21

One claim that pops up quite often in the media is that allowing transgendered people to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity will lead to sexual harassment and sexual predation in what should be a safe space.

Donna Miller wrote for Americans For Truth claiming such events have already happened:

Supporters of these bills say that it is NOT transgenders committing the attacks. Critics of the bill say that predators will pretend to be transgender if it will give them access to victims. Here are stories that allegedly support that argument

Have there been situations of people pretending to be transgendered in order to sexually harass or assault women in female toilets?

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    Can we find anyone actually claiming that assault or harassment will go up if people are able to self-select a bathroom? – Oddthinking Dec 10 '15 at 4:39
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    Unisex toilet are super common, there's even a unicode symbol for them, 🚻 – Sklivvz Dec 10 '15 at 11:21
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    @EbenezerSklivvze Depends where you live, some places create gendered bathrooms even where the bathrooms are single occupancy and it makes no sense to separate by gender. – called2voyage Dec 10 '15 at 14:27
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    There is still a big difference between a claim of 'this could happen" versus 'this has happened before". We really try not to handle "this could happen" claims. – DJClayworth Dec 10 '15 at 16:23
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    @mikeglenndale I'm afraid you are mistaken, a transgender is not a transvestite in the least. – Sklivvz Dec 12 '15 at 2:52
17

This Media Matters article discusses the topic of transgendered individuals (or non-transgendered individuals pretending to be one) committing sexual assaults in public restrooms.

They interviewed a number of experts on the topic, and none of them were aware of any case of such sexual assaults occurring. A selection of the interviews are listed below:

In an email to Media Matters, Jim O'Neill, legislative liaison and spokesman for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights in Opportunities, reported no problems as a result of the state's non-discrimination law:

I am unaware of any sexual assault as the result of the CT gender identity or expression law. I'm pretty sure it would have come to our attention. [Email exchange, 3/6/14]

William Hoshijo, executive director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, told Media Matters in an email:

In Hawai`i, the protection against discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sex, including gender identity or expression, has not resulted in increase sexual assault or rape in women's restrooms. The HCRC is not aware of any incidents of sexual assault or rape causally related or attributed to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

Des Moines Police Department: "We Have Not Seen That." In an interview with Media Matters, Des Moines Police Department spokesman Jason Halifax stated that he hadn't seen cases of sexual assault related to the state's non-discrimination ordinance:

We have not seen that. I doubt that's gonna encourage the behavior. If the behavior's there, [sexual predators are] gonna behave as they're gonna behave no matter what the laws are.

Considering that a wide range of subject matter experts such as police officers and civil rights commissioners have not heard of any such incidents across the country despite the highly inflammatory and newsworthy nature of any such events, it is highly likely that no cases of sexual assault by transgendered individuals in public restrooms have ever occurred.

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    Does anyone really seriously believe that instead of just waiting until nobody is watching and then entering a women's bathroom in men's clothing, a potential predator would dress up in women's clothing, would then enter that bathroom in the open without worrying about being noticed and later recognised, and without worrying about the victim crying for help and help arriving? – gnasher729 Dec 16 '15 at 0:39
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    From the article you quote: "one depicted the supposed nightmare scenario of a young girl entering a toilet, to be followed moments later by a mustachioed man in a dress. " 1,000 times more likely that the poor girl is followed by a mustachioed man in shirt and trousers. – gnasher729 Dec 16 '15 at 0:41
  • @gnasher729 Apparently sufficient people believe that it is the case, otherwise this question wouldn't have been posed in the first place. – March Ho Dec 16 '15 at 1:35

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