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No Conflict, They SAid

In Australia and around the world, legislation is being introduced that replaces sex with gender identity. Advocates insist that there is no conflict of interest. But governments are not collecting data on the impacts of this legislative change. We're worried about the impacts on women of men using women-only spaces, including but not limited to: changing rooms, fitting rooms, bathrooms, shelters, rape and domestic violence refuges, gyms, spas, sports, schools, accommodations, hospital wards, shortlists, prizes, quotas, political groups, prisons, clubs, events, festivals, dating apps, and language. If we can't collect data, we can at least collect stories. Please tell us how your use of women-only spaces has been impacted. All stories will be published anonymously. If you know of other women who have been impacted, please encourage them to tell their stories too.

This site is run from Australia, New Zealand members of the LGB Defence, and supported by LGB Alliance.

  • @ConflictSaid
  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

My daughters went to primary school in the UK. (We live in North America now) .

About 5 years ago, the head teacher in their UK school announced in an assembly to the children (without any communication to parents) that the girls' toilets were now non-gendered.

They said nothing at all about the boys' toilets.

Right after assembly, the first thing that happened was all the naughty boys stormed the girls toilets. En masse. And that’s how boys minds work. My daughters were horrified and didn’t use the toilet for the rest of the day, because they were worried boys would come in and try to peek at them. For good reason. The boys would have done that.

Men are just tall boys, who have not always matured and who, like those little boys, will just do it for the kick and go 'be naughty' in the girls' loos.

  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

I have always been grateful that my local gym has a women-only area for women to work out. It's been so nice to exercise without being leered at, propositioned, or harassed. I have tried to exercise in the mixed -sex spaces, I just don't feel comfortable, so finding a gym with a women-only section was important to me. The women's area is behind closed doors, and there are clear signs that mark it as a women's space. The gym has always been careful to inform us if a man will be entering the area to repair machines, and only female gym staff enter.

The other day while working out, a man wearing women's athletic clothes entered the women's space. He spent a long time wandering between the machines, and staring at the women. He didn't seem particularly interested in working out, and spent a long time staring at me. I decided to use the technique I often do when men stare at me, stare back until they look away. This was effective. I usually have to do that sort of thing on public transport, I was not expecting to have to do it here. I felt deeply uncomfortable, and all the of safety, comfort and security I felt previously in the space was completely gone. Eventually he entered the women's change area, I imagine to do more leering. I left quickly, feeling violated and angry.

What's even more frustrating is that despite all the efforts the gym puts into keeping this section women-only, there is nothing they can do to restrict this man from entering the women-only section. In Canada, gender identity is protected in the human rights code because of a law called Bill C16. If the gym tells the man he can only use the mixed-sex section, he could take them to a human rights tribunal and they could be fined.

Women have so few spaces to ourselves, and exercising in a women-only space allows women, who spend so much of our lives caring for others, to spend time taking care of ourselves without being bothered by men. It's endlessly frustrating that we have no ability to protect these spaces in law in Canada.

  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

I have grown up around physical violence from males. I have also experienced rape, sexual assault, and physical assault from males known and unknown to me. My experience of being in bathrooms and having male-bodied people entering these spaces is that I immediately feel uncomfortable. I become hypervigilant, tense, my breathing is more shallow, and I use the facilities and get out as quickly as possible. It is no longer a safe space for me.

I of course do not wish for transgender people to be uncomfortable, but I think there needs to be an equal consideration given to the experiences of women like myself, who need spaces where they too can feel safe. Currently it seems as though people born as women are not having their need to feel safe considered at all.

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