The Bathroom Incident

The argument against public accommodation, Question 3 on the Massachusetts Ballot, is based on a lie. Keep MA uses a story of a man in a woman’s bathroom who photographed/recorded women who were in the next stall. However, this man was dressed like a man, and made no claim that he was transgendered. The law, as it is currently in place, allows people to use public bathrooms and other public accommodation. No law, anywhere, says that anyone can photograph or record someone else in a public bathroom without consent.

The incident that Keep MA mentions took place in December, 2016 at a TJ Maxx in Plainville, MA.

Misuse of a story:

I Googled “Plainville, MA, TJ maxx bathroom”. This is what I found:

A woman in the bathroom noticed a cell phone lens in the crack between the stalls and men’s shoes in the stall next door. The criminal behavior was attempting to photograph/record a nude or partially nude person without permission in a public place. (Links regarding the incident, January 3, 2017: TV and newspaper.) In every report, it is clear that he was identified by a potential victim because he was wearing men’s clothes (and was not dressed as a woman, nor claiming to be transsexual.) The flustered woman asked an employee to call the police and the employee told her to call herself.

The man was arrested. Later, his charges were dismissed because he claimed that he was mistakenly in the wrong bathroom and was ill.

A TJ Maxx employee would not call the police on a man, dressed as a man, who a woman accused of photographing her in the bathroom. That refusal to call had nothing to do with a man dressed as a woman in a bathroom. TJ Maxx later said that was a policy violation; employees are instructed to call the police, if a customers asks them to. (See video on this link)

Further misuse of this story:

Keep MA Safe is the group that is sponsoring the No on 3 Ballot Question. A fake link to the same story was dated February 17, 2017. Here is the link, shown, so you can see what they did.

So the criminal incident has nothing to do with transgendered people, so why is it the basis of the ballot initiative? Here is their stance.

Keep MA Safe made the following argument:[25]

What the citizens of Massachusetts weren’t told was that there were only a handful of allegations of such denial of access to public accommodations and that those claims were already covered under state law. What changed on October first of last year was access to bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and changing facilities. It is now a potential criminal civil rights violation for a woman or young girl to object when a biological male undresses next to her in a public facility. This is not progress for our Commonwealth. We should not require women to sacrifice their privacy for the sake of sexual charades.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what we’ve seen happen in the last year. In December, a woman was photographed by a man lurking in the ladies’ room of a T.J. Maxx in Plainville, MA. When she asked employees for help, they seemed torn regarding what to do. Do they call the police, and risk being brought up on hate crimes charges? Or do they protect themselves and their employer by looking the other way and side with the man over the frightened woman? The law is now weighted to benefit those who would violate privatspaces. [sic] How many cases go unreported?[12]  (source) [emphasis mine]

Well, that’s not exactly what happened.

  • In the incident on December 24, 2016, a man violated the privacy of a woman in the bathroom.
  • The employee did not help the victim to report the crime. Why would an employee think any hate crime charge would be lodged against them for reporting a man (identified as wearing men’s shoes) taking pictures in a woman’s bathroom?
  • The company involved stated that their employees are trained to call the police on customer request.

So why are women less safe in public bathrooms because transgendered people are allowed  to pee in the bathroom stall next door? No reason that I can tell, from this story.


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