I also included things like the treatment carry card.

    I personally look at a lot of these “restrictive laws” and if there is even one Republi-Nazi or one Taliban christer pushing them I am against them.

    Admittedly an arbitrary point of view but I have never met a fundie Christer or a Republican who has ever once had my best interests at heart.

    Along with Taliban Christers you can include Taliban Jews and Muslums too.

    I keep hearing these anecdotes but with very little evidence of them actually happening. But rather than forcing such people to use the men’s room wouldn’t it be better to force the business to accommodate the way they are required to provide handicapped access.

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