So over the course of this last month I’ve been out and about more often with my family or even alone and I’m finally now in that stage where I’m being read as a male a bit more. While this is exactly what I’m wanting it still leaves me with restroom fears. I’m sure if you’ve googled just this issue for transgendered persons, restrooms are that mountain out of a molehill problem for a lot of us.
Whether it be because of legal issues, harassment, or being misgendered and forced to leave, it’s a pretty big anxiety for a lot of us.
Cis people tend to not understand this concept and often tell us if you identify as a male use the male restroom and if female do the same for those restrooms. And while that’s all fine and dandy because that’s what we want to do, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be that easy.
There have been multiple articles of transgenders being cited for bathroom issues whether barred from using certain bathrooms in churches, schools, public places, it’s an on going issue and one that is easily swept under the rug.
Of course I too feel the anxiety. All your life you use that little female figure labeled door. Met with a perfume smell most days, women chatting and dressing themselves up in the mirror, possibly babies screeching as they are being changed and so on. It was a norm. You make that B line for that door every time and think nothing of it. Until you change your gender. And then you’re left with standing outside those doors. Confusion and anxiety eating at you. Pushing open that new door into somewhere you’ve probably never actually seen, maybe taken peeks at in high school while giggling with your friends.
There’s a bathroom etiquette for each gender. Women’s restrooms are more like shark pits. You walk in and are instantly judged, eyes following you to gauge your outward appearance. The whispers you might hear as you pass by into a stall. Gossip, chatter, lots of noise. It’s at sometimes almost like walking into a lounge of judges. I can’t speak too much on men’s restrooms seeing as I’ve only gone into them twice now. But from experience of others, the description comes almost in the complete opposite of the women’s. Cold, dirty, no one really ever converses. It’s get your shit and get out style. Reminds me of jails in a sense. At least that’s the mental picture I get.
I’ve been in the males room twice now. First time didn’t really count seeing as we were at a small restaurant and it was one of those 1 person rooms. But the second time was at a busy gas station in my area on a Thursday night. Men pouring in and out regularly. I B lined for the bathroom as my stomach was upset and there really was no other option. I walked in and panic hit me like a freight train. There were 2 stalls and I believe 1 or two urinals. 1 stall was taken so I darted into the second one and attempted to do my business after wiping off the seat (urine everywhere yuck). I timed my departure after I heard one guy leave and another was still holed up in the other stall. I quickly washed my hands and almost speed walked out of there. My heart racing, fear someone could of seen me and question me.
Thankfully nothing happened to me. I don’t think I have much of an option of sneaking back into the female bathrooms anymore seeing as my facial hair is much more prominent now. (I dyed it and that will be another quick blog after this) So I have to suck up that anxiety from now on and pray no one calls me out on my chest. (My binder doesn’t make me feel flat enough)
Bathrooms are much more a tricky and anxiety ridden topic than most would assume. While nothing might happen one day, that doesn’t erase future problems that might occur. It won’t get rid of the bullying for other transgendered children who are more likely to be targeted. And it won’t stop people from swinging their fists at someone when there are no cameras to catch them.