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    • July 13, 2006 2:35 AM BST
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      Has anybody ever tried to work with the Vocational
      Services people here in the states?
      I just got done talking to a older counsulor(?) about
      having a eye operation and having tem trying to
      help me find a job.
      He first had to ask what a transsexual was and said
      that it would be impossible since I would need to
      use the women's restroom.
      I've had trouble with for years concering that here in
      Indiana. I would not tell any transseual to use their
      services unles she was post-op. I'm still pre-op.

      Randi
    • June 4, 2007 11:50 AM BST
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      I guess we have no special law for restrooms. I have used restrooms according the principle "least problems". I changed fully to use the ladies rooms when I got my female name, that is the RLE. But I know one ts lady who is being bullied at job by other women, not allowing her to use the ladies room.
      One funny incident happened to me once at harbour before my RLE...I came ot of the gentlemens room, externally a woman. A guy in front of me backed out in order to check if he is entering the wrong room.

      Laura

    • June 4, 2007 3:49 PM BST
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      Currently, in the US, of the 11 states, plus the District of Columbia that have enacted trans inclusive antidiscrimination laws, six of these states include public accomodations among the areas in which discrimination against transgender people is explicitly prohibited. Thes states are:

      California
      Illinois
      Iowa
      Minnesota
      New Mexico
      Rhode Island

      Six down, 44 to go.

      American trans people need to keep the pressure on our local and federal representatives until we are fully protected under the law. Write to your representatives NOW!

    • July 13, 2006 12:52 PM BST
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      My mum told me that one of the first things my dad said to her regarding my transition was “He could get arrested for going into the ladies’…”
      He was wrong. Here in the UK we are required to live the real life experience, we must present as women at all times to “prove” to the psychiatrists that we are what we say we are, so going into the men’s room would go against that. Obviously no TS wants to go into the men’s room, how embarrassing and possibly dangerous in certain places at certain times.
      It’s not actually against the law here for a man to go into the women’s toilets, though they would probably get thrown out of the establishment by the management. A man could get arrested for going into the ladies and peering under the cubicles, but of course people like me just want to go for a wee.
      In fact now in this country an establishment would be breaking the law themselves if they refused to allow a TS into the ladies’. It’s the way it should be, it’s not what’s between our legs that matters, it’s how we identify, and as we obviously have no dodgy intent when we simply need a wee, what is the problem? I’ve never met a girl yet who has had a problem with me being there, I feel pretty sure I would have got some negative reaction had I been going into the men’s all this time though!
      So what’s the situation in America? Does it depend on the state you are in, or is it down to the management’s discretion? There must be some places that allow it?
      The fact that anywhere in America has a problem with TS’s using the ladies’ restroom is shameful, and I hope this situation will improve before too long, as it has done here.
      xx
      ____________________________________
      "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."
    • July 13, 2006 5:20 PM BST
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      DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Michael Jackson was caught using that ladies room in Dubai over the weekend.

      Michael Jackson Caught Using Ladies Restroom
      Nov 15th - 12:32pm

      The Khaleej Times reports the King of Pop was touching up his makeup in a shopping mall women's bathroom when a local, identified as Latifa M., "screamed in shock and ran out" when she saw that he was a man.

      According to the paper, Latifa M. then went back into the bathroom and took pictures of Jackson with her cell phone camera. That move reportedly resulted in a dispute, as Jackson chased after her, demanding she give the pictures to him. She refused and then asked for "compensation."
      When cops arrived at the scene, the photos were "erased." One member of the Dubai Police Department said he believed that Jackson was in the ladies room by accident.

      Jackson was wearing the region's traditional women's headwear, called a "Sheila."

      ********************

      Ok, I couldn't resist leading into this with the above anecdote which includes both transgender and ladies room elements. It does show, that even in an muslim country, use of a ladies room is often dealt with at the whim of the local police.

      In fact, in most places in the United States, there is no law specifically prohibiting this use. This is not to say that many people, including police officers and particularly security guards, believe there is such a law.

      In February of this year, at NYC's Grand Central Station, a 70 yr old transgendered woman had reportedly been arrested three times in 6 months for using the ladies room. She had been abused verbally by the MTA police: "-- saying an MTA officer called her "a freak, a weirdo and the ugliest woman in the world." IN FACT: New York City guidelines say that restrooms must be available to transgender people.

      An amendment to the city human rights law that was enacted last year bans discrimination based on gender identity or expression

      Transgendered people reported: "...We spent 23 hours in jail and ultimately the charges were dropped because there was no legal basis for our arrests."

      This is in a city with laws specifically allowing them to use the ladies room.

      Now, private property is governed by the rights of the owners, and they can refuse you the right to use their "public" restrooms or to even be on their property...unless they violate your civil rights. The charge, if you refuse to comply, however, will not be "using the ladies room".

      Here is a link to a poll about men using ladies' rooms
      [url=http://www.misterpoll.com[...]51.html]http://www.misterpoll.com[...]51.html

      People's opinions vary from "Why would you care?" to "Thats just rude. I hope someone beat his grapes in. They oughta take him and tie him up by his feet and spin him around a few times till he gets dizzy and then throw their spiked heels at him." about MEN using Ladies rooms. The issue exists for dads with toddler girl children...where does he take them? To the men's room to sit on the disgusting waste sprayed seats one often sees in men's rooms? For this reason there are more and more Unisex bathrooms around or "Family restrooms".

      Now what does it mean by: "violation of a Massachusetts statute banning members of the wrong gender in restrooms"
      Does that mean that it's ok for a TG/TS MtF to use a ladies room, but not a man?

      April 2002
      The Minnesota Supreme Court's decision confirms that employers may continue to restrict restroom and locker room use based on biological gender This is despite a 1993 Minesota law to prohibit employment discrimination based on transgender status or gender identity

      however

      Effective January 1, 2004,
      California has amended the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to prohibit discrimination based on “gender.” The amendments, enacted through Assembly Bill 196 (“AB 196”), are primarily intended to prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. However, the definition of “gender” adopted by the Legislature goes farther than protecting against transgender discrimination. It also prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s identity, appearance, or behavior as they relate to the individual’s gender. In doing so, the Legislature expressed its intent to prohibit “sex stereotypes.”
      California is only the fourth state to prohibit employment discrimination based on transgender status or gender identity
      Among transgender issues in the workplace, questions commonly arise concerning employee restrooms. For example, may an employer require that an employee use only the restroom used by members of his or her biological sex? Or must an employee be permitted to use the restroom designated for members of the gender with which he or she identifies? AB 196 does not directly address these inevitable questions, and the legislative materials are silent.

      Yet California State University San Bernadino regulations state: "Use of restrooms intended for specific genders must be followed; failure to do so is a violation of policy. "

      Of course....if you can't use the bathroom, you can't work, can you? This results in de facto discrimination.

      Of course, we are now back in the land of definitions as proved by the following comment regarding the "proper" meaning of transgendered:

      "These terms fit the proper definition of “transgender,” which is living as a gender other than the individual’s gender at birth, but without surgery."

      federal courts have held that stereotypes about sex roles or behavior violate Title VII.of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even though it did not specifically protect against transgender discrimination.

      It's all very complex because you first have to agree on the definitions and we at TW know where that can lead. Then you have to get a law that works. Where the restroom is located makes a difference. Is it in a private business, a public business or a public place? The laws differ from place to place and state to state. "The Minnesota decision may be persuasive in interpreting California’s new law, but California law may be interpreted differently"


      This is all a lot to deal with when you have a full bladder, so it's best to have this figured out before you go out en femme. Having spend a weekend day in downtown Los Angeles with a COMPLETE lack of public restrooms, I never want to find myself in that situation wearing a dress. One should not have to have a tactical plan for bathroom access while trying to enjoy what, for a non-TG/TS person, would be a normal day out. But we do. Nobody should have to worry about being humiliated or assaulted or arrested while going to the bathroom. But we do. Nobody should be denied public assistance...and that could well be illegal....even in Indiana, despite what the office believes. It may be a Title VII violation since it is a public facility, not a private one. Try calling IGS at 317-879-9150 to see if they can help with this issue of public restrooms in an IN goverment facility.

      The truth is, it's not easy to know what state and local laws and subjective interpretations by law enforcement one will face in making a restroom choice. Many people have obtained assistance by calling the local law enforcement agency and speaking to the desk sargeant on duty. They have years of experience with the local laws and how they are enforced. "Public restroom use is governed by a legal patchwork of city and town ordinances and state laws"

      In California, the law is fairly clear that preventing a transgendered person from using the facility appropriate to their gender would be discrimination. Two issues remain. The wide variance in transgender expression can make it unclear to many which gender we have identified with and, therefore, which bathroom we should be in. People who are tasked with responsiblilty for a facility will find themselves dealing with conflicting pressures as well as ignorance of the interpretation of the law. You might well end up with a successful discrimination lawsuit against them, but find yourself first in handcuffs and paraded in public. Now this could be an interesting way to obtain sufficient funds for full transition, including HRT, SRS and some lovely FFS...but, I don't recommend it. It might be wise to carry a small, laminated copy of a statement about the appropriate legislation. This usually gets the attention of business and law enforcement types as they cannot protest ignorance later.

      I suspect that most states laws are not so clearly in favor of transgendered persons.

      PEOPLE IN SEARCH OF SAFE RESTROOMS is an organization devoted to.......well, safe restrooms for all people, regardless of their gender identification or presentation, have the right to access safe and dignified restroom facilities without fear of harassment, judgement or violence
      http://www.pissr.org/

      PEEING IN PEACE is a publication is a resource guide that includes strategies for dealing with situations while using restrooms as a transgendered/transsexual person.:

      http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org


      One might be inclined to think that we are a very small group and not likely to get attention. This is not so because gender-neutral bathrooms is not just a TG/TS issue but a GLBT issue as well as an idea supported by many non-GLBT persons. At one university it is a question of 10-12,000 students who are directly involved. These are numbers difficult to ignore.

      Here is a legal opinion by Michael Dorn, a NYC attorney on the subject of
      "Does a Transgendered Biological Male Have The Right Use a Women's Restroom in New York City?:
      Why a Local Gender Identity Discrimination Ban Has Become Controversial
      "

      [url=http://writ.news.findlaw.[...]11.html]http://writ.news.findlaw.[...]11.html for the full article

      "Sex-Segregated Restrooms: Long Assumed to Be Legally Permissible

      Whether or not single-sex education can be reconciled with a commitment to equality of the sexes, single-sex restrooms have generally been taken as obviously permissible--a kind of reductio ad absurdum of the argument that sexual segregation is a form of sex discrimination.

      And yet it is difficult to make sense of restroom sex segregation as responding to inherent biological differences between the sexes. Men and women can use the same sinks, and while men alone can profitably use urinals, men also do fine without them; rare indeed is the private home--even of the confirmed bachelor--that includes a urinal rather than just a conventional toilet.

      In fact, restroom sex segregation responds not to biological differences, but rather to two other concerns: privacy and safety. As a matter of social practice in our culture, people tend to be more embarrassed by the use of toilets in proximity to members of the opposite sex than when only members of their own sex are nearby.

      Such inhibitions can be broken down--as they have been in the colleges and universities that have adopted co-ed restrooms in their dormitories--but the inhibitions remain real among many, probably most, people. And because a concern about embarrassment is not obviously sexist, this concern should be seen as a legitimate basis for sex-segregated restrooms.

      Moreover, a public restroom is a confined space that criminals can exploit to commit sexual assault or other offenses that disproportionately affect women, and are disproportionately committed by men. A rule that keeps men out of the women's room is a fairly low-cost method of protecting women from the small fraction of men who might exploit mixed-sex restrooms for criminal purposes.

      With sex-segregated restrooms, women are less vulnerable because, as soon as they see a man in the women's room, they know they should exit rapidly or call for help. A quick visual scan thus helps a woman ascertain whether the restroom is safe, before she is trapped far from the door, or hidden away in a stall. But a quick visual scan would be useless if restrooms were co-ed.

      Accordingly, although inherent biological differences between men and women do not justify sex-segregated restrooms, other legitimate reasons do. Thus, the maintenance of sex-segregated restrooms should not, by itself, be deemed impermissible sex discrimination...... The greater risk--if the recent transgender settlements begin to have the broader affect of desegregating the city's restrooms--is that the public will rebel, and demand that the laudable protections for gender identity and expression be removed from the Human Rights Law.....


      The short answer, Lucy, is there is no short answer or easy solution. The issue of States' Rights in the United States complicates legal matters. It's legal in California for a doctor to prescribe marijuana for a medical condition....by Federal law it is not. THAT is shameful as it causes unnecessary suffering. The easy solution is single-user gender-neutral restrooms at any location with a restroom. Many places that have larger gender-specific restrooms also have a single-user restroom that is gender neutral...often for handicapped persons in wheelchairs. For many small businesses, adding a third bathroom could be an economic hardship. Laws tend to be written without a lot of thought at times and tend to be very rigid. I know of a shop which, because of it's consruction in an old, small house, had no room in which a wheelchair could be manuvered....yet it was required to add a ramp and a special door latch to enable wheelchair access. I'm sure, whatever solution is developed, somebody will be unhappy with it.

      I was unable to find a list of laws on restroom use by state. If anyone finds one, please PM me with a link, thank you.




    • July 14, 2006 12:52 AM BST
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      Oh gosh, why is it so complicated in the States?! It just doesn’t seem to be a problem over here.
      Almost puts me off going there, but not quite. To be honest, I’d rather risk arrest than go into the men’s room. I will be sure however, if I should happen to visit before SRS, to carry a letter from my GP or gender clinic to verify to the police, who and what I am, just in case I do get arrested.
      And then I’ll sue the pants off them!
      xx
      ____________________________________
      "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."
    • July 14, 2006 2:32 AM BST
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      Lucy,

      I didn't realize it was so complicated....until this morning.

      The reason it is so complicated is that we started out as 13 countries and then came together voluntarily under conditions in which the rights of the individual states were paramount and the central (Federal) government was initially less significant. Our Civil War diminished that independence somewhat, but we still maintain a considerable independence for states to write laws...until there is a federal law on using bathrooms, the state laws are paramount....state laws take precedence over local laws but local governments can pass laws that involve matters not specifically dealt with by state laws. It's a rats nest....but it keeps us from having a King who controls everything....and that was the idea in the 18th century.
    • July 14, 2006 9:38 AM BST
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      There really is just no societal place for an openly, visible transexual.
      Perhaps it is because we are more or less forced to do the real life experience here in England, that the public are more or less forced to accept us. And of course the recent gender discrimination act helps. I keep seeing this though, and it makes me sad; in the States it seems so much more difficult to be a transitioning TS, and still difficult after transition if one is less than passable. Of course English girls have occasional problems, but so far I seem to have avoided any. I can’t imagine being asked to leave the ladies’ room, and god help the person who does!
      There IS a societal place for an openly visible transsexual – Kendal, Cumbria, England. In fact probably most places in England. But it’s a long way to go for you lot to use the loo!
      Wendy, maybe having a King, or Queen, wouldn’t be such a bad thing; maybe they could decree that all transgender persons were free to use whichever restroom they damn well please.
      It’s not asking a lot is it.
      xx
      ____________________________________
      "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."
    • July 15, 2006 6:35 AM BST
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      Hmmm? Lucy are you saying you think all us Queens would stick together?
    • June 4, 2007 8:37 AM BST
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      Ok, this may sound a bit off the wall, but it's the kind of thing that ACLU lawsuits are built on.

      1. A major complaint is that TS are required to live the RLE before getting SRS or even HRT to help them pass.

      2. This causes the TS in transition to be exposed to public abuse/humiliation and to be denied use of restrooms.

      3. This causes the TS to effectively be denied freedom of movement without exposing themselves to abuse and denial of use of women's restrooms and to be exposed to abuse/assault in male restroom. This effectively denies them freedom of movement/travel. The difficulty this causes was made obvious to me during the early stages of my treatment for diabetes when I was hitting restrooms at least once an hour. Even using men's rooms it was almost intolerable. I had to restrict when and where I went places. The idea of cross-country car travel on freeways causes the mind to boggle.

      4. Therefore, since the RLE under conditions that most of us object to, mandates this suffering....sue the Harry Benjamin organization, now known as The World Professional Association for Transgender Health Sue them for violating your Civil Rights. It is their guidelines that force you to deal with this situation by their guidelines which are denying HRT and FFS without the RLE. A doctor varying from these guidelines faces censure or loss of license. There are only two solutions. A Federal Law, similar to the UK, forcing use of women's restrooms for MtF TS and other TG persons or.....a change in the requirements of the HBSOC.

      5. The ACLU responds to questions about possible cases. They examine to see if it is a legitimate issue of Civil Rights. If it is, and they decide to take the case, it's free. Their opinion if it is such an issue is pretty sound and they often see a different approach that is such an issue. What they need first, is an actual legal case, not a hypothetical one. So next time you are restricted in your activities by such denial of bathroom privileges, consider a civil rights suit. Contact the ACLU and file a complaint.

      Just an idea.

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