Relevant Myths & Truths
Myth: Only those born as, and living as women are harmed by sexualized violence.
Truth: Sexualized violence is a term that includes bullying, making harmful and violent comments about someone’s body or their perceived sexuality, sexualized assault (commonly thought of as rape), physical/ verbal/ emotional violence within an intimate relationship, discrimination and harassment through fear of ‘outing’ someone, and more. Those living as or perceived to be women face the majority of this violence. Additionally, anyone who does not seem to fit neatly into a male/ female category is also disproportionately targeted. This is a society wide issue but a group that is further marginalized and overly targeted for this violence is anyone who is trans, queer or appears gender-variant.
Myth: Washrooms and toilets are dangerous spaces where women may be harmed physically/ sexually.
Truth: Although there is an element of isolation in public washrooms that increase the opportunity for physical crimes like mugging/ stealing of personal property, sexualized violence itself is not normally a danger/ risk in these spaces. Research shows that all forms of sexualized violence, unfortunately, occurs (80 – 90% of the time) in familiar (home) or public surroundings (streets or parties), and are committed by people who are known to the survivor.
Myth: It makes people uncomfortable when a male enters a women’s bathroom, or when a female person enters a men’s bathroom.
Truth: Most of the time, people are not aware when someone who is not cis-gendered (That is, they were born male or female as medically defined/ live that way/ consider themselves that same gender/ outwardly conform in that way) enters a room. People are uncomfortable, more often, when someone looks like they don’t belong in a space that has strict expectations of gender.
Myth: The problem of violence against trans and gender-variant folks can be solved by offering them separate facilities and a space to organize and gather together.
Truth: Having separate spaces like bathrooms that are labelled or delineated as ‘for trans-people’ actually decrease safety. Further, while separate spaces are a first step in creating safety at the present moment, everyone is safer when there are fewer expectations of what kind of person can use what space, especially based on appearances.
You can download this information: PDF pamphlet about Gender inclusive Washrooms.