Lately, there has been a great deal of speculation about just what goes on in the women’s restroom when a transgendered person enters this “women only” domain. Being just such a person, I believe I can shed some light on the subject.
Having been born male and thus relegated to using men’s restrooms for the bulk of my existence, I won’t lie and say there wasn’t some mystique about what was behind the magical door labeled “Women.”
For most people, using a public restroom is a fairly mundane, routine, utilitarian act that requires little thought. Not so for those of us who are blessed with a gender identity conflict. I’ve never once felt fully at ease in a men’s room. Ever.
As I transitioned from male to female, I began hormone therapy and began dressing like I felt, girly. At first, when I would venture out in public I would avoid public restrooms altogether. I’d just hold it until I got home. There was no way I could waltz into the men’s room wearing a skirt, cute top and make-up. But I was still too scared and respectful to enter the women’s room.
As the hormones took hold and I began to embrace the fact that there was no turning back, I began to present as female all the time. I had decided to stop being self-conscious and frightened and just live my life. Not too much to ask, is it? This required the occasional trip to the ladies room when nature called.
There was recently a bill signed into law in California (AB 1266) It basically amends and strengthens a non-discrimination policy in schools and now permits students who identify as a particular gender to use the facilities of that gender as well as participate in sporting activities. I don’t see what the fuss is about but there are hate groups that instead of focusing on the facts, are instead ginning up fake stories of harassment in school bathrooms. This is appalling. They need to create fake stories because there are no actual incidents of harassment and there likely won’t be. Let me explain why.
This law doesn’t permit a kid who is male to say: “Today, I’m female, so I get to go in the girl’s bathroom.” That is how it’s being portrayed but that isn’t reality. Generally there is a clinical diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (I dislike the word disorder) and that child would need to present as that gender in school. I seriously doubt too many boys are going to be willing to go to such lengths to pee in a stall next to a girl and revert to using the boy’s room the next day and identifying as male once again.
The next reason is that there is really nothing to see there. While yes, I very much share the sense of vulnerability when using the ladies room as the state of undress is greater in order to answer nature’s call than it is for men, but unlike men’s rooms, there are no urinals, only stalls. Nothing to see here so unless you belong, don’t bother. Besides, there is often a line for the women’s room while unless you are at a concert there rarely is for men.
If a transwoman were to use the ladies room and commit the cardinal breech of etiquette by standing to pee, I think I would be the first to call them out and point them down the hall if that’s how they are going to act.
I can tell you from my own personal experience and from that of the several transgender girlfriends I have, we are very respectful in the women’s room. Get in, do your business, wash up and leave. If there is not a crowd I will sometimes check my make-up or run a brush through my hair. Otherwise, we are in and out and on our way. Anyone acting disrespectfully is going to be called out far more quickly by other trans girls – after all, that person is making it harder for all of us. The unwritten rule is: “Be on your best behavior in there.”
I look for single stall bathrooms when I can find them.
Another reason for not acting up is that there is actually very little legal protection for us, especially those who have not had their ID updated. In the city of Dallas there are protections, therefore I am much more at ease in using the ladies room. However, in Dallas County and much of the rest of Texas, there are NO protections. Nobody wants to go to jail period, but especially wearing a nice dress and risk being tossed in the men’s jail or in the gay tank.
If you are NOT transgender and are reading this, I have a legit question for you: When was the last time, if ever, you had to give consideration to whether you were using a bathroom in an establishment within a city limit or within the county with possible legal repercussions hanging on the answer? My guess is never.
So should it be for us.
There are good reasons why harassment of women in the bathroom by transgender women doesn’t take place and likely won’t. We just will not tolerate it. It’s too important a right for us to jeopardize. Besides, it’s just not ladylike.