That’s a dealbreaker


Earlier, Bobbie posted an update about the Helena Non-Discrimination Ordinance. And, in my first post on this blog, I’m going to strongly disagree with her on the preferred outcome related to the locker room amendment.

Bobbie believes that through compromise, this amendment could be modified to an acceptable level. I think this amendment is a dealbreaker and if it remains, is reason enough to oppose the ordinance as a whole.

Now, I want to throw a caveat into this assertion, and a little bit of wiggle room for me to admit that I might be wrong on this: I’m not a transgendered person; I will never assert that I know all of the experiences that a person goes through when dealing with the societal bias and stigma that transgendered people deal with on a daily basis.

That being said, I have a difficult time accepting an ordinance that could put any trans people in a more difficult position. Under her compromise position, Bobbie suggested,:

“the “locker room amendment” should be revised to preclude only those with socially inconsistent genitalia from revealing as much, from exposing such inconsistent genitalia.  To be clear, a pre-op transwoman could be excluded from the female locker room if she exposes her penis, and similarly a transman if he reveals the lack thereof in the male locker room.”

While I understand the sentiment that Bobbie is expressing, I don’t think this gets to the fundamental issue at hand. Currently, trans men and women often face a dilemma when deciding which locker room or restroom to use. This ordinance was introduced in order to make these sensitive situations more safe for all Helenans. I worry that this compromise amendment could leave some of our trans brothers and sisters behind.

Furthermore, there currently is no prohibition on trans people using their self-identified restroom or locker room. I worry that this amendment would codify a law which would leave some trans people in a worse position than when this debate started more than a year ago.

I want to restate though, I am not a trans person, so I’m not going to claim to understand the experiences they’ve been through. But, as a cisgendered homosexual person, I can’t handle the thought of knowing that my rights are being advanced, while the rights of others are being restricted in city code. That’s why, this amendment is a deal-breaker no matter your gender identity.

I hope that Commissioner Haque-Hausrath and Mayor Smith continue to oppose this amendment, and Commission Thweat changes his opinion on this measure.

6 comments on “That’s a dealbreaker

  1. Ken says:

    One thing your article did for me was to teach me about a word I have never heard…cisgender.
    It’s not that I’m out in rural America, I live in Boston and frequent a clinic where both employees and clients are transgendered and transsexual. For several years now, probably due to acceptance by the Fenway Community Health Center (yes, it’s directly across from Fenway Park), a largely LGBT medical clinic, transgendered and transsexuals have been a visible presence.

    During a dental appointment a few weeks ago I was surprised to see that the hygienist was transsexual. It seems to be a subject where there is much to learn. Your article is a great source of knowledge about these issues and what the social issues are. Hopefully you will continue to educate us to one of the lesser known aspects of our LGBT community.


    In the news here in Massachusetts there is a current situation where a doctor killed his wife after she found him wearing her clothes. He got life in prison and then fought for and got a sex change paid for by the state. Now she’s asking for the state to pay for her electrolysis. It does not appear that she will get it.

    I worked as a chaplain in a prison for several years and was surprised to see that trans people were better accepted in this all male environment than others, at least at the prison I worked in.
    My hunch is that the inmates who don’t get female contact each day accept them as women in their midst and won’t let anyone harm them. Interesting.


  2. Eric says:

    I totally respect everyone involved here, but the US did make a law to accept African Americans ONLY if they were of a certain shade of a color. Trans people come in all varieties. A lot of (I am using people from this point on because that is what we are) people will not go as far as surgery due to feeling they are accepting of themselves the way they are, they are who they are with the combination of genitals with surgeries, or for health reasons can not complete the process. What about intersex people? Are they supposed to do something about their genitals if they do not fit into the proper box in the gym? Really people on the council! How much do I/We have to bleed, suffer, be in emotional pain, have property damaged, loose jobs and have enough of the “normal” people see the suffering before you are satisfied that I/We have suffered enough to make u feel we have got what we deserve for being who we are?-To make u comfortable with YOUR warped ideas about what we have wrong between our legs? What is wrong is what is between u ears! You are only showing how ignorant and bigoted people can be. And the true moral values in your own hearts. Its all or nothing!!!!! Peace out! 🙂


  3. Marty Elizabeth says:

    It is often said that we are not asking for special rights, we are asking for equal rights. Legally separating Pre and post operated trans people and allowing one but not the other to feel comfortable and enjoy facilities as anyone else can, does not sound equall. It sounds more like perpetuating the oppression on trans people, the ridiculousness of a dichodumus gender identity spectrum, and the idea of superior ranking types within the trans community such as a pretransition, on hormons, full time/Pre op, or post op trans person.

    I do agree that there is an issue of readiness to be addresses here. Is Hellena ready to allow two women or men to sit naked next to each other in the locker room, sauna, or hot tub even if their genitalia is different. What would the reaction be from both individuals? Is the average non-LGBTQQI person ready for this? Is it wrong for a transgender person to reach a point where they are comfortable with their pre-operated genitalia where they can be publicaly nude? Should another person’s readiness affect and impeed another person’s rights from being equal? Again, are we not asking for equal rights?

    There seems to be a misunderstanding of sexual orientation where people think that one should be straight or gay. Finally people are starting to accept bisexuallity, but it is a slow prosses. In reality, it is a continuum and a person may fall anywhere in there. Very much in the same way there is a misunderstanding over gender identity. Even more people seem to be detained into thinking of it as a dichodumus option of woman or man. Yet it is also a continuum and people fall in different plases in that continuum. There are some that even fall in the middle. So then are we telling those that do not fall on the extremities thought by some as completed identities that until they are not completed as a person that they are not a completed citizen with completed equal rights? Equal rights… …


  4. silver price says:

    While I understand the sentiment that Bobbie is expressing, I don’t think this gets to the fundamental issue at hand. Currently, trans men and women often face a dilemma when deciding which locker room or restroom to use. This ordinance was introduced in order to make these sensitive situations more safe for all Helenans. I worry that this compromise amendment could leave some of our trans brothers and sisters behind.


  5. […] That’s a dealbreaker ( […]


  6. Bobbie Zenker says:

    Great comments, one and all, and I do appreciate them. I still don’t have the answer, but, we do have an inclusive (mostly) LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Helena, MT, and I must take that as a huge step forward for us all. Moreover, I cannot tell you enough how I deeply appreciate the expressed solidarity with my Gay brothers. And, I do think of you as just that way, for you are the family I now have – except, my Mom is till my Mom & she loves me, she does …


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