Let transsexual use ladies' room

June 11, 2001

DEAR ANN LANDERS: Last week, I was at a restaurant and needed to use the ladies' room. I was washing my hands when a tall, heavyset woman entered. I realized this was a man dressed as a woman.

I am an open-minded person, Ann, but I felt extremely uncomfortable. My daughter said, "If he is dressed like a woman and feels like a woman, it is perfectly OK for him to use the ladies' washroom." I say, if he is a male, he should use the men's room. Will you settle the argument?

- A He or a She in New Jersey

DEAR N.J.: I would be willing to bet that the person you encountered in the ladies' room was indeed a woman. Tall females who wear pantsuits are not uncommon these days, and with the chic, short haircuts, they DO look quite masculine.

However, if indeed this person was a transvestite, he was not a threat to you. In fact, using the men's room dressed that way could have been dangerous for him. Because women's bathrooms have stalls and there is no need to expose oneself, I say let him use the bathroom he is most comfortable with.