Women’s privacy is under attack

By M.A.Melby


You may have heard that a clothing-optional spa in Toronto turned away a trans woman and that has caused a stir. What you may not understand is why she was turned away. Articles explaining the situation often completely omit one very important detail: the trans woman who was booked at the spa was not planning to make her genitals anyone’s business.

While the spa is clothing-optional, there is no compulsory nudity. According to The Torontoist, “King asked if her wife were to wear clothing, would it be okay, and why they previously said they were a trans-inclusive facility.”

Regardless of this reality, as with past debunked stories, this story is being repeated over-and-over again as evidence that trans activists are trying to force the public into viewing penises under penalty of law. Of course, that is ridiculous but don’t let that stop the outrage machine. Unsurprisingly many trans women, just like many cis women, are uncomfortable viewing penises and aren’t keen on showing off their privates to folks who don’t want to see them. Perhaps in the future, our society will get over our hang-ups about that notorious flap of skin that makes it easier to pee standing up. Maybe one day all women’s bodies — cis, trans, and intersex– will be celebrated in their totality, but we all know that day isn’t today.

The truth is that the anti-trans lobby is the clear threat to women’s privacy in this case. The only way that a spa or other facility could enforce a no-penis policy is to violate women’s privacy in one of the most egregious ways possible: compulsory strip searches and/or the good old “feminist” crotch check.

How far has feminism fallen when we can’t even agree that a woman’s genitals are not anyone’s business unless she makes them someone’s business? How would you react if you were asked to prove to a place of business what your genitalia looked like as a requirement for entry, regardless of your own desired level of personal privacy? If you don’t see a problem with what the spa did to this woman, that is precisely what you are agreeing to. How is that respecting women? How is that viewing women as whole human beings?

You cannot disrespect and invade the privacy of trans women without disrespecting and invading the privacy of all women. Realize this isn’t a matter of competing interests. This issue is not trans rights vs. women’s rights. Trans women are women. Trans women’s rights are women’s rights. Knee-jerk support for crudely discarding women’s privacy is an example of how a small group of transmisogynistic feminists allows the hatred and fear of trans women to trump every and all other concerns, even their own. They are willing to sacrifice the fundamental rights of all women to avoid accepting trans women. That is bigotry, not feminism.

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M. A. Melby grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota. She studied physics and music as an undergraduate and applied physics and computer music composition at the graduate level. She currently teaches physics. During her college years, she was highly involved in student government and served as the Minnesota State University Student Association Cultural Diversity Representative from her campus. She is active on twitter and serves as a Block Bot administrator; frequently documenting online abuse. She was the lead author of the change.org petition presented by Secular Woman, asking the Southern Poverty Law Center to list Gender Identity Watch as a hate group.