Transgender Service Animals

No, not really - I want to compare the debate over transgender use of bathrooms and locker rooms to service animals.

I saw a news story about people taking pets around and pretending they are service animals so they can take them on airplanes, in stores and restaurants, etc.

I know from previous research that there is no official certification of service animals. The Dept. of Justice guidelines on the Americans with Disabilities Act say that if a someone says their animal is a service animal, it’s legally a service animal and a business must accept it inside. (The most recent guidelines say only dogs qualify and a business may ask if the dog is a service animal, but it must accept the answer “yes” without demanding any kind of documentation to prove it).

http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

I presume some states want to add some kind of official certification or “doctor’s note” to prove the dog is a service dog.

I noticed this is relevant to the transgender debate. The laws allowing for transgender people to use the bathrooms/locker rooms of the gender they identify with. Yet one concern brought up is how we know someone is “legitimately” transgender or just faking it, or how one can determine that. Should there be some kind of doctor’s note, or certification, or whatever, to prevent abuse? Do any of the state laws or policies on transgender accomodation include anything like that? Is it even a problem?

This is especially interesting to me because I see a conflict in the issue: If genetic or genital status is no longer a way to determine gender, how can we turn around and say that appearance or mode of dress is? Is it any more unusual for a woman with female genitals to dress and get a haircut and “act like a man?” Can we impose strict ideas about how men and women should dress when we don’t even impose those limits based on genitals? So couldn’t a genetically male person say she identifies as a woman and still wear “men’s” clothes or appear somewhat, or completely, male?

My comments do not represent hatred or dislike for transgender people nor opposition to the bathroom laws, so please don’t get all angry. It’s just a discussion about how new ideas bring new questions.

I don’t know about service animals, but for the bathroom stuff, it’s about self-identification. I don’t believe it should require any sort of documentation. If you self-identify as male or female, whatever your biological sex or appearance, you should be able to use the corresponding restroom, in my view.

But that ignores the whole point.

Should we demand that someone prove their self-identification? Can it change from day to day? (Some people say they are “genderfluid” and switch identifications frequently.) Are there any such procedures in current laws or policies? Are they needed or is the fear of abuse unwarranted?

By your standard, a male, wearing “men’s” clothes and a beard, could walk into a women’s restroom and, if challenged, say “I identify as a female.” My questions are is that a problem, what could be done about it, and is something being done now. And it’s an interesting parallel to the service animal thing.

I think the “faking it” problem is a lot like the “voter fraud” problem, in that it’s mostly a hypothetical one meant to act as a reason to create restrictive legislation. I can foresee a not-too-terribly distant future where bathrooms are separated by function rather by gender - one for urinals and one for stalls.

In the meanwhile, I personally don’t care if someone with female plumbing wants to use the men’s restroom. Especially since it generally won’t impact my wait at all. Just so long as everyone is following the immutable laws* of the men’s restroom.

*1) Shut up. 2) Do your business. 3) Shut up.

When there is total privacy though, right? So basically like single-use bathrooms. Or do you think there simply won’t be any gender segregation?

If so, will it be forced on those who still want it? Or do you mean someday nobody will care any more?

But this isn’t about just you.

What about other people who might care? And what if someone with not just opposite plumbing but opposite-gender appearance - enough for you to know they are the opposite plumbing - uses the bathroom?

Or maybe you don’t know - what if someone who has female parts but dresses and acts male uses the women’s room - should they prove they are female? That’s a whole new question. Do transgender people have the right to use the bathroom of their SEX and NOT their self-identified gender if they so choose? And how would you police that?

In order: No; I don’t know; I don’t think so; and no, the fear of abuse is mostly unwarranted.

Yes this is possible. If such a person truly identifies as female, then I don’t think this is much of a problem. If they’re lying for voyeuristic reasons, or to make some bigoted political point, then it’s a minor problem, and such a person should be shamed, in my view, and prosecuted if they commit any criminal violations like harassment or assault.

This sounds like the kind of problem that will probably be so rare, and the consequences so minor, and a possible solution so cumbersome, that it’s not worth legislating about. I don’t see how bathrooms could possibly check documentation for every user before entry. In the very occasional cases of voyeuristic/bigoted asshole liars claiming to be transgender, public shaming (along with prosecution on existing criminal violations, if warranted) seems like the most appropriate response.

Is there some sort of fundamental difference between male shit and female shit? Is one sex more prone to leaving cooties on the toilet seat than the other?

No but the seat up/seat down war is about to go public.

Gee, thanks for the detailed thoughts. :smack:

Once again - how do you KNOW they “truly” identify as female? That’s my question.

But if someone says “I really do identify as female,” what then?

How would even know they are faking though? That’s the point.

Have you ever been to a ball game? The line for the womens restroom is always longer than for the mens. I’ve personally been impacted by women taking forever using the trough.

Good point. Should we get rid of gendered bathrooms altogether? And if so, must we wait until everyone is okay with it, or, as with transgender access, mandate it now?

Not to mention pee all over the seat.

Like voter ID laws, it’s just restrictive legislation. “It could/might one day be abused!”, is just the rationalization to impose those restrictions.

Solution without a problem really. The very idea that people would pretend to be transgendered, for advantages is beyond silly to me.

The thought that a straight, teenaged boy could pull it off, without his friends letting on, is just crazy talk, I think.

In all my years of public washroom use, I can’t think of a single time this has been an issue. If I came out of a stall and saw a masculine man in the women’s washroom, I might wonder if one of us had made a mistake, or if I was the one walking in to the washroom, I might back out and recheck the signage on the door, and while I would find it odd, I wouldn’t say anything, or do anything other than what I had planned to do in there anyway. If I saw a sexually ambiguous person, I would give it even less thought.

As long as no one is being creepy, I really don’t care who is in the stall or standing at the sink washing their hands next to me.

That’s why I say generally. When you get a few dozen thousand people crammed into a few dozen acres, all bets are off.

How about phasing it in, which is being done already?

The whole idea is dumb from start to finish. The idea of men infiltrating women’s bathrooms so that… what exactly, they can pee next to a woman is just silly. If a person is peering into stalls at people, that should be illegal anyway, and their gender is irrelevant. There’s no actual issue to even worry about, the only purpose in passing laws preventing or restricting trans people from using the correct restroom for their gender is to harass trans people.

And how does this doctor’s note idea interact with people who don’t meet your gender appearance standards? Does a butch lesbian, for example, need a doctor’s note to use the women’s restroom since she’ll generally look much more masculine than any trans woman, and people could doubt that she’s female? Do cross dressers need a note to use the bathroom of their actual gender? How will this doctor’s note be checked, and how will you feel if someone demands to see YOUR papers every time you go to the restroom, which some people would do simply to show the absurdity of such a law? What happens if someone doesn’t have a doctors note on them, are they not allowed to use public restrooms at all?

In practical terms, a person who operates outside of the home has to use public restrooms on occasion, it’s just the way biology and time works. So what you’re doing is arguing in favor of requiring a transgender person to have a doctor’s note if they wish to go out in public ever. If you didn’t harbor any dislike towards trans people, you wouldn’t think that requiring that they have a doctor’s note to go out in public is a reasonable thing to even consider.

And again, this isn’t about just you. What if someone else freaked out about that? Would you tell them not to? What if someone demanded proof the person was female…or simply identified as female? Is it even possible to prove such a thing (without violating privacy)? Can someone say you can’t identify as female if you “look male,” considering that you can identify as female if you actually are genetically male now?

First of all, you can’t say that. This conversation started in another thread about someone who apparently did just that.

Someone probably said the same thing about service animals too.

Second, it’s hardly the only issue.

Exactly my point!

So conceivably someone could use a women’s restroom while looking and acting and dressing like a man, and nobody could even question that.

Again, those are my questions.

So if there’s no way to verify “proper” use of a restroom, how can you declare that it won’t be abused?

I am NOT arguing that. I’m not arguing anything at all. I’m just asking questions.

As I said, I’m not arguing that. But one could argue that this would protect trans people, not hurt them. If anyone can claim to be trans, that hurts legitimate trans people by diluting their claims to legitimate use of a restroom. Just as the fact that anyone can go say their dog is a service dog could make it harder for peple with real service dogs to assert their rights.

In what way is it being phased in? Is it with restrooms that are private enough so as they are essentially segregated person to person, e.g. the same as a single-use restroom like you have at home? Do you have examples?

(That’s what I’d like to see, just because I don’t want to do my business with a bunch of guys and more than with a bunch of girls.)