One Unintended Consequence of the Transgender Movement for Women

I am not particularly in opposition to or enthusiastic about the current transgender movement.  On one hand, I have no problem with people managing their lives however they wish.  I met Dr. Renee Richards in 1982, for example (she was coaching a Princeton tennis player I knew) and liked her.  Deirdre Mccloskey is freaking brilliant, I wish I had met her.   On the other hand, as with most social movements on the Left nowadays, mere tolerance and live-and-let-live acceptance is not enough -- the movement demands complete conformity, and mercilessly shames anyone even the least bit slow to discard 5000 years of social norms around gender.  And the movement tends to descend into self-parody from time to time, such as demanding that tampons be provided to people who cannot possibly have a menstrual cycle.

Anyway, most of that is beside the point and is just background to an issue I was reminded of this weekend when I was visiting San Diego.  As many of you know, my company operates public parks and campgrounds for the government.  As such, we were largely subject to Obama-era orders that in Federally-owned bathrooms, people had to be allowed to use the bathroom that matched whichever gender they self-identified as (not necessarily the one matching their birth sex).  Unlike in past rules, there was no requirement that the person had taken any surgical or hormonal steps to transition -- only a self-declaration was required.

I will have to admit that the most entertaining part of this new requirement was explaining modern gender theory to my employees and managers, who tend on average to be over 65-years-old and without a college degree.  There were a lot of wide eyes and "wtf' expressions in the room.  Their main concern seemed to be potentially allowing male sexual predators into the women's room.  I explain to my employees that the extra risk here is trivial for a variety of reasons, but mainly because in practice this comes up vanishingly few times.  There just are not that many transgender people in the world, and campground bathrooms have never been targets for a lot of sexual predation.  Every single time I can remember our employees even being asked about our policy it turned out to be an activist testing us, probably to see if they could create grounds for a lawsuit.

From my experience, then, most public fears about transgender bathroom rules have turned out to be overblown. But, it turns out there is one issue that no one is talking about that could be a real, though not particularly serious, downside for women.  Let me explain.

The one major change in the public bathroom world as a result of the transgender movement is the accelerating shift from having multi-stall female and male bathrooms to having single-stall, gender-neutral bathrooms.  If bathrooms are all single-stall, then all the culture wars over gender and bathrooms are completely sidestepped.   Every public bathroom I have seen a government agency build over the last 5 years has been of this new design, and our company's policy is only to build this sort of facility rather than the old two-sided male/female bathrooms.  Here is an example from new construction at the children's pool in La Jolla:

OK, I am going to have to criticize one gender here but since I am going to criticize males, I will be OK.  Men's bathroom habits are terrible -- we tend to pee all over the place.  Even if the median guy is careful, the marginal guy is not and makes a total mess.  We had this problem when my kids were young -- my wife would ask me to take our toddler daughter to the men's room with me and I would tell her that was impossible, that the men's toilets were likely awful.   I can say from experience from cleaning over 1000 public bathrooms a day that men's rooms take way more cleaning than women's rooms.

So if one has these single stall bathrooms, they have to be cleaned a lot.  On busy days, our staff cleans ours 4,5,6 or even more times a day.  But there are many public agencies that apparently do not have the focus or resources to clean on this kind of frequency.  The City of San Diego, or whoever cleans these bathrooms in La Jolla, clearly does not clean enough, because these bathrooms were disgusting.  I did not really want to go in there and I could stand and do my business.  My wife would never have gone in there.

So there you have it women -- something else to look forward to.   That irritating long women's room line may become a thing of the past, but it could be replaced with much dirtier bathrooms.



  1. ErikTheRed:

    As a guy, I literally don't understand how other guys make such a mess. I can pee in an airplane lavatory in high turbulence and keep everything in the bowl, not even hitting the sides (unlike some other flyers, who seem to get it on the floor and even the walls - I'm almost shocked when there's no pee on the ceiling these days). It's not freaking difficult.

    But then I think about how people drive cars and it all makes sense.

  2. alanstorm:

    Obviously, you need to try harder!

  3. Steve Burrows:

    Public lavatories are practice for encountering snow.

  4. Peabody:

    Correction, clearly only white males piss on the seat. It all stems from white privilege. They believe that minority employees should clean up their urine.

  5. kidmugsy:

    Maybe you're not old enough yet, Erik.

  6. wreckinball:

    You argue that allowing men (i.e. pretending to be woman) in the ladies room is OK except that they are pigs? That really isn't the total story. This is a women's issue but on two fronts in order of priority
    1) Most women do not want men in their rest room or locker room even if they are pretending to be women or may even actually believe they are women. Most men could care less if a woman pretending to be a man is in their bathroom or locker room. Wow, amazing but yet another area where men differ from women.
    2) As you correctly point out men are pigs and also for the most part don't care except when you have to use a public rest room for #2. Then it matters.

  7. poitsplace .:

    "Every single time I can remember our employees even being asked about our policy it turned out to be an activist testing us, probably to see if they could create grounds for a lawsuit."

    This statement sums up the problem right here. Modern activists generally DO NOT speak for anyone they're claiming to speak for. They're a bunch of pseudo-intellectual, virtue signaling morons trying to save imaginary victims. The vast majority of transsexuals are well aware of the fact that they do not fit in properly in either bathroom if they don't pass for their preferred gender. They tend to avoid such things if they can and use the handicapped bathroom available at a large number of facilities. And that's why you never hear anything from them (that and the fact that they're only about .1% of the population at most anyway)

  8. Artemis:

    Perhaps campgrounds are different, but when I worked in grocery stores and restaurants the worst messes where *always* in the women's bathrooms. I suspect that neither is true and this is just a problem with anecdotal sampling methods.

  9. Mercury:

    "Men's bathroom habits are terrible -- we tend to pee all over the place. Even if the median guy is careful, the marginal guy is not and makes a total mess. "

    Make all the bathroom ceilings 4 feet high, everyone will be forced to sit, problem solved.

    My dad was an ophthalmology resident at Manhattan Eye & Ear with Rene Richards and would see her lecture etc. occasionally after she went back to being a doc, post-tennis. He always presented her as being extremely competent and all that, completely independent of her rather bizarre and very unusual (for the 70s-80s anyway) personal history. So, I've never had a problem with that kind of situation which I'm sure is a legitimate and serious problem for some tiny fraction of the general population.

    On the other hand, all this culture war BS has neo-/cultural-Marxism written all over it and the only reason it's such a BFD is it's yet another opportunity to poke a stick in the eye of all things perceived to be dominated by Western/male/traditional norms. That's really all that matters here. I mean, what are the levels of transgender bathroom compliance in Detroit mosques...and do any LGBT activists actually care? Probably not.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp:

    I worked at a gas station in high school and my experience matches yours. The women's restroom was always the worst, and was particularly horrifying overnights on weekends after the bars closed.

  11. jon49:

    My brother did that once. We were on a Track and Field trip for High School and there was only one bathroom to use for all of us. He went in and peed all over the seat. Then a girl went it...

    I can understand why he wouldn't want to lift the seat. But it's not that hard to lift it with the bottom of your shoe. Yep, I'm not excited for single gender bathrooms.

  12. Aheho:

    I agree with this. My job back when I was in college involved cleaning bathrooms in a public establishment. We had to clean the ladies room every hour and only had to clean the mens room once a day.

  13. me:

    LOL - loving that suggestion, thank you!

  14. Not Sure:

    I used to think I aimed pretty well but after I bought my current house, I found out there's more to it than just accuracy. At certain times of the year, the sun shines directly across the bowl. At those times, it's clear to see stray "spritzes" separating from the main flow that are not easily seen otherwise and some of them don't make it into the bowl. Once the stream has left the source, there's nothing you can do about it.

  15. John Moore:

    I wish you were more atuned to the left's penchant for excess when you were fighting for gay marriage, as opposed to something sensible like civil unions. Gay activists now use their win there (and in the culture) to persecute anyone who doesn't want to go along with it, to the point of forcing people to choose between criminal penalties or forced participation in gay weddings.

    And, of course, the distortion of English from its ancient meanings started there also. "Husband" now means lover of any sex. "Wife" - ditto. "Marriage" means, well, it's not clear other than sex is probably involved, while children may not be. Taking their cue from this success, the left then moved onto their crusade - Chelsea Manning is a she; in British National Health Service, they do cervical exams of biological males who cannot get uterine cancer; in New York City, a business that doesn't address someone, every single time, by their "chosen" pronoun can be fined.

    It's time to realize that just because something sounds fair, it doesn't mean it's wise.

  16. marque2:

    Just a minor point. In California anyone can go in the woman's room. You don't have dress like a woman. How could someone tell me to get out - I might just be feeling womanly that day - or have nail polish on my toes.

    As for preditors. The news is a bit covered up with that - since only the PC line reported. About once a month I hear of some guy stalking the woman's bathroom - or pretending to be transgender to get in with ladies in jail ... But I admit so far the issues aren't as prevelent - by today's reporting anyway as I though it would be.

  17. marque2:

    I use a bit of toilet paper to lift the seat.

  18. Bistro:

    What I heard many years ago was about 'hoverers'. It seems that some women aren't interested in making any contact with the appliance and hover over it with results bearing some resemblance to carpet bombing raids of WWII.

  19. marque2:

    You know I was just thinking - I have been to those bathrooms in La Jolla with the kids - there is a nice playground and beach next to it. The structure also has showers for surfers.

    I think though that the construction of these unisex toilets preceeded the whole toilet contraversy. Having used them, I would say they weren't that bad - but then I haven't been there for awhile and San Diego's homeless problem has gotten much worse over the last few years as cities from all over the country give their homeless one way bus tickets to San Diego to take care of their problem. It could be a sign that Last Jolla beachfront is now overrun with homeless much like downtown, where there are miles long stretches of sidewalk covered with homeless tents and other encampments.

  20. Joe - the non economist:

    "Modern activists generally DO NOT speak for anyone they're claiming to speak for. They're a bunch of pseudo-intellectual, virtue signaling morons trying to save imaginary victims. "

    Very similar to the comments made when bill clinton finally accepted welfare reform - The only ones complaining were the activists and social workers who would have fewer people on the dole as those former welfare recepients became productive citizens.

    Likewise with the activists who showed up after the passing of the american disability act

  21. Maximum Liberty:

    The application of all this that bothers me the most is giving young people who then have male external genitalia a right to use the girls' locker room in high school, based primarily on an identity that initially is present only in their brains or hormones. I would hate to be a young woman in that situation. Converting all the girls' locker rooms to single-stall changing rooms seems unlikely (though maybe they already are -- I wouldn't know). Also, I'm not saying that all situations are fairly represented by this application. If someone could resolve that one for me, I'd feel a lot better about the issue in general, though, because I don't see a principled distinction.

  22. cc:

    That's all very fine for toilets, but are they seriously going to build single use showers at say beaches? Consider a high school: rows of lockers, kids stow their stuff and go into the shower. This is where the orders for conformity go off the rails.

  23. Rick C:

    I think conservatives have mostly cared about men falsely claiming to identify as female so they can go into the women's room far more than they're actually worried about transwomen in the women's room.