The Three Stooges: An Epidemic

Multiple extremist individuals, groups and organizations opposed to transgender people having access to gender segregated restrooms that correspond to their gender identity use propaganda to incite fear that there is, or will be an epidemic of men claiming to be women in order to gain access to girl’s/women’s restrooms for the purpose of committing various crimes, including sexual harassment, voyeurism, rape and other violent acts.

These dangerous extremist organizations have a coordinated strategy of citing the following three individuals as evidence to justify opposition to restroom access for transgender people. Once you know the facts, their lies and propaganda are easily exposed.

Note: Some of these individuals are described by the media as having “cross-dressed”. The use of this term to describe these individuals act of dressing in clothing stereotypically associated with women should not be construed or interpreted as an implication that people who identify as crossdressers are criminals. There IS a difference, and that difference matters.


Jason Pomare is a cisgender (i.e. assigned male at birth, identifies as male) predator who dressed as a woman in order to secretly videotape women in a mall restroom. At NO POINT did Mr. Pomare claim to be a transgender woman. He is a criminal who used a disguise to commit a crime.

This crime occurred in Palmdale, California in 2013.


Norwood Smith Burnes is a cisgender male predator who dressed as a woman in order to expose himself to people in a Walmart restroom. He had a long arrest record of indecent exposure and was on probation for public indecency. In 1989 Mr. Burnes was arrested for assault on a police officer, cocaine possession.  At NO POINT did Mr. Burnes claim to be a transgender woman. He is a repeat offender who used a disguise to commit a crime.

This crime occurred in Calhoun, Georgia in 2010.

7TaMBzMqcTaylor Buehler was, at the time, a cisgender 18-year old male who entered a community college women’s restroom in order to engage in voyeurism and sexual gratification. He was wearing a wig and a bra at the time (which extremist organizations refer to as “dressed in women’s clothing”), and had a pair of women’s panties in his pocket, but was otherwise dressed in stereotypically external male clothing. At NO POINT did Mr. Buehler claim to be a transgender woman.

This crime occurred in Everett, Washington in 2012.

Anti-transgender extremist organizations cite 3 examples of situations in which men dressed in varying degrees of “women’s clothing” have gained access to gender segregated women’s restrooms or locker rooms for nefarious criminal purposes. Let’s break their propaganda down…

  • None of these 3 perpetrators were transgender
  • None of these 3 perpetrators “claimed to be transgender.”
  • These 3 perpetrators were, to varying degrees, pretending to be women for the purpose of committing a crime.
  • None of these 3 crimes were violent in nature

The Statistical FACTS:

  • U.S. Population = 319 million people

Overall statistical data on voyeurism and public indecency crime is not collected, however by any measure 3 non-violent incidents out of 319,000,000 over a 3-year period is hardly evidence that restroom access rights for transgender people will result in an epidemic of “cross-dressing male sex crimes against women”

In contrast, let’s look at hate crimes against transgender people, for which statistics ARE kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

  • In 2014 law enforcement reported 1,178 SOGI (Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity) hate crime incidents [FBI]
  • 23.6% (278) of those crime incidents were “mixed bias”, which includes transgender victims [FBI]
  • 109 hate-crimes were based specifically on gender identity
    (69 anti-transgender, 40 anti-gender nonconforming) [FBI]

So…what does all this mean?

  1. Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to be victims of a hate crime incited by extremist propaganda and hate speech. This is particularly true for transgender women in general and transgender women of color specifically.
  2. Privacy violations in gender segregated restrooms are committed by criminals, NOT transgender people. Laws are broken based on criminal actions, not wardrobe choices.
  3. Cisgender male voyeurs, exhibitionists and predators are not just waiting patiently for transgender rights laws to pass before diguising themselves in “women’s clothes” to commit their crimes or privacy violations.
  4. Since these criminals are already “dressing as women” to gain access to women’s restrooms, extremist campaigns to prevent transgender women from using gender segregated restrooms are irrelevant.

Anti-transgender “bathroom bills” are based on intolerance, hate, ignorance and extremist religious or far-right conservative ideology. Nothing more. Nothing less.

This blog is maintained by TransActive Gender Center, a leading national non-profit organization providing education, advocacy and other resources and services to gender diverse children, youth, their families and the communites in which they live.


Author: jennburleton

Jenn Burleton is the founder and executive director of TransActive Gender Center. An internationally recognized educator and authority on diverse gender identity in children, youth and adults, she is a passionate advocate for the civil and human rights of gender diverse and transgender children, adolescents, teens and their families. She lives in the Pacific Northwest United States with her partner of more than 30 years.

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