Social Question

downtide's avatar

How would you feel if you encountered a transsexual in a changing room?

Asked by downtide (23480points) June 8th, 2010

Suppose you were in the changing rooms at a gym, fitness centre or even the changing rooms for trying on clothes in a store. And someone comes in who is clearly pre-op transsexual and trying hard but doesn’t pass as their chosen gender. (To clarify, if you’re in the women’s changing room this is a male-to-female transsexual. If you’re in the men’s, it’s a female-to-male).
How would this make you feel? Would you feel that this person belonged in the other changing room instead?

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81 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I met one at Goodwill. he came out of his car dressed in high heels, ladies underwear and a bra. he was wearing a wig and had on makeup and lipstick. he was inside the Goodwill Store to find a dress to fit his shoes. i just stood back and laughed. my wife hit the floor laughing so hard.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s not up to me to assign anyone his or her gender. What would it cost me? Is there a man who hasn’t seen a penis, or a woman who hasn’t seen a vagina, or vice versa? Really, who gives a shit?

dpworkin's avatar

@john65pennington Oh, good joke! A person was shopping!! These fuckin queers! What will they do next?

ucme's avatar

I’d ask if he was a native Transylvanian, sweet.

janbb's avatar

I have increasingly come to the position that people are entitled to self-identify in any way they see fit and any discomfort I have is my issue, not theirs.

zenele's avatar

I was looking for my tranny.

eden2eve's avatar

@janbb

I agree, but in @john65pennington ‘s illustration the guy came into the store in underwear and high heels and a wig. That creates more than just discomfort, and I’d wager that most of us would laugh. That is just WIERD! Most of us wear clothing over our underwear out in public.

@dpworkin , that is not a nice thing to call the transgendered person. ~

tinyfaery's avatar

I wouldn’t even think twice.

gemiwing's avatar

I wouldn’t care. Having opposite genitalia than mine doesn’t mean they would attack me in any way or get their jollies off. I would think they are brave because you know they are scared someone will cause a fuss- and they face that and do it anyway because it’s being true to who they are.

Besides, if I’m giving everyone the once-over genital check in a changing room- then I’m the one who obviously has the problem.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t care much about that.
The only time I care is if someone stares too long or tries to touch me.
That applies to anyone.

janbb's avatar

@eden2eve I was responding to the question not @john65pennington.

cyn's avatar

High five, @dpworkin.
In my opinion, I think if they(originally male)(transsexual) view themselves as female, then they should go into a women’s fitting room and vice versa for females. I sometimes change in front of my male friends. It’s the same as when you’re going swimming everyone sees you in an “underwear” and “bra”. Why should this be a problem in stores? Now, we also have a door in each individual fitting room, so why worry?

Likeradar's avatar

Admittedly, it would probably make me a little uncomfortable to see penis in the woman’s locker room at the gym. However, I know that the issue would be with me provided the person was being respectful and discreet.
Other than that, why the hell should I care?

dpworkin's avatar

@eden2eve You seem to have an irony deficiency. Maybe you should consider supplements.

bunnygrl's avatar

Wouldn’t bother me, I actually have a real problem with folk attaching labels to people in general. If a person is in the process of making a life changing decison that will make their life better, they deserve support, not mockery. Basically, what I mean is that if a person considers themselves to be a female then they are entitled to use the female changing room (or vice versa) it shouldn’t be an issue. Good grief, we are living in a new century.
ps: @john65pennington I apologise in advance, but I have lost a little respect for you due to your answer. In undies or not, laughing in someones face is downright bad mannered and hurtful. Again, I’m sorry, but he may have had his reasons, and deserved respect as we all do. I’ll shut up now, I’m sorry.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have a lot of close friends that’s fit into your description and being gender non conforming myself and an activist for the trans community, I would think about how many of those other pepoloe like @john65pennington up there were mean to them just this day alone.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t think it would bother me that they were a pre-op transgender person at all. What would bother me would be my natural reaction to want to stare.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@john65pennington And you didn’t ‘meet one’ – you met ‘someone who is trans’ – we’re not aliens.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Well, my mother raised me not to point and laugh at someone no matter how odd they look, unless they are deliberately inviting laughter. If I was in a communal changing room which I avoid like the plague anyway because they make me really uncomfortable, couldn’t tell ya why and I saw a woman with a penis, I admit, I might stare for a second or two and then check myself and avert my eyes. It’s rude to stare at anybody’s genitalia, whether they are going to keep that genitalia or trade in for something new.

tinyfaery's avatar

You have respect for John Pennington?

Facade's avatar

I’d be a bit taken aback because that situation would be out of the ordinary, but I wouldn’t point and laugh, be rude to them, or do any other type of douche bag things.

I sure hope you’re a retired cop.

bunnygrl's avatar

@tinyfaery not any more. I was raised to respect my elders and if my Grandmother were here she’d be really angry that I even commented on his bad manners, but his post actually upset me, to be laughed at like that in front of other folk, its just awful and imagine how painful. sorry

Arisztid's avatar

I am making an uneducated guess that the fellow @john65pennington was crossdressing, which is not the same as transsexual. That does not mean I condone the mocking that he and his wife did… quite the contrary. I am just stating the difference between transsexual and crossdressing (crossdressers are not defined as wanting to be the other gender). I have known more than one transsexual and none I know try to be a caricature… they try to pass as best they could.

Regardless, I have heard enough stories from transsexual friends to know that, even when trying to just pass and unobtrusively get on with their day, to know that they get the kind of hell that @john65pennington gave the crossdresser and worse. The suicide rate is very high for them. Dealing with the bathroom as a pre op transsexual, which is required to pass all of the tests, is one of the reasons the suicide rate is so high.

As for me, if I saw one in the bathroom, I would think that they have a long, hard road ahead and silently wish them luck. To tell the guy that (yes, I think of transsexuals as the gender they believe themselves to be) would just cause discomfort.

gemiwing's avatar

I think perhaps @john65pennington worded it poorly, yet if I saw anyone get out of a car in nothing but their underwear to go shopping I would be startled a bit.

Arisztid's avatar

@gemiwing In this instance it is just plain bad manners. Had I seen the fellow @john65pennington described, I would have raised an eyebrow in his presence… that is it. If I was going to laugh, I would do that in private… no matter what I saw. I was raised to not behave the way he and his wife did.

gemiwing's avatar

@Arisztid I was taught bad manners meant not putting anyone else at unease, which seems to me, what’s happening to @john65pennington right now. It’s just another way to view it, I suppose. I simply can’t judge him, I break out in laughter all the time, even when I ‘know better’.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s no big deal to me, I’ve been in changing areas and bathrooms with a few and I don’t recall them ogling me over the top of my stall or door or behind a drawn curtain.

Response moderated
tinyfaery's avatar

@bunnygrl No need to apologize? I can’t believe it took you so long.

Val123's avatar

@dpworkin and @jjmah Read @john65pennington‘s answer carefully. The guy was dressed in women’s underwear and heels, and that’s all he had on when he came in! He was shopping for a dress! Because he didn’t have one one. Come on you guys!! That’s hilarious!

Val123's avatar

@john65pennington So he was all dressed to go somewhere except for the dress, hey! LOL! “Oh! I don’t have a THING to wear! Literally!”

Arisztid's avatar

@Neizvestnaya A heterosexual transsexual would not and heterosexual is more common in humanity than homosexual.. Transsexual is gender identity, which is different from sexual orientation. For instance, I had a friend and roommate in the late 80’s who was (he suicided like so many), female to male transsexual and straight. He had jumped through all the hoops and gotten the go ahead, had his bilateral mastectomy, and had been unable to complete the transition due to being poor. So, despite him having female reproductive organs, he was sexually attracted to women. Being in a lesbian relationship was not what he wanted… he wanted to be a man for his woman.

That is one of the many, many reasons he suicided. His family disowning him, physical assaults, etc. did not help matters any. Being called “she” and the like is one of the reasons he became a hermit.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Arisztid
Agreed. My point is that the transsexuals I shared private spaces with didn’t act any different in those spaces than I expected any polite person to.

zenele's avatar

@Arisztid That is one of the saddest things I have ever heard. It will make me all the more sensitive to them.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, i laughed. i guess i laughed because this was my first encounter with a man in womens underwear, wearing a bra with makeup and lipstick. to be honest, i first thought this person was a clown looking for something different to wear. this was not to be disrespectful to anyone. it struck me as funny and funny it was. my intention was not to offend anyone. it was what it was and nothing more.

zenele's avatar

You’re a good person, @john65pennington.

bunnygrl's avatar

@john65pennington Again, apologies. Maybe I misunderstood your meaning, I don’t know, but I do know that a lot of people are hurt in this world, more deeply than a glance could show, just because of maybe a lack of thought or feeling from others. Can’t help thinking that it would be lovely if society as a whole just did what my old sunday school teacher taught us about treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves in similar situations is all. There is enough hurt in life to be faced, I do my best not to cause any more i hope. sorry i’l shut up now.

mattbrowne's avatar

Tell myself none of my business and continue to respect people the way they are.

Val123's avatar

As I was telling John, yes, to see a man dressed in nothing but a woman’s bra, undies and high heels shopping for a dress would be shockingly funny….but think of the reaction we would have if it had actually been a woman doing that….she’d probably be arrested, and I don’t think anyone would be laughing. I, for one, would be worried about her mental state…I think it’s interesting how the “same” situation can invoke two such different responses…..

tinyfaery's avatar

Uhh…no.

Arisztid's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Oh ok. :) Well, I had the chance to tell the abbreviated story of my first transsexual friend.

@zenele If I was transsexual, that is all I could ask of you so, in lieu of my friends, thankyou. :)

@gemiwing Point taken re John and manners. By the making someone uncomfortable, myself and others have been unmannerly towards him.

—————-

Regarding this fellow in underwear etc., I understand what everyone is saying about going out dressed like that. I have seen some, shall we say, amazing things in public. I spent most of my life in California, all of it within driving distance of San Francisco. What John saw was, well, not terribly high on the weird-o-meter for certain parts of SF. I started taking the bus to SF when I was, oh, about 10 years old. I remember the jaw dropper I had when I saw my first gay pride parade in SF… I had to have been about 12 and wandered into it. Some of the every day SF would be considered, well, a bit odd by most of the rest of the nations.

It is just how I was raised. No matter what I see, the most I do is raise an eyebrow briefly, and turn away. Yes, I have laughed but I get away from the person, preferably out to my car.

I am not saying that he was wrong in laughing… I am only saying that he was unmannerly in where he did it. At my ripe old age of 47 I would probably just shake my head by now but 30 years ago, I would have gotten out to my car or hidden my face in some clothes and had a laugh.

I mentioned it at all because I wanted to bring up that I do not believe that the guy he saw was transsexual because I have never known a transsexual who wants to draw attention to themselves. They avoid that like the plague, from the transsexuals who I have known.

Val123's avatar

@Arisztid Well…if you’re a guy and you go out in public intentionally in nothing but a bra, underwear and high heels, you have to expect people are going to crack up! If it hurts your feelings don’t do it anymore!

Arisztid's avatar

@Val123 I agree and, if it was me, I would not do it. I believe doing such a thing in public is disrespectful to those around you. It would be that way for a woman as well. The only exception offhand I can think of is nipping into a thrift store to pick up something for a Rocky Horror party that you had forgotten and, even then, cover up.

How I react to John’s reaction is, again, how I was raised… nothing more.

john65pennington's avatar

bunnygrl, thanks for the comeback. john

Val123's avatar

Uh…isn’t that what “changing” rooms are for? For people to change into something else? I think straight people should just stay out of “changing” rooms altogether!

Arisztid's avatar

@Val123 I think that would be impractical and result in a lot of merchandise returns :P ~

Val123's avatar

Wait. I have a question. Changing rooms are set up like women’s bathroom. Each person has their own little room. So….what would be the big deal if a transvestite was in there?

@Arisztid It was a joke! An awfully subtle and stupit one, but a joke non-the-less. I’m hungry. What should I have for lunch?

Arisztid's avatar

@Val123 I know it was a joke… that is why I did the ”:P ~” It actually was kind of a funny joke.

Likeradar's avatar

I wonder if one day we’ll ever look at this question in the way we would look at “how would you feel if you encountered a negro in a changing room.”

MacBean's avatar

@Likeradar I sure as hell hope so. And sooner would be better than later.

downtide's avatar

Thankyou for the answers everyone. Being pre-op transsexual myself (female to male) I get a LOT of hassle in places like these, to the point that I just don’t dare use any at all. I can’t even use public bathrooms unless I’m fortunate enough to find a unisex one, because I don’t pass adequately as either gender, and it’s really getting to me. I just wondered how widespread the reaction was.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@downtide I’m sorry people are so incapable

Val123's avatar

@downtide Ah. I’m sorry.

Hey you guys….I have a question and please don’t yell at me. What is the difference between a transsexual, a transvestite, and transgendered? I guess, for me, what it all comes down to, is if the person in question is sexually attracted to women then they shouldn’t be in the women’s dressing room, and vise-versa.

Val123's avatar

@downtide So….do you use the men’s dressing room, but you still look like a female? I can’t imagine any male objecting to that…..I’m interested to hear more about your experiences.

MacBean's avatar

Oh dear.

Transsexual and transgender are interchangeable terms which refer to individuals whose biological sex does not match their gender identity.

Transvestites are individuals who dress in clothing traditionally intended for the gender opposite their biological one.

Neither is necessarily dependent upon sexuality at all.

Likeradar's avatar

@Val123 if the person in question is sexually attracted to women then they shouldn’t be in the women’s dressing room, and vise-versa.
So… no lesbians in your changing room then?

Facade's avatar

@Likeradar Most women I know enjoy looking at a beautiful woman. I’d also like to know how @Val123‘s idea would work.

downtide's avatar

@Val123 I don’t look enough like a female to use the womens facilities, and I don’t look enough like a male to use the men’s. No matter which one I pick, someone will tell me I’m in the wrong one.

And sexuality has nothing to do with it, otherwise where would gay men and lesbians go? And what about bisexuals?

MacBean's avatar

@Facade It wouldn’t.

Facade's avatar

@MacBean Yea, I know.

Val123's avatar

I knew it. Gonna get yelled at.

Well, @Likeradar, it would make me uncomfortable if I knew there was a lesbian in the dressing room, just like it would make many men uncomfortable if they knew there was a homosexual in their dressing room. You guys can holler all you want, but that’s how I would feel.

@downtide, I understand the dilemma, and there is no right or wrong answer to it. I am sorry for the grief that others have cause you. What in the world do you say to people who call you on that?

downtide's avatar

@Val123 depends on the situation. Sometimes I say nothing at all, sometimes my reply to “You’re in the wrong one” is “No, I’m not.” It just depends how safe I feel at the time.

As for the sexual orientation issue, I don’t get why it bothers people so much. The usual argument is a straight man is afraid that a gay man is going to make a pass at him or sexually harrass him or something. But does the straight man make a pass at or sexually harrass every single woman he meets? No of course not (unless he’s got serious sociopathic issues and a dangerous lack of boundaries). So why should the gay man necessarily want to make a pass at or sexually harrass every man he sees? Gays and lesbians have boundaries too.

Val123's avatar

@downtide I know that, but I would still be very, very uncomfortable changing clothes in a room full of men, whether one of them made a pass at me or not. I didn’t particularly care for it in school either, when we had to change in the locker room in front of all the other girls.

BTW…you can use my bathroom if you need to!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Val123 Stop it with the victimhood, please

Val123's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Figured I see you here jumping on me, sooner or later! I’m sorry that you don’t like the fact that I feel uncomfortable changing my clothes in front of other people. However, that feeling doesn’t make me a victim, any more than anything else that makes me uncomfortable makes me a victim. If I was FORCED to undress in front of people against my will, then I would be a victim, but I did it of my own free will and I was somewhat uncomfortable. That does not make me a “victim.” It makes me a person who feels a certain way about certain things.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Val123 No, you saying I’m going to get yelled for this, then saying something ignorant, then saying ‘see, I got yelled for this’, blah blah blah is why I’m calling you a victim..and NOT because you feel uncomfortable.

MacBean's avatar

@Val123 Also, who’s yelling? People answered your questions and asked you some to explain your views/ideas…

KatawaGrey's avatar

I would just like to say that I think that all of these places should no longer be separated by gender. I personally wouldn’t care if I saw a man in the bathroom or in a changing room.

Val123's avatar

@KatawaGrey I wouldn’t care about the bathroom, because women’s stalls have doors. But….well, I guess I can’t see public changing rooms outside of a locker room or HS….what other kind of “changing” rooms are there?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Val123: Many stores have two sets of changing rooms, one for men and one for women even though people are in individual stalls.

downtide's avatar

Fighting in my question makes me a sad boy.

@KatawaGrey that would be a perfect solution. I’ve noticed it starting to creep in slowly – one of my local coffee-shops recently de-gendered its bathrooms.

@Val123 I was thinking mainly of sports centres, swimming pools, and also changing rooms in stores where you try on clothes before purchasing them, to see if they fit.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@downtide: Personally, I don’t see the issue. Women like to say, “Men will try and see me pee!” and men like to say, “But women go to the bathroom in droves! There would be no privacy!”

It’s all bull in my opinion. If a pervy guy wants to see women pee, he’s gonna do it even if he’s not allowed in the women’s bathroom and I don’t believe for a second that most men couldn’t get over having more people in the bathroom.

Also, it is appalling to me that urinals are not in stalls.

Val123's avatar

Right…OK, maybe a “fairer” question would be, “What would you do if you walked into the women’s bathroom and there was a man in there, and vise versa.” Unless they happen to KNOW you’re a transsexual, what else are they supposed to think? What else are they supposed to say, other than, “Excuse me. I think you may be in the wrong bathroom….” They could be thinking they’re doing you a favor, stopping you from becoming even more embarrassed by your apparent mistake….

Changing rooms in stores have individual stalls, though.

Fernspider's avatar

a) We are in stalls in changing rooms where we have privacy anyway – it has always puzzled me that they are divided by gender.
b) I often stand in the mens changing rooms at mens clothing stores when my partner is trying on clothes. I have not seen a penis to date. Probably because they are all in stalls.
c) I am a bisexual woman and do not perv on men or woman who are in changing rooms or woman getting changed at the gym. It is rude and disrespectful. Even if changing rooms (at the gym) are divided into gender specifics, there is certainly no way of controlling sexuality or determining another persons sexuality by sight.

Point… I personally have no issue with shared bathrooms and changing rooms. I personally feel uncomfortable getting naked in the gym changing rooms simply because I am not 100% comfortable with my body so I opt for changing in a stall. Simple.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Well, i’d assume that they’re transsexual and not think much further of the issue, besides the fact that they clearly (supposedly) identify as female, so i won’t have a problem with them there.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. I guess I would notice but I suppose I would not say anything more than pleasant hellos etc. I am not sure I would even recognize them as a transsexual and not just a cross dresser. I may want to ask for information sake but afraid that person would get offended and nasty so I would just try not to stare finish what I was doing and leave.

downtide's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central That’s a good reaction. Thankyou.

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