Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Men Are Much More Concerned Than Women about Transgender Women Using Female Bathrooms, Study Finds

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Men Are Much More Concerned Than Women about Transgender Women Using Female Bathrooms, Study Finds

Article excerpt

Men are much more likely than women to be concerned about letting transgender individuals use the public bathrooms of their choice -- particularly women's bathrooms -- according to an interesting study published this week in the journal Gender Issues.

The men's concerns seem to be linked to their views of themselves as women's "protectors," although transphobic attitudes -- particularly the belief that transgender men are lying or mistaken about their gender identity -- also seem to be involved. (Other research, including this study, has shown that men tend to be more transphobic than women.)

The fact that men don't normally use women's bathrooms makes their "heightened concerns about transgender females in female bathrooms particularly curious," writes Rebecca Stones, the author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at Nankai University in China and Monash University in Australia.

Analyzing comments

For her study, Stones analyzed 1,035 comments posted by readers in response to 190 online news articles on the topic of male-to- female transgender individuals using bathrooms designated for women. She narrowed her focus to this class of transgender people because the overwhelming majority of online comments on the topic are aimed at them.

Stones also focused on opinions regarding the safety and privacy of women in female bathrooms because that issue has also been at the center of the public debate on whether transgender individuals should be permitted to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Her analysis revealed that men were 1.5 times more likely than women to express concerns about the issue. Furthermore, when women did express concerns, they tended to be more restrained in their negativism and less intense with their language choices.

In the study's sample of comments, more than 70 percent of those posted by women were non-negative on the topic of transgender women using women's bathrooms.

In addition, the negative comments from women were much more likely than those of men to raise a specific worry that did not directly involve transgender women. That concern was that men falsely disguised as transgender women might start using women's bathrooms. Men commenters, on the other hand, tended to point to transgender women as being the main threat.

Men want to 'protect'

A major reason many men are concerned about transgender women using female-designated public bathrooms, Stones suggests, is because they see themselves as women's protectors, as evidenced by these types of comments:

I don't want some guy-turned-girl in a restroom while my wife is in there.

What about my daughter's rights to privacy in the bathroom?

I have a teenage daughter and I demand that her privacy is protected from a gender-confused pervert that might walk in on her while she's in the restroom! …

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