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Friday, September 7, 2007

Peeing is Fundamental

posted by on September 7 at 16:14 PM

From today’s Seattle Times

Two transgender individuals attending a weekend conference in Seattle were kicked out of a men’s bathroom at Pacific Place and then ejected from the downtown mall in what could become a significant test involving transgender people under the state’s year-old gay-rights law.

The Aug. 31 incident led about three dozen people who were attending the Gender Odyssey Conference at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center to march on the mall in protest on Labor Day, staging what they called a “pee-in” at the fourth-floor bathrooms.

The two female-to-male transgender people involved in the incident weren’t arrested but said they were mortified as a security guard led them down escalators as shoppers gawked and pointed.

“I don’t think straight people can truly understand the gravity of what this means emotionally,” said Sean, one of the two. He and the other man, his friend Simon, both asked that their last names not be used.

Peeing is basic,” Sean said. “Anyone who feels a need to use a bathroom should be able to do so without someone rapping on the stall while your pants are down around your ankle.”

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“Anyone who feels a need to use a bathroom should be able to do so without someone rapping on the stall while your pants are down around your ankle.”

You hear that Larry Craig?

Posted by Beau | September 7, 2007 4:30 PM

Yeah, I caught this one too. It's bullshit, and it's typical of a Stuart Sloan mall. I used to work at University Village and the security guys there did things like follow homeless people around and chase them off the property if they tried to use the mall bathrooms. The underlying goal is to get rid of anyone who might make a shopper from Hunt's Point uncomfortable.

Posted by Judah | September 7, 2007 4:44 PM

I can't believe they were even attending a Gender Odyssey conference and STILL were harassed at the malls. Lame. They should go to Hooters for dinner

Posted by Katelyn | September 7, 2007 4:59 PM

Playing devil's advocate, what's wrong with a private establishment (the mall) chasing off transients and undesirables if it helps maintain business?

And as a response, those excluded should protest outside, make a huge stink, and make it clear that the above discrimination will result in some terrible PR for the mall that acts like an ass.

Posted by Nick | September 7, 2007 5:00 PM

Yeah, I said earlier that all this development (Pacific Place being a recent addition to Seattle) IS breeding a new wave of conservatism in Seattle.

This is totally sick that they kicked them out. I would suggest we protest but this is Slog, who would show up?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | September 7, 2007 5:14 PM

Nick & Judah

I think you're both missing the point w/ respect to "chasing off the homeless."

The mall is not there as a social service agency. It is not even there as part of the collective "commons" enjoyed by all citizens. It IS private property, designed to sell things.

And, SURPRISE!, "people from Hunts Point" buy more things than the homeless. Thus, anything that makes the obscenely wealthy will not be tolerated. And ya know? That's their business, and it's OK.

Now if you, as a private citizen and owner of property with a bathroom, want to encourage the homeless to come to your house to pee - you rock!

Posted by SNort | September 7, 2007 5:15 PM

That should read

"obscenely wealthy UNCOMFORTABLE will not be tolerated."

Posted by SNort | September 7, 2007 5:25 PM

THE FUCKING POINT is they are chasing transgendered people away. For the love of whatever, can you people EVER FUCKING FOCUS ON THE ISSUE???

Posted by Just Me | September 7, 2007 5:41 PM

Those mall people are just retarded. I feel terrible for those transgendered folk. I hope they sue the mall for all its worth and WIN!

Posted by Kristin Bell | September 7, 2007 5:50 PM

@6. I agree, and I understand that point: its private property, and they are totally allowed to tell the homeless to buzz off. They can even tell regular shoppers to go away as well, and chasing off the Transgendered is also within their rights. I believe that private property is private property.

Those who disagree can protest, on the public land (streets/sidewalks) nearby, and shame them publicly, if they feel strongly about the issue. They have the RIGHT to deny the use of their bathrooms, just as John Q. Public has the right to bitch about it. It might just make regular shoppers uncomforatable with sponsoring an intolerant mall.

Posted by Nick | September 7, 2007 5:51 PM

@9. I hope they don't sue. Take it to the streets, not the courts. Honestly, they can do a lot more financial damage by driving customers away than by suing.

Posted by Nick | September 7, 2007 5:57 PM

There are a couple of problems with the tidy unregulated-capitalism analysis.

The first problem is that, though I don't know the legal specifics, there are limits on a business's right to refuse service (cf. black people, lunch counters, and the whole civil rights movement).

The second problem is, I don't care what their legal status is, shopping malls are de facto part of the collective commons. They are huge, there tends to be only one of them within a certain amount of square milage, and they must have gotten all that land from the city somehow. They're kind of like the Boy Scouts. Trying to pretend that they're just a private organization doesn't wash.

Posted by Margaret L. | September 7, 2007 6:31 PM

The Seattle City Code prohibits discrimination in accommodations based on just about everything you can think of. So Phyllis Schafley was right all along. Approximately ten years ago a M-
F TG was busted and prosecuted for changing clothes in the women's room at the Broadway Market! Based upon the City Code, she was found not guilty.

Posted by Algernon | September 7, 2007 6:44 PM

do y'all really not know the difference between trannies and transients, or is #8 right and you are completely unable to comprehend the fact that not everyone is talking about what you happen to be thinking at any given moment?

Posted by chuckles | September 7, 2007 6:55 PM

It's private property. Mabey they don't want deviants and/or bums ruining the atmosphere.

Posted by ektachrome | September 7, 2007 7:11 PM

Since when does being a transgendered person make you a deviant or a bum?

On another note: I'll bet these guys would've gotten the boot if they'd used the ladies room too. No men allowed in there. I think if I were transgendered I'd try to always use the family restroom (assuming one were available). Of course, then I'd probably get thrown out for not bringing a family.

Posted by CoriR. | September 7, 2007 7:38 PM

You're right, Dan. Peeing IS fundamental. Unfortunately we, supposedly the most advanced country on this god-forsaken rock called Earth, have yet to grasp this. If you have to pee downtown, you are limited to bathrooms that are by and large located on private property (and therefore unavailable to the homeless, trannies, or others perceived to be on the edges of society), which is why our downtown alleys reek of stale piss (though I think the homeless, and not trannies, are more the issue there). I mean, walk up Pike on a hot summer day - crossing each alley is a head-turning experience. If we can't get it together enough to address the fundamental need to urinate, how can we expect Pacific Place to treat peeing trannies with respect?

Also, protesting won't do shit. The TG/TS community should hold a guerilla pee-in at Pacific Place.

Posted by rb | September 7, 2007 8:30 PM

I hate malls. The few times Ive been in an upscale mall it just reenforced my idea that capitalism sucks, and that people who feel the need to over-consume are ruining our planet. Please check out Rev. Billy is an activist out of New York City and is most famous for his disdain for Starbucks and Wal-mart. Malls like the ones the transgendered people were kicked out of encourage a bland "monoculture".

Posted by mallssuck | September 7, 2007 8:51 PM

Newsflash: Real men don't pee in stalls. That includes you, Mr. Trendy Calvin Klein Boxer Briefs Without a Fly Sissy.

Posted by tighty whitey | September 7, 2007 9:06 PM

Why did KOUW report that the mall said the two weren't ejected because they were transgender but because they'd created some kind of disturbance? Was that just men in the bathroom reacting to them?

Posted by momster | September 7, 2007 9:07 PM

The problem with "it's private property, the right way to handle it is to make a stink" is that it doesn't work for minorities and people who are discriminated against. There aren't enough of us to make a big stink, and if you did get that many of us together the cops would come and throw us in jail. The problem with discrimination against minorities is that the majority isn't affected and mostly don't care about the stink. That's why the law restricts the things private companies can discriminate based on.

Stated as a general principle, unregulated capitalism sometimes leads to systematic injustices; regulation and laws are necessary to reduce these injustices.

Posted by T. | September 7, 2007 9:36 PM

The reason Sloan's treatment of transients is relevant is because his treatment of tranies is based on the same arbitrary distinction with regard to who has a right to be in his malls; if not transients and tranies then why not blacks or Latinos. Why not women who wear pants?

The answer in some cases is, "Because it's expressly forbidden by State law." But the moral question remains.

If someone wants to remove people who do something inappropriate, that may be a right we all agree they should have. But do we also believe they should have the right to remove people who are something inappropriate?

I guess some readers here do. I don't.

Posted by Judah | September 7, 2007 9:44 PM

You still here Savage? I thought you were going to Iraq as war correspondent for this piece of shit newspaper you edit. You helped Bush start the war and now you won\'t even report it. Fucking coward!!

See \"Say yes to war\" article by Mr Savage Oct. 2002

Posted by .... | September 7, 2007 11:36 PM

Malls are quasi public spaces - the town squares of our era ... in theory.Can't forbid political activity, but can designate specific spaces.

SGN was there at the the big Trans conf. and has great front page coverage just out FRI - on line SAT. The Times covered it second hand.

Yes, the Trans folks were activist and did a true Pee IN, well attended approx. forty FTMs, the first Pee IN in the country and the mall people caved. The FTMs took over the mens room and told security to go to hell. After all had peed - orderly, just chanting and peeing, the delegated negotiating committee went to the office of management and had a good parlez.

All is cool and the mall people are so sorry, getting educated and looking at policy, etc - victory for the Trans community, and it all happened in Seattle.

Gotta love the guts and balls of it all ... Trans Active, has a ring.

Now they need to sue and see if malls are public accommodations as the door is open and the public roams at will - seems VERY public.

Posted by Robert | September 7, 2007 11:47 PM

I think it is pretty funny that someone who goes to any kind of protest event is then "mortified" when they get hustled off. Isn't that what they were expecting and or hoping for?

If they don't get hustled off, how is it even a "pee-in?" Isn't it just then a couple of people in a bathroom that no one notices?

Also, if these two want to be taken seriously as men they are going to have to get over the idea that peeing involves your pants at your ankles. That is only for three to five year olds. If they haven't had any sort of penis attached perhaps they should buy one of those lovely funnels.

Posted by Jim | September 8, 2007 12:33 AM

I just realized that I misread the article. The fact that they were hustled off led to the pee in. Sorry.

Well, my point about peeing standing up still, uh ... stands.

Posted by Jim | September 8, 2007 12:40 AM

It doesn't matter whether it is a mall or not. I work for King County. There are two transgendered females that use the women's restroom in my building- until a year ago. They were harassed by other women in the bathroom. They felt it was just easier to change work places.
One woman claimed that she "Didn't want perverts looking at her!" I told her that she was an ass. Do transgenders look over stalls? NO. After all, how many straight men have been incriminated for stalking or camera placement in women's bathrooms?
It is entirely a case of different= freak= pervert. The line in the sand is this; going to the bathroom is a right- not a privaledge; it is a federally guaranteed right in the workplace.

Posted by kat | September 8, 2007 4:06 AM

I am still disturbed by a the whole "pee in" thing. I don't have anything against the the whole TG-TS crowd, but I can imagine I would be freaked out if a bunch of trannies invaded the restroom while I taking a piss, minding my own business. It's like getting mind raped by Carrot Top.

Posted by rizzo | September 8, 2007 6:35 AM

Public or private I don't think any venue such as this could get away with jim crow in this day and age.

Posted by msw | September 8, 2007 7:51 AM

I agree with #28: Keep your politics out of my pissoir.

Posted by skirt-wearing straight | September 8, 2007 8:35 AM

#29: FTM is a choice.

Posted by wendy carlos | September 8, 2007 8:36 AM

Did I just hear that there's going to be a protest? Time to get out my big puppets, bongos, and Free Mumia signs. Sweet!

Posted by sleestak | September 8, 2007 9:35 AM

its the same as if a mall started to kick gay people out of their malls because they would scare away rich people from the suburbs.... how does everyone not see that. they should protest AND sue, at worst the court case would get thrown out. but either they should build some unisex/transgendered bathrooms or quit discriminating against the transgendered. this is why we need civil rights protections for the gay-bisexual-transgendered community!

Posted by war pigs | September 8, 2007 10:46 AM

"The first problem is that, though I don't know the legal specifics, there are limits on a business's right to refuse service (cf. black people, lunch counters, and the whole civil rights movement)."

And those limits, while well-intended, are nevertheless a horrific violation of individual liberty, and, at least insofar as they stem from federal laws, unconstitutional to boot. As Barry Goldwater said (not saying the man was right about everything, just about this), "You can't legislate morality."

Posted by Christopher | September 8, 2007 12:41 PM

fuck you @25

not all men can stand to pee for a host of reasons.

Posted by craig brownson | September 8, 2007 4:36 PM

Aww, did the failure of someone's funnel make him a widdle bit grouchy?

Posted by Jim | September 8, 2007 6:37 PM

"Transgendered" people weren't being discriminated against. If I wanted to use the lady's room, the security guards would have kicked me out too. Does it really matter that I would be more comfortable in a lady's room which I understand to be universally cleaner than men's rooms? If I believe myself to be a boiler mechanic employed by the mall, does that give me a right to enter the mall's boiler room? What if Michael Jackson's bizarre surgeries were designed to make him look just like someone currently employed as the mall's boiler mechanic because he believes himself to be that mechanic--is he now entitled to enter the boiler room? No, that would make him insane--not a person who needed "person" or "race" reassignment surgery to make him the person he always felt he was born to be.

Posted by Dan | September 9, 2007 9:46 AM

#15: But they still let Republicans in, so they're obviously not gunning for deviants.

#23: We're all certainly glad that you're perfect. Just as I'm certain you're very glad we can't judge you for something you said five years ago that's inconsistent with what you do or say today.

#25: I'd take them seriously as men before I'd take you seriously as a human.

#28, #30: Oh my god, we can't have a protest make you uncomfortable now. It might make you think. Please god no, anything but that!

#31: And being a dumbfuck is a mental condition. Seek help.

#37: You're simply an ignorant slut. Shut the fuck up and go back to your bar stool.

Posted by art | September 9, 2007 1:18 PM

Why doesn't anyone have any details on what exactly the disturbance was?

Posted by Gomez | September 9, 2007 10:05 PM


Mr. O'Reilley is that you? Your self righteous anger is in full flower as always.

Look, if a little gentle humor is enough to push you over the edge into Fox News style hate spewing, perhaps you should reconsider your party affiliation. Marching order style thought police are better suited to conservatives than liberals.

People like you are the reason some people think that the fringes of the parties bend all the way around the circle to meet again. I'm sure you think your version of Big Brother is soooo much better than Ann Coulter's, but I can assure you it is no different.

Posted by Jim | September 9, 2007 10:19 PM

#38/Art--so where's the ignorance? Why are people who think they should have gender reassignment surgery sane? I don't mind calling people what they want to be called, I'll call someone a god damn choo choo train if they want me too. But believing you're a choo choo train doesn't make you one.

Yes, generally we should let people do what they want, even if it involves self-mutilation. But don't get all upset when someone at the mall doesn't feel like indulging someone else's fantasy about being a man, a choo choo train or whatever else.

Posted by Dan | September 10, 2007 7:24 AM

Doesn't anyone think this is all part of a bigger issue? Why do we even have sex assigned bathrooms? Unisex bathrooms would be feasible if they were less communal, and then everyone could be accommodated.

Make the stalls go from floor to ceiling, and don't leave any gaps to peer or hear through. Problem solved. I suppose Senator Craig would have to find somewhere else to pick up dates, but it would make it easier for folks like him to keep their jobs.

Posted by Ryan | September 12, 2007 1:54 PM

Amerika is getting to be such a fucked up place I hate it. Yeah, now tell me to leave it con-farts.

Posted by Petey | September 12, 2007 9:29 PM

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