In mid-July 2013, 56 percent of Americans favored the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which limited marriage to a man and a woman. Still, a large minority (41 percent) opposed the Court’s decision.[1]

In summer 2015, with gay marriage equality close to a done deal, transgenderism emerged as a hot topic. In June 2015, 45 percent of Americans regarded transgenderism as a moral issue, 39 percent regarded it as not a moral issue, and 16 percent didn’t know if it was a moral issue. However, of the 45 percent who regarded it as a moral issue, 14 percent regarded it as morally acceptable and 31 percent regarded it as morally wrong.[2]

Do people understand the difference between transgenderism and transvestitism? Are they assuming (incorrectly) that all or most transvestites are homosexual? Are they using this as a proxy for their feelings about homosexuality?

According to one recent poll, 54 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 think that transgender people should be allowed to use the public restroom that corresponds to their gender identification. In contrast, only 31 percent of Americans aged 45 and older think that transgender people should be allowed to use the public restroom that corresponds to their gender identification.[3]

In one sense, this is the standard story of progress across the generations. The older generation is less comfortable acknowledging change that seems more normal to younger generations. As it was with race and gender, so now it is with both sexual orientation and gender identification.

Still, there is something bizarre about this poll. There were almost 320 million Americans in 2014. There were maybe 700,000 people who identify as transgender. Most of them are in the closet. Unless you live in a major city, your chance of encountering a transgender person in a public restroom is virtually nil. Then, the majority of them are male-to-female identifiers.[4] So, they are guys dressed as women who have a reasonable belief that they can “pass.” (Otherwise they wouldn’t run the risk of going out “en femme.”) Women’s restrooms are all stalls with doors. (Why do you think the lines outside women’s restrooms are so long? Are the lines really for the mirrors? Aside from the fact that the idiot architects put the same number of toilets in both restrooms, but then put in a lot of urinals in men’s restrooms.) So how is any woman going to identify the person sitting in the stall next to them in women’s shoes as really a guy?

So, I conjecture that most of the people—older and younger—who object to transgender people using the public restroom of their choice are probably guys who are worried that some good-looking babe will walk in to the men’s room, stand at the next urinal, and lift the hem of her mini-skirt.

[1] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 19 July 2013, p. 15.

[2] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 19 June 2015, p. 15.

[3] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 13 March 2015, p. 17.


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