24 September 2013

Bathrooms: Cesspools of transphobia?

So for many of us starting school or already have started school, there are purchases to make prior to kicking off the fatanbulous school year. Number 2 pencils, college-ruled notebooks, a package of ball-point pens (black or blue), and maybe even a spiffy new calculator that you've had an eye on for a year but didn't need it until now. Shirts, pants, socks, and/or shoes might also be in order. So to prep for the hard school year ahead, you head out for a day of productivity! Coffee at the ready, breakfast/lunch in your stomach, you hit the road. You're hoping not to take too long, but you've got to bounce around to different stores for the best deals. An hour and a half later you find yourself riding on the wave of fresh supplies, new plaid shirts, and one last stop before home. All you need are some socks, because the dryer gnomes keep fucking eating all of the ones you have (or biting a hole and not liking the taste. Bastards). You pull up, avoid being hit by an older woman not paying attention, park, and head in. You find yourself at the back of the store, when the dance starts.

You'd thought about it on the way to your last stop. The coffee was working through you. The four shots doing their job, as well as the water they were mixed with. You decide that you can handle it, you got this, and you'll wait until you get home to go to the bathroom. You're a big kid. 

But now, you're at the back of the store, having already proudly strutted pass the bathroom like you weren't about the piss your pants, and you find yourself about to piss your pants. You're trying to hide the potty dance that only ages 0-12 are allowed to do in public. You're 23. Unacceptable.

You want to look at the socks on the bottom shelf, but your body connects crouching down with going to the bathroom. So you just despairingly stare at the socks, wondering if they would be comfortable for you, and hoping you don't piss your pants. 

So you now seriously consider breaking your vow of waiting to get home, to quickly, quietly, run to the bathroom before your pants turn a darker shade. You want to look at all the socks, but they all scream "YOU HAVE TO PEE SO BAD" in your face that you can barely stand it. Anything yellow is just pure torture. 

But you feel a catch. You're transgender, and you feel the need to consider the bathroom for a whole different reason besides breaking your vow (which vikings just don't do). Sometimes you don't concern yourself with it, but other times you do. And now is one of those times.

"I don't have the same parts."
"It sounds different when I pee."
"I know other guys sit down...but will that get me in trouble this time?"
"What if someone looks at me and tries to tell me I'm in the wrong bathroom?"
"What if they aren't any stall doors? What if the locks are broken?"

Places these thoughts occur:
Department stores
Parties (does the bathroom door lock?)

These may seem minor to anyone else, but when you've got your pants down and conflicting genitalia it is a nightmare to think that someone could walk in on you. If someone is going to learn you're trans, you're going to tell them face to face. Not non-existent penis to face. So the fear stays there. I would say the bar or the club is the worst place, because alcohol is always involved and people can be unpredictable.  So can the bathrooms. Once I went to innocently urinate and upon entrance discovered that the only "stall" had no actual door, just a toilet that had walls around it. Better than nothing  I thought, and allowed my liquid courage to carry me through the fastest piss of my life. 

Another time I was at a bar in Seattle and there was actually a line for the bathroom. My ass has to wait for the one stall that didn't have a locking door. And guys weren't shutting it either; then again they were standing. I went, thinking the door wasn't even there at first, and of course sat down, and took the time that 6 guys, two at a time, did using the 2 urinals. One of the guys in line was nice enough to shut the door for me, but that did not keep other guys from opening it to see what was taking 6 years. And I'll tell you, pee shy does not go away when you know people are talking about you. So I whipped my pants up, my piss hiding somewhere inside me, and I high-tailed it out faster than you could say "Guten Tag". I ended up at nearly empty bar next door, and asked the bouncer if it was OK if I use the bathroom because "I just have to pee." He glanced at me, my ID, and said it was fine. I left a inquisitive look on his face. Quickly, I used the restroom and ran outside to catch my ride. I tipped the bouncer, who never gets tips of course, for being so cool. So the experience ended well. 

However, I am still fearful of bathrooms.

So here I am doing the pee dance while looking at socks and wondering which would be best and why did I wait and why do I have to care, hoping no one walks over and asks if I'm trying to start a flash mob.

This time, somehow, the urge goes away and I am able to select the most comfortable socks at a good price, make my purchase, and then race home (at the speed limit) to the comforts of my own restroom where I know the door locks and no one will have to shut the stall door for me.

This time, I win in a way. I kept my vow, stood my ground, and made it home. But I know that I've lost as well. I've given in to the fear that someone will "discover" me, that someone will threaten my life because of it, or pull down my pants and show people. All in a public bathroom. And knowing, somewhere in my mind, that I am completely overthinking this. I was in a place, literally, where if I did not have these fears playing at me, I would have gone to the bathroom. I was seriously about to piss my pants. 

Alas, I stayed away in fear of someone having a heyday with my insecurities. 

Everyone moves at the their own pace. There definitely are times that I waltz into bathroom without anymore fucks to give. And then, times like these. So there's no sense in berating myself, or yourself if you also find yourself deal with these fears. 

And hey, it means you were capable of holding your over-capacity bladder until making it home. So that deserves a round of applause.

For others who don't find themselves wondering "will someone yank down my trousers in the bathroom today", I wanted to share with you how much a simple thing like going to the bathroom can escalate as far as a panic attack for some others. It's an inside look at what I call 


where the gender rules are made up and the genitalia doesn't matter!

1 comment:

  1. How awesome are the gender neutral bathrooms at Evergreen? I saw them and was like "!!!! YES!!!!"