Tag: Jody Herman

The Public Regulation of Gender

The most basic of human needs can be simply stated.

I’m hungry.  I’m thirsty.  I’ve got to go potty.

The third part of that can be a big problem for transgender people.  The results of a survey were recently published in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy, authored by Jody Herman who is now with the Williams Institute.  Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress: The Public Regulation of Gender and Its Impact on Transgender People’s Lives is a pdf.

Herman begins with the following introductory paragraph:

The concept of two separate and opposing genders – men and women – is entrenched in our society and reflected in our built environment.  Public spaces throughout the United States are constructed with gender-segregated facilities, which serve to determine who is and is not allowed to use a particular space.  Gender segregation is commonly found in public restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, homeless shelters, jails, and prisons and is intended to provide safety, order, modesty, and security in these facilities.  However, the concept of gender that underlies the design of these facilities ignores people who do not fit into a binary gender scheme, particularly transgender and gender non-conforming people.  Traditional beliefs about gender are being challenged now more than ever and we must address the inadequacies of our built environment to meet the needs of all people regardless of gender.