The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Transgender people should be able to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify as

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,165 times Debate No: 58794
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)




I will argue that transgender people deserve to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify as, not the sex they were born with. I believe it does society no harm if this is allowed.

First Round:

Second Round:

Third Round:
Closing Arguments

No semantics. Burden of proof is on both sides. Have fun.



I accept the challenge against the resolution that "Transgender people should be able to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify as" but I would exclude the part that this is just because it means no harm for society.
If that's fine with my opponent?
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting the debate. It is absolutely fine if you would like to leave the "harmful to society" bit out, it is a bit broad.


Transgender- “of, relating to, or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth”

Cisgender- "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity"

Gender- “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex”

Sex- “either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures”

Contention 1: Transgender people should be regarded as the gender they identify as.

People who are transgender and suffer from gender dysphoria feel they were born in the wrong body. They feel that their biology does not match up with their brain. This can cause them to become depressed and, often times, suicidal.[1] [2] The way most doctors go about treating this issue is by offering therapy and the option of transitioning (hormones, surgery, etc.) into the gender they feel they are. I'd like to make an important note that people who suffer from gender dysphoria are not simply people who do not wish to conform to conventional gender roles. They are not, for example, men who prefer "feminine" things to "masculine" things, and then reach the conclusion that they must become female as a result. It does not work that way. It goes much deeper than that. Indeed, a girl can be very conventionally feminine and still experience gender dysphoria, they would just prefer to be be a very feminine boy.

Some people would argue that people who suffer from gender dysphoria just need to learn to love and accept themselves. The problem with this argument is that gender dysphoria in these situations is not the result of self-esteem problems (though it can certainly cause self-esteem problems). You can’t compare a transgender person suffering from gender dysphoria to someone who thinks they aren’t beautiful enough by societal standards. It’s not the same thing. This is about identity, not vanity.

It’s important to emphasize that it’s not a matter of transgender people wanting to be the other gender, it’s them already feeling that they are the other gender. It would be the equivalent of me (a cisgender female) all of a sudden waking up with male parts, I wouldn’t feel all that happy about it. I would probably feel deeply uncomfortable with it, and not just because I’ve lived my entire life as a female, but because it’s how I identify. I don’t identify as a male, so why would I want those parts? It’s something cisgender people take for granted, the fact that our minds match our bodies. We assume that this is the natural way for everyone, but it’s not.

Contention 2: Transgender people should not be forced to use the bathrooms of the gender they do not identify as.

Forcing trans people to use bathrooms of the gender they don’t identify as does not keep problems and disruptions from occurring. Indeed, there have been cases where cisgender people were mistaken as another gender and kicked out of the bathroom. [3] [4] I can see this being a problem for trans people as well. A trans woman who presents in a feminine way being forced to use the men’s room may get kicked out if people don’t realize she’s trans, and then what are her options?

But, most importantly, this comes down to respecting an individuals dignity. It would be very understandable that a trans-man would feel uncomfortable using the women’s bathroom and that a trans-woman would feel uncomfortable using the men’s bathroom for the same reasons why a cisgender woman wouldn’t feel comfortable being forced to use the men’s room or a cisgender man wouldn’t feel comfortable being forced to use the woman’s room.

Contention 3: It does not harm anyone.

Allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify as will not create danger for anyone. Many people say that cisgender women would not feel comfortable with trans-women using their bathrooms. But this is most likely due to their own ignorance of trans-women and probably transgenderism in general. And why should cisgender women’s feelings on this issue be more important than trans-women’s feelings? Certainly trans-women wouldn’t feel comfortable using a men’s bathroom where they are completely out-numbered.

One of the most commonly stated reasons why people are not comfortable with the idea of transgender people using the bathrooms of the gender they identify as is that it would allow cisgender men to dress as women, walk into a women’s bathroom, and pose a potential threat to the women in that bathroom. While there is always a possibility of this happening, I doubt it will actually become a real problem. The fact is, if a man wants to walk into a bathroom and sexually assault a woman, he’ll probably want to make sure that his potential victim is by herself. He won’t want to do it with a bathroom full of potential witnesses. So, if no one is around to see him (besides his potential victim), it’s not going to really matter if he’s in drag or not when he enters the bathroom. At the end of the day, unfortunately, keeping trans women from using the women’s bathroom will not stop men from sexually assaulting women. If we want to stop that, or put a nice dent in it, we’d have to go about it another way (but that’s for another discussion.)






Why transgender people should not automatically be allowed to use the bathroom of the sex, they identify with.

This breaks down to the question why bathrooms are separated at all. For a modern day person is this probably not as obvious and therefore it makes sense to wish for more acceptance of transgender people in the bathroom of their choice.

Reason 1 | Use of bathrooms for more than just hygienic relieve

In public, bathrooms are the only room where people can create a minimum space of privacy. They use it to change and wash themselves, partly exposing parts of their body that they don't want to show in public for different reasons such as personal shame or religion.
I am not going to argue that personal shame is a reason for the exclusion of transgender people as they are most likely experiencing this shame themselves, are they forced to use the bathroom of the sex which whom they not identify.
But religion is to a certain extend something we have to take in account. To provide a public space where religious people can full fill their basic human needs is as well crucial for them as it might be to transgender people. A bathroom is the only public space where religious men and woman have this clear separation and denying that space is as well cruel for them as it is for transgender people. I see it as a draw. There.
Respecting the wishes of transgender people on something they physically do not need ties with respecting the wishes of other people on something they don't necessarily need.

So who has more right to get his wish fulfilled? Mathematically this point could be already decided in favour of the majority demanding separated bathrooms over shared bathrooms, but I want to go further on this by showing that there are realistic benefits for the society to have these separated bathrooms.

Reason 2 | protection of woman

If you enter a male bathroom as a woman you might experience some growling and sarcasm. Men don't want to have "women" in their bathroom because they think they occupy stalls and extend the lines on the male bathroom. Woman are physically unable to use some installments of the male bathroom and due to limited space fewer stalls are available compared to the female bathroom this is a valid assumption.
We might argue that allowing female-born transgender men to enter the male bathroom can be of technical inconvenience or of financial disadvantage (to add enough stalls), but it's in balance not the most important obstacle that prevents Pro's resolution.

If you enter a female bathroom as a male you face strong rejection. Woman react scared and defensive. This subjective reason is of practical use for woman. Do I feel sexually harassed as a young female, going to the bathroom is giving me an effective way to get some rest and security. It's beneficial that I can go to the toilet and any male who enters will be watched suspiciously or thrown out by my fellow females.
As rape is rather difficult (not impossible but more difficult to carry out) to perform in a woman-woman situation is the concept of separated bathrooms a public concept that deserves protection.

There are people planning their sexual assault but also just drunks who get carried away. The first one will not be effectively prevented from carring out his/her plan just by separated bathrooms. The later one might on the other hand. Going to the bathroom and making a clear cut between the spaces can serve the visuable "no" girls might not want to speak out loud.

As there are still more females with rape and sexual harassment background than males it is also important to understand that their claim on separated bathrooms is of higher value than those of transgender people who have not experienced trauma of such kind.

Conclusion | Considering the benefit of the separated bathroom concept, transgender people should respect this separation till the time has come and shared bathrooms are socially accepted and respect the personal interest of woman on having their private bathroom.

I thank my opponent for this debate. I want to underline that I understand the problems of transgender people but I think there are better ways to support their position than to declare their use of the bathroom of their choice as unproblematic

I also thank my opponent for providing all necessary definitions for this debate. I would like to add that this debate focuses (as far as I can assume) on transgender people that have not undertaken surgery to convert their body according to the sex of their identiy.
A man looking male and acting male is not of any particular poblem in a male bathroom because for the time being, nobody will ever notice. And any female, once being male, is not of any particular danger to other females. Physiology should not be a weapon or object to put pressure on someone, but as reality allows it, we have to rationally consider it.

Debate Round No. 2


Opponents Argument: Reason 1

My opponent argues that to keep religious people from having public bathrooms as a "clear separation" between men and women is just as cruel as keeping transgender people from being able to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify as. I would argue that If transgender people are only left with the option of using bathrooms of the gender they don't identify as, that brings up many problems than just being slightly discomforted in their day to day lives.

First, as I pointed out in my previous argument, there have been cases of cisgender women being thrown out of women's bathroom because they presented as butch and were mistaken for men. I imagine many transgender males would have similar experiences of being mistaken for men while using women's bathrooms and being kicked out.

Secondly, transgender people also face a huge risk of violence against them. [1] This is true especially among transgender women. [2] To give transgender women the only option of using the men's bathroom is not a fair idea. It simply isn't safe for them, it would make them a very bold target.

As I mentioned in my previous argument, gender dysphoria leads to depression and often times suicide. The only way to treat gender dysphoria is to allow those suffering from it to identify and present as the gender they feel they are. To not allow them the ability to use the public bathroom they feel more comfortable using will just stir up feeling of gender dysphoria, and would be a disruption to their treatment. It simply would be degrading to them as human beings.

Religious people will always have a choice to use a public bathroom without the worry of being kicked out or disrupted by others once they are in there. However, transgender people do not share that same luxury. For the reasons I stated above, transgender people would not be able to comfortably and safely use any public bathroom, there would always be the threat of being kicked out or harassed.

Opponents Argument: Reason 2

My opponent argues that if transgender men are allowed to use the men's bathroom, it would cause longer lines, and more occupied stalls which would come as an inconvenience to the cisgender men using the bathroom. Transgender people make up around 0.3% of the population [3], so cisgender men should not fear longer lines to the bathroom nor should they fear too many stalls being occupied at a time. Essentially, if we allowed transgender men to use the men's bathroom, you won't see much of an increase of traffic in those bathrooms. Also, keeping in mind, many transgender males do use stand to pee devices, so they do have the option of using the urinals as well.[4]

My opponent then argues that women will feel uncomfortable with transgender women using the women's bathroom. As I mentioned in my previous argument, the fears of allowing transgender women to use the women's bathroom are not necessarily rational. If a man wants to attack a woman, dressing up as a woman, and going into a public restroom to do so is a bit of a stretch. In places where transgender people do have protections to use the public bathrooms they choose to, there have been no increase in sexual violence against cisgender women. [5]


I believe it would do more harm than good to continue to not allow transgender people to use the public bathrooms of the gender they identify as. There is still a lot of ignorance surrounding transgender people, but we should not give into that ignorance. We can't simply wait until social acceptance comes to transgender people before we allow them to use the bathrooms they wish to. That type of progress does not happen by proxy. It takes a lot of pushing, and educating. The debate surrounding this issue of public bathrooms is a very good place to educate, and to push people to rethink some of their ideas.

I would also like to thank my opponent for her arguments, and I will give her the final word.




Rebuttal | Transgender choice on bathrooms would not cost us anything in terms of infrastructure
This assumes that there won't be a dispute about making both bathrooms equally accessible for both. What about Urinals in Female Bathrooms for trangender female and intersex people who don't seem themselves as any gender and would also claim the choice?
Best case, law suits have to be fought and lost, worst case, places will be forced to update their bathrooms in favour of subjective need. Sexual Harassment complains are also likely to raise, when unknowing whether a person is transgender male/female or someone taking advantage of transgender peoples choice. All this is not cost free and has to be considered.

Rebuttal | Security for women is not undermined
A man, dressed up as a woman, going into the female bathroom with the intention to assault woman there is an exception. It requires planing and preparation (costume, when and who), while sexual harassment and spontaneous violence are much more likely as they require only situational triggers such as alcohol or mood.
These larger and second group is much more stoppable with the doors of a female bathroom. It's not an actual way to prevent the violence but it's a psychological trick against being harassed, as the shutting of a door to a room that man feel not welcome to and will encounter communal rejection is can replace a individual spoken rejection.
If Pro argues that transgender female should be allowed to the female bathroom for their security than this means that the female bathroom is a save place for woman. Yet the reason that transgender female can't go to that place is the reason that it would be a save place for them. Means: as soon as we start ignoring the boundaries of separated bathrooms, there is no stopping of violence against transgender female by males nor a place for cisgender woman to feel save and private.
Transgender people can't avoid the problem of violence (verbal or physical) against them by using the other bathroom, as they will bring this problem with them. And they will undermine the psychological factor for the security of the majority of women in a female bathroom, by doing so.

Rebuttal| The claim of religious people on separation is weaker than transgender peoples wish on free choice
As Pro argued, there is an average of about 0,3% trangender people within our society who have an subjective claim on using the bathroom of their choice. This stands against 32% world population of Christians, 23% Muslims and about 15% Hindus (including 0,2% Jews) [1] which all hold rules that underline gender segregation.
Transgender people have no physical need to go to the bathroom of their choice. Nor are Muslim woman are physically prevented from using the same bathrooom as a male. Both claims are equally subjective.
It's neither true nor fair to assume that the emotional stress of one group is generally higher than for the other. A Muslim woman who is not able to change herself or deal with her mensturual bleeding due to realistically "shared" bathrooms can encounter similar forms of disgust and insecurity. Such as transgender female's suicide cannot be solely nailed down to being forced to use the male's bathroom, the stress of religious people is as well worth considering.
That transgender people feel insecure and have identity problems is as well real as irrelevant. Society can not be forced to adapt to personal issues such as psychological disorders. That area is to complex and unforeseeable. What society can be forced to is accepting these issues and not making it worse. In other words: Violence against transgender people is unjust. But that does not justify changing infrastructure to make up for that.
Fairness is not aimed to make everything enjoyable for everyone. It aims to give everyone what they need. Transgender people and religious (and ideological people who support separated bathrooms personally) have equally no need and rightful claim on either form of bathroom. As we can't emphasize and fulfill the desires of all minorities, transgender people have to accept that they are part of a large group of people who don't like to go to public toilets.

We have a saying in germany that relates to "putting the cart before the horse". Transgender people have a difficult stand in society. Society rejects the idea of them using the bathroom of their choice. Forcing people to accept them in any bathroom won't be able to prevent effectively the hate against transgender people. Undermining security that is proportionally more important (as applying to the majority of cisgender women) for a short visit of a public restroom is out of proportion and doesn't serve the purpose of teaching acceptance by education over force.

Finally I want to thank Pro. Though I disagree with your resolution I regard the debate itself as highly important to provide this education about transgender people and their desires and life challenges. Understanding where we can help in a way that doesn't influence our own life is the first step. What we might do that influences the majorities daily life is our free choice but not compulsary and should not come prior to the first step.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
But well... valid is valid. The source reasonIng is what I would question. To source details about transgender people is manly making quantity. This debate was never a scientific debate and rarely any psychological material was used so I am bit unhappy there. Everything else makes sense.
Grammare and Spelling ARE my weakness in the 7-point-system :)
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
Usually I am okay with being voted against but in this case (especially after reading the explanation) do I get the feeling that DaltonIan awarded some points just to ensure my opponents overall win. Reading the reasoning here I would have expected this to end in a draw. That feels a bit manipulated.
Posted by Daltonian 2 years ago
I'll try to be as brief as I can whilst still explaining my decision to full satisfaction:

- S&G: Pro, schachdame's argument was ridden with non-spellcheck mistakes like "relieve" over "relief", "woman" over "women", and a plethora of things like that.

- Sources: Pro, pro provided more sources than con. All sources were reliable, but the ratio was 9 for Pro versus 1 for con.

- Conduct: Both sides had good conduct. Tie.

- Arguments: Hardest part of the debate to judge. Both sides argued well, but I felt one side did better. Con never really did refute Pro's points from the opening round of debates. I found that Pro's arguments and Con's arguments both had validity, but Pro's were all around more applicable by my opinion. I was more convinced that the right of Transgender people to basic hygienic alignment with their gender was more important than religious people were so oppressed that public bathrooms were their last place of sanctity. The other points were neck and neck, though I was slightly more swayed to Con on the "danger to women" topic.

All in all, I feel the victor of this debate is Pro by a sufficient margin in some areas and a very slim margin in some others.

Good debate to both sides.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago

Well, it was certainly an interesting debate, though I think both sides suffer from a dearth of certain arguments. Pro's arguments lacked sufficient links between bathroom usage and better outcomes. Con's arguments lacked impact analysis, though much of that came up in R3. I think Con introduced some new arguments in R3 as well, which I don't factor in.

Realistically, this is a comparison of two major impacts. One is preventing harms by abuse and self-loathing that occur in the status quo, which is Pro's major argument. The second is preventing harms to the larger community of individuals by allowing these individuals to invade those private spaces. I think Con shows that Pro's impact is mitigated by concerns of religious individuals, but Pro does show larger harms. The lack of a link scenario, however, is the big problem here. I think this argument is effectively stated, but given that the only way they're being given recognition is through restrooms, it seems like you're claiming quite a bit off of a small change.

The links for Con's impact is far clearer. The possibility of harms to women seems straightforward to me, even though I can think of several reasons why it's not true that aren't brought up in the debate. Even if there's just a perception that any one of these people entering the restroom could theoretically present a physical danger, it's a huge issue, and one that can't be ignored. I think the links here are more solid, and since the responses I see only function based on someone who is coming in with a plan (something that seems possible even in status quo), I can see a distinct harm here that doesn't exist without the plan. Hence, I vote Con.
Posted by IndianaFrank 2 years ago
Here is a reality check. I worked for a company that had a (born) man and he had the sex change surgery and became a woman. The female employees did not want he/she in there restroom. The men did not want he/she in there's. They built a separate bathroom for he/she.

Then one day he tried to call in sick claiming that it was his/her time of the month and he had cramps. As for the harm part this is not like changing the channel when you don't like the programming.
Posted by rhetoric 2 years ago
TransparanetAna, I appreciate your point of view. But the old "if they don't like it, they can leave" argument should have died a long time ago. It doesn't stand up to critical thought.

For an absurdist example of where this line of logic can lead, let's imagine a group of pornography enthusiasts started loudly broadcasting sexually explicit movies from their laptops or mobile phones while sitting outside the public park in your neighborhood. Since young children frequent these parks, you decide to speak up and ask the local perverts to take their smut somewhere else. Their response?

"If you are so disturbed by what you are seeing and hearing, you can leave if it's really that critical to you."

Still think this is a reasonable way to determine whether conduct is socially acceptable?
Posted by TransparentAna 2 years ago
The question deals with people who are transgender being able/allowed ti use a public restroom based on what they identify as. Other than others discomfort I can't think of one single, viable reason as to why they should not be granted this choice. Either way there is always the chance of someone being uncomfortable...if someone is so disturbed by what they see they can leave if it really was that critical to them. Imagine being diagnosed as transgender, and having limited respect and resources in today's society. At least give them to go the bathroom that makes life a little smoother for them. No harm, no trouble...and I personally believe that brain structure/wiring determines gender, not what's down below.
Posted by rhetoric 2 years ago
Harms are a critical if sticky part of this debate. The debate is not just rights vs. rights, it is rights vs. rights + ostensible harms. PRO has already pointed out that one of the main objections typically raised here revolves around potential harm to cisgendered restroom users.

That said I think I understand the reluctance to make harms the focus; much of that debate would involve sheer speculation, or could devolve into debating who suffers more. I appreciate the effort to focus on rights.

Lastly, I would like to suggest that both sides assume that identifying as transgender is a legitimate position. Else this simply becomes an extension of the more foundational question "is transgender identity legitimate or a misguided construct of society?"
Posted by Fereska 2 years ago
Damn I was gonna take this the moment I saw it but it was already taken.. Nice topic btw.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
Note; sorry, did not specify my reasons: I think we will just loose ourselves on debating what is actually "harmful" to society; but I it's of course fine if you think that is the central feature.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Daltonian 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.