Barriers

Hi,

How to start this one? At the weekend the rumour mill started to rumble about the possibility that our current government may seek to protect women by ensuring men do not enter ladies’ toilets. Just what the government will do about the assaults, improper contact, and domestic abuse women are subject to outside of the toilet facilities, they remained oddly silent.

So, what does a part time trans person like myself do when they feel the call of nature?

Ideally, find a gender neutral toilet. You know, just like the one we have in our homes. If the facilities are general use then I feel I’m unlikely to cause anyone distress. I know, thinking of others right? I must be some type of monster. 😛

I’ve even an app on my phone that helps me find one. As a dad out on his own with his young daughter, that was a must. But back to the story about the past time trans experience.

If gender neutral is the ideal, what about the other times? Sometimes you’ve just got to go. To be completely honest, I don’t want to cause any upset. I’m not looking to make a political statement. I’m not some perv seeking to hang around in there or do anything grim. What I need to do, is spend a penny, wash my hands, and get on with my day. That’s it. No rush of excitement nor feeling of great achievement.

Could I walk in to the gents’ in Lynn mode? Well, that would cause a stir and I would be afraid for my safety. That’s a no then.

Should I go into the disabled loo? Well, no because I’m able to use regular facilities.

That leaves the loo that matches my gender presentation. You know, in the same way I can try on a dress in a high street store because of my gender appearance. In the same way nothing bad happens because I’m a regular human person who respects others. I’m not the threat.

Or, just maybe, people like me shouldn’t exist. Perhaps life would be simpler if we went back to that old simple binary of men and women.

But, that’s no choice at all. I am trans. I go out. I’m not doing this for kicks or sneak in to prey on others. I’m not a woman and I don’t have the knowledge or experience of being one. I’m not a trans woman – and one more time for the people at the back: trans women are women – I’m a part timer. Maybe bi-gender: I struggle with labels. Whatever I paint myself as, I can say when I’ve been out as Lynn, there’s been times when I’ve feared for my safety or realised that by appearing female, that my presence – and voice – is lower in the pecking order. I can’t run in this skirt; all my belongings hang in a bag that I clutch to my side; my wig could be pulled from me, stripping back my identity and showing the world what I am underneath….. a person who doesn’t quite fit in.

I’m not here to draw your kids to the dark side. I’m not here to ‘check you out’ as I queue to use the hand dryer. I’m certainly not in the loo to touch you up, say unwelcome come-ons, or any of that everyday sexist crap you have to deal with. I am your ally and I will fight your corner. Please, I just need a wee.

But all of the above, I have the luxury – or privilege, if you will – of being able to use a loo without issue or worry when I’m in Richard mode. But, as much as this blog is about my experiences, this issue isn’t about me. It’s about people who don’t have that choice. Their survival was to transition. They are not your enemy. They do not mean you harm.

L x

PS: There’s a Change.org petition here.

Update: The open letter from Mermaids is well worth a read. Not only for the careful and measured response, but wealth of evidence to dispel myths.

10 Comments

  1. You are, of course, quite right, Lynn.

    The whole “transgenders in bathrooms” problem is created by the usual sociopaths and malignant narcissists who bedevil everyone’s lives, not because this is an issue but because they need to stir, get a reaction, find someone to harm. It’s what they are wired to do. Is there any difference between the current TERF hate of trans or the Nazi hate of Jews? Superficially, they look like totally different issues and sources, but the cause is always the same: the usurpation of power by creating a diversion, creating a belief that a problem exists and it’s caused by: “THEM! Those people. They’re responsible for [insert bogus connection with the economy, social ills, missing children …]”. And whilst everyone with a less trained mind assumes it’s all true, horribly true, and tries to help root out the new villains, the stirrers get on with the plundering.

    Being trans plays a lot with our emotions but, generally, our instinct is to react to this provocation and try to make out that we are decent folk. But the usurpers have now got control in the UK and that is the overarching problem that needs to be dealt with, swiftly. But I know in my heart of hearts that it won’t happen now, history repeatedly shows that it never does until it’s too late, but I will keep on sounding the warning about the scum in British politics and media who scapegoat us and foreigners (and they’ll think up a few more targets, too).

    Good luck with all this. I am glad to be out and somewhere where further trans protections seem to be in the offing.

    Sue x

    1. Darkest before the dawn and all that. It seems the T community responded quickly (no surprises given we’d be affected) and then allies stepped up. I’ve seen Change.org step up and a campaign from a national union too. All good signs to push back, IMHO.

  2. This was the conversation we were having in the US two or three years ago. No one mentions it now…

    I have gone into the men’s room while dressed pretty. I always present male. I’m just a guy in a skirt/dress. I’ve never actually gone into the women’s restroom while on an outing. I can think of three times I’ve gone into the men’s room while dressed pretty.

    The very first time was at the airport. I went in wearing pants and came out wearing a skirt. There were a lot of men coming and going. I had to do it. I came out, washed my hands and left. I watched a man wrench his head around to look watch me. Our backs were toward each other. He was standing at the urinal at the wall opposite the mirror I was facing. He was unaware that I could see him.

    The second time in the men’s room was at a small swing dancing establishment. I had been out in public in a skirt dancing with ladies all night. I was hot and sweaty. I went into the men’s room to towel off my face. A man was at the mirror. I walked up to the other sink. He seemed uncomfortable and unsure how to behave. I had grown accustomed to being in public. I felt very comfortable walking into there. In fact, it took me a moment to realize why he was uncomfortable. We chatted like men sometimes do at bathroom sinks. I left.

    The third time was at another airport. There were people, I didn’t care. They didn’t care. The end.

    1. Good to hear you’ve just got on with things and without issue.

      Maybe there’s a difference when someone is presenting mostly male and in a skirt. That’s not to say that won’t push someone’s buttons.

  3. Well done Lynn very well put, I totally agree with you and Sue about this situation. As you say at the end of the day we only want to use the toilet, we don’t seek confrontation, but if we are unable to use the women’s toilet when presenting as female where are we to go? If we use the male toilet it is almost certain there will be confrontation. As far as I am aware, I have never heard of a trans woman deliberately abusing women in a toilet, possibly it has happened, I don’t know, but it’s hardly an epidemic.

    So if this was to be come law in the UK, where would they draw the line? Genetic females only? would they include post op transexuals, what about pre-op who live as women all the time. Would it apply to public toilets only? (if you can find one!) What about ‘customer toilets’ in shops, bars, hotels etc? Who would decide that the person in a women’s toilet is allowed to be there?

    I have used a female toilet in a hotel we use quite regularly and have never had a problem. But this governments action does have the potential to cause real problems for a lot of people, and all we want to do is have a pee!

    1. Good point about customer facilities. If such a rule came in, I think a savvy and inclusive company could easily challenge things.

      I’m not sure the impact of such a ban has been fully thought through. Your point about who is allowed in. Where does that take us? Will we be employing The Knicker Inspectors? 😛 Joking aside, that sounds wrong on so many levels.

      1. Without a doubt, this has not been thought through. It’s all about vote catching and keeping wealthy supporters on side. As I understand it, a person can apply to the gender recognition panel to have their birth gender changed to their desired gender, provided they meet certain requirements, like living in their chosen gender for a minimum time. The person has to convince the panel that they believe they are of their chosen gender, but, and this is the important thing here, the person concerned does not have to be on hormones or have to had gender reassignment surgery. So in theory a person that has managed to get the required document from the GRP, even though she retains all male attributes would be allowed to use the female facilities, but a transexual that has received GRS and no longer has any physical male attributes but because of the long drawn out process has not yet obtained the relevant documents would not.

        The real problem is, as always, common sense has been dispensed with for political gain. Surely the real point is, if a person, irrespective of birth gender is using a public facility, and the person is presenting appropriately for that facility (i.e. crossdresser presenting as a woman), providing that person is behaving in an accepted manor, what is the problem? …………….

        1. The collision of the real world, practicality, and politics: how indeed might that play out? 😁

          What is the problem? Perhaps the usual heady mix of concerns, fears, a lack of understanding, etc, being used by another group to drive an agenda.

          How long have trans people been able to use toilets and changing rooms that match there gender? Probably over a decade or more given the Gender Equality Act and a shift in public acceptance. Given that length of time, if the story we’re being sold of predatory men dressing up, why aren’t we hearing about those? To be blunt: where is the evidence?

  4. I wonder what the actual figures are of men dressed up as women sneaking into the ladies, planning mischief. Or even contemplate the full transition!
    To the best of my knowledge, the peeping toms don’t bother with such or just leave a camera to record. And there are the vigilantes who even bare too masculine looking assigned female at birth women from using the restroom. I feel there is a pattern with far right wing borderline totalitarian governments to police any aspect of women (bodies) in order to “protect” them, but ultimately this is to please their voters. I also think there is a deeply rooted misogyny in this, which makes it awkward as the same misogyny that takes the piss out of trans people is also the misogyny that thinks men will dress up as women, which is considered derogatory behaviour, to invade their spaces.

    1. Yes, it’s an unpleasant smell to the politics of it all.

      I can understand – and empathise – with people wanting to be safe in the loo. In that case, let’s make the loos safe from those who actually put people at risk…. and that’s not trans people.

      Trans people stand out and are at risk if they’ve passing privilege and risk if they don’t. Perhaps the root cause is misogynist behaviour?

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