New research adds to current heated debate in the US around gendered bathrooms.

Men are much more likely than women to be concerned about letting transgender people use the public bathrooms of their choice – particularly women’s bathrooms – according to a new study published this week in the journal Gender Issues.

The fact that men don’t usually use women’s bathrooms makes their “heightened concerns about transgender females in female bathrooms particularly curious,” writes Rebecca Stones, the author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at Nankai University in China and Monash University in Australia.

As part of her study, Stones analyzed 1,035 comments posted by readers in response to 190 online news articles on the topic of male-to-female transgender individuals using bathrooms designated for women.

Stones also focused on opinions regarding the safety and privacy of women in female bathrooms because that issue has also been at the forefront of public debate on whether transgender individuals should be permitted to use the bathrooms of their choice.

The study found men were 1.5 times more likely than women to have concerns about transgender women using women’s bathrooms.

Researchers also note that “user comments suggests the male gender role of the protector as having an influence on male transphobia, which is indicated by their comments.” As one cisgender male commenter wrote, “I have a teenage daughter and I demand that her privacy is protected from a gender-confused pervert that might walk in on her while she’s in the restroom!”

Women were much more concerned about the possible presence of so-called ‘perverts’ who pose as transgender females.

A number of states have actively pursued legislation to force transgender women to use the bathroom that corresponds with their assigned gender – including North Carolina which last week failed to repeal the highly contentious House Bill 2 law.

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