Obama Transgender Bathroom Law: An Easy Way To Meet New Federal Regulations
An Easy Way to Meet New Federal Restroom Directive
Provides Equal Access Without Anatomic Males in Female Restroom
Obama Transgender Bathroom Law – media misreporting
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 13, 2016): Despite some media reports that a new federal order will permit any anatomical male claiming to be transsexual to use female bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms, GWU is experimenting with an alternative technique which may comply with the directive without compromising the privacy or risking the physical safety of female students.
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It’s a win, win, win solution which should satisfy everybody, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
The federal letter reportedly states that “a school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” and that “to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities.”
Obama Transgender Bathroom Law – GWU solution
But it appears that GWU’s experimental all-gender multi-user restroom would meet these conditions, says Banzhaf.
It satisfies the needs of transsexuals (as well as transvestites) – who dress in a manner inconsistent with their anatomical sex – to be able to have ready access to conveniently located restrooms without having to declare any particular gender preference or identity, while at the same time insuring that girls and women will not find anatomical males (transgender or otherwise) in their female restrooms.
Banzhaf has won over 100 gender discrimination legal actions, supported LGBT rights, and criticized the North Carolina statute for requiring even transsexual people who have completed sexual re-assignment surgery to use restrooms corresponding to the genitals they were born with but no longer have.
What his law school has done, says Banzhaf, is simply to re-designate what was formerly a typical men’s restroom – with 3 urinals, 1 toilet in a stall, and 2 wash basins – as an all-gender restroom.
Since the percentage of students who are transsexual is very small, most of the time the room functions as any other male restroom would, with many men able to urinate in a short period of time.
However any person – including not only transsexuals, but also transvestites, men who are simply bashful, have shy bladder syndrome (paruresis), etc. – can enter this restroom without exposing themselves or identifying with any particular gender, and relieve themselves in the privacy of the stall.
Because typical women could even use this stall toilet if time is short and the lines at the nearby women’s room are too long, both F2M and M2F transsexual students can relieve themselves in the room’s toilet without revealing anything about their anatomical or identity gender, notes Banzhaf.
Since in most buildings male and female restrooms are usually close together, this system would open up almost half of all restrooms to transgender students, and seemingly comply with the directive that transgender students not be forced to use single-seat restrooms if other students need not do so.
While such a system would occasionally expose typical male users to an anatomical female, most men seem unconcerned about any potential privacy invasion and, unlike the reverse situation, have no real fears about suffering sexual assaults or even rape from anatomical females, Banzhaf notes.
So this approach – converting all or at least most male restrooms into all-gender restrooms – may very well provide a quick and easy way to comply with the new federal directive, .and do so without adversely affecting transsexuals nor typical girls and women concerned about privacy and sexual assaults.
It’s certainly worth a try, suggests Banzhaf, who says the GW experiment is working well.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH