Men at Work (In the Women’s Locker Room)  1

In the time since HB2 was signed into law, I’ve had several heterosexual cisgender men tell me how terrified they were by the idea “men” being allowed in women’s locker rooms and restrooms. They’re convinced that transgender women are really cisgender men who are trolling for women to gawk at, grope, assault, or rape in a shower or bathroom stall. Because that’s apparently what they think any person born with male genitalia would do. After all, it’s what Mike Huckabee said that he would have done as a young man.1 So, of course, anyone born with a Y chromosome has to be just as creepy. These dudes are also the ones who think that women are even more terrified than them about the issue.2

I bet that they would freak the fuck out over what happened when I went to the Wellness Center Thursday afternoon. On the way over to the pool, I had been talking to my father about how another batch of transphobic folks were saying all women are terrified over trans women coming into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. That they had talked about women and girls seeing the genitalia of trans folks in the bathrooms, like we play show and tell in them instead of peeing like normal folks. That we would have to shower with and soap up pre-op  cis and trans women because locker rooms in the real world are just like the ones from the porn that they watched last night. That anyone with a dick will use any excuse to rape any and all women using a restroom, locker room, etc.

We were both grumbling over the ignorance as he dropped me off. 

I went in, checked in, and headed to the pool staging area.3 When I got in, the teacher of an infant swimming class told me that there were men working in there. I changed behind a curtain and those pesky maintenance men didn’t bother to assault me. Obviously they didn’t realize that transphobic guys were rambling away on Twitter about the dangers of people people who are male or assigned male at birth being in a place where women pee, disrobe, & shower4 using bathrooms as hunting grounds. That’s why they didn’t attack any of the women who varied in body type, race, and age. Because they didn’t get the rape-y memo. 

Or maybe because most people—whether they are cisgender or transgender—don’t go into the bathroom to assault other people. It doesn’t even cross their minds. Because it’s fucking creepy and a major indicator that a person needs to seek professional help. 

And it shouldn’t be something the rest of us expect either—or suggest that we expect as a way to pass unjust laws. We have to be better than that. 

  1. Mike Huckabee, lover of child molestation enablers and father of an animal abuser and a Trump spokesperson, said: “We are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your 7-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man…Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’” 

  2. I’ve seen more women—cis & trans—hate this bill than men, to be honest. 

  3. Sometimes a girl gets tired of calling it a locker room. 

  4. Not necessarily in that order. 

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

One thought on “Men at Work (In the Women’s Locker Room) 

  • J.D.

    I actually found out years ago that men’s locker rooms are usually different than women’s. I was complaining to my boyfriend about curtains instead of doors on shower stalls and he had no idea what I was talking about. He said he’s NEVER been in a men’s locker room with stalls. It’s always just been big shower rooms. I thought THAT was just in movies. Ha! My brother (a basketball player) told me in a lot of locker rooms he’s been in there aren’t even proper stalls for toilets. You poop in full view. That is literally the stuff of nightmares for me.

    This whole trans bathroom debate confuses me until I remember that. I always think, who cares. Most of us go into the shower stall and come out fully changed. I’ve NEVER seen a woman walking around naked. Under garments, sometimes. Never naked. I know it happens, just not around here often. Apparently a LOT of men just chill naked in different parts of the locker rooms, and there’s no privacy.

    For every female room I’ve been in this stuff just isn’t an issue. Go to the room that matches your outer appearance, close the door/curtain, no one knows your business.

    But in communal showers, it’s obviously different.

    A lot of men truly are concerned about men taking advantage of the situation. They don’t know the usual situation, though. They don’t know we tend to have personal space in there, and that violating it isn’t as easy as walking in in jeans and cowboy boots and saying, “I’m a woman on the inside! ” and taking in a show.

    We need more bathrooms and shower rooms, though. As a parent of 3 kids the opposite gender it’s hard getting them to the bathroom. I don’t want to send then unattended to men’s rooms. But they quickly become too big that having them in the ladies room makes others uncomfortable, and I want to respect that. In fact at my favorite rec center kids 5+ are required to go to gender appropriate showers and bathrooms. I’m not sending my 5 year old son alone into a communal shower. Nope!

    I get so frustrated when I’m trying to get them to the bathroom and a parent with same-gendered kids strolls into the family room first. Obviously they are not facing these decisions. But they don’t understand that.

    Everyone needs to stop yelling and start listening COMPASSIONATELY to EVERYONE’S concerns. Are we not collectively smart enough to come up with solutions together?

    I feel that we are.

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