The Bathroom Debate
Why Using the Bathroom is More Than That for Trans People
Every couple of weeks you may come across an article or a headline about some trans person trying to use the bathroom and getting stopped for some ungodly reason. Maybe it's to protect people, which is wrong because more people in office have probably assaulted people in bathrooms than trans people have. Or maybe it's because they just don't quite "Look like they belong there." But what does that even mean?
I am a 19-year-old pre-T pre-op trans-man. This means that I haven't had any surgeries and I'm not on testosterone yet. It also means that I look somewhere between a 12-year-old boy who already knows that he is in fact very gay and Big Boo from Orange is the New Black. I have been out as trans—both to myself and publicly—for about a year. I have been questioned in the woman's bathroom for the last six years. That's right when I was identifying as a cis female, people tried to help out by clarifying that this room was a women's restroom, like maybe I hadn't noticed. So basically you cannot tell someone is trans just by looking at them, and trying to judge what bathroom someone should use is wrong and hateful. But why does it matter so much?
Going to the bathroom can honestly be very stressful. You never know if you are gonna walk in and be yelled at or worse assaulted just for trying to be who you are. So a lot of trans people choose not to. I work with kids who are still 50/50 on my pronouns and I am still at the point that I do not always feel comfortable using the men's room and I can't use the women's when they are so close to always using my pronouns. So, from 8:30 to 6:30, I just don't go. There have been trans people who have done similar things and have had to be catheterized for months.
By not allowing trans people in bathrooms that they can stand being in, you are making existing in public spaces an even more constant health hazard. It's not just about being able to go; it's about being able to go out.