Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress: The Public Regulation of Gender and its Impact on Transgender People’s Lives

By Jody L. Herman
June 2013

Transgender and gender non-conforming people report being denied access to gendered restrooms, and experiencing verbal harassment and physical assault in these spaces at alarming rates. The Washington, DC- based survey, conducted with the DC Trans Coalition, found that 70 percent of survey respondents report experiencing verbal harassment, assault, and being denied access to public restrooms. The study identifies the impact that transgender people’s negative experiences in gendered restrooms can have on their education, employment, health, and participation in public life.

Findings include:

• 27 percent of those who worked in Washington, DC, experienced problems using restrooms at work that, in some cases, caused them to change jobs or leave their employer entirely.

• 54 percent of all respondents reported having some sort of physical problem from trying to avoid using public restrooms, such as dehydration, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections.

• 58 percent reported that they have avoided going out in public due to a lack of safe public restroom facilities.

• 10 percent of survey respondents who attended school in Washington, DC, reported a negative impact on their education, including having excessive absences and dropping out of school due to issues related to restroom access.

• People of color and people who have not medically transitioned fared worse in some measured survey outcomes.

Click here for full report.

Click here for the press release.

*Report published in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy (2013)