Can We Just Pee? Please?

| Feb 15, 2016
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Having transitioned in 1999 I have grown to take many things for granted, that is until the last couple of years when transpeople have been brought out into the spotlight. Things that I really have not given a passing thought to now get surprisingly thrust upon me.

The best example of this is the issue surrounding trans people and bathrooms. Not that there is any real issue, but you sure wouldn’t know that by what is going on here in the USA: Bills being introduced to fine trans people for using the “wrong” bathroom, religious claims of us being against “God” and school boards becoming battlegrounds with parents and community leaders claiming they want to “protect the children.” You know that old chestnut that has been used to invoke fear in the ignorant and bigoted since as long as I can remember, and I’m sure much longer.  You know it might be hard to come right out and say “I don’t like transpeople,” but say “We need to protect the children” and you can claim some pseudo moral high ground for your bigotry. Easy peasy.

restroom_warsEven though the issue of bathrooms has not been something I’ve worried about for fifteen years or more, let me be clear that I full well appreciate just how big and scary it can be for transpeople.  I can well recall the terror of having to deal with it pre and early transition. Someone who has never had to deal with this as an issue might think that terrifying is an overstatement. It is not.  In fact I would say that it can be a question of fear for life and limb depending on where you are and the exact situation.

It occurs that I should also explain what I mean when I say that this issue can be suddenly thrust upon me. A couple of months ago I was at a gathering of about thirty people I’ve become very friendly with over the last year. I was seated at a rather large table when my ears perked up because I became aware of a conversation the person sitting across me was having with the women seated next to me. “Do you hear that now they want to use the women’s bathrooms?” the man said and the woman responded “That’s just going too far for me, I mean when I go to the bathroom I want my privacy.” I was stunned and more than a bit conflicted. The moment passed before I knew what had hit me. Here was a person I really like who is comfortable enough to invite me to their home and who I’ve on at least one occasion been in a public bathroom with talking about an issue she clearly was ignorant of and a man I’ve also quite fond of initiating the conversation. I really wish I had heard it from the beginning because I would have had more time to gather my thoughts and to know exactly why this topic had come up in the first place as well as its context.

This sort of ignorance about transpeople is exactly what bigots prey on, be they political or religious leaders, or just your friendly neighborhood hate monger. We really do need to educate the public when we can and many leaders in the community are doing just that and should be applauded for it. It is not an easy thing to put yourself out there like that knowing the ignorance we all face. They are risking financial as well as personal safety to do so. I did have a thought though.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the groups and people that propose these ridiculous bills always seem to exclusively focus on male to female trans people completely ignoring or perhaps ignorant of our female to male brothers. The reason  for this focus on MtF, while it may have many layers including bigotry, religious nonsense, homophobia, it also does certainly have a lot to do with the fact that passing is much more of an issue for MtF people. Because of this demonizing, ridiculing and making false claims is made very easy for them.  So since these haters are prepared to focus their discrimination on trans women I think we, more specifically willing trans men, should consider showing up at these meetings with us being visible when these bathroom type ordinances and bills are proposed.  Imagine their shock and impact it would have when a trans man stands up and asks them if he should be using the women’s room which is what their proposal would force them to do. I know it is asking a lot of trans men, but I don’t think these people actually realize what they are bargaining for and maybe it’s time they find out.

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Category: Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Diane was born and raised in New Jersey. She has two fully grown sons and a husband of thirteen years. Diane runs a two small businesses and in her spare time enjoys strategy board gaming.

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