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.
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.