Fear 1.1

washroom

1.1 Public Restrooms

Being transgender comes with a whole new set of fears that someone who is cisgendered* would never even think twice about. Dysphoria* and anxiety lie strong with these fears.

This is one of the most awkward areas to navigate. Espeically in the early stages of transitioning when you’re not quite “passing” as the gender you align with. In my experience, the first couple years of using public washrooms were a nightmare. I feared for my safety, as the looks I received were that of disgust if I used the women’s bathroom, or looks of confusion if I used the men’s. People have told me I am in the wrong washroom or asked what I was doing in here. There were no gender neutral options when I first started transitioning, so I had no choice. I still get anxious to this day when I need to use a public restroom, but at least the most guys will ever think now is, man this guy shits a lot.

I rarely go out to a nightclub in Kelowna, as the restroom situations are the worst part of the night. I find myself awkardly waiting for the only stall while lines of guys pass through the urinal. I’ve been hassled by security watching me closely as if I am waiting to do drugs; which I am not. And if there is no stall, or one without a door, which I have encountered, I am out of luck. Men have approached me looking for a fight, or looking at me sexually in a way I was not into. Just a few of the negative aspects many trans men face on the daily, all just to use the bathroom they feel comfortable with.

Tips for washroom use for transmen:

Bring an ally with you in there, a close friend or family member to watch your back and ease any tension that may be present. When solo, watch the door to see the foot traffic. When your opportunity hits and not many people are in the bathroom, now’s your time. May seem annoying to keep watch, but could save you the hassle. If security is giving you hassle, bring up your situation to them if you feel safe doing so, and if not, make a complaint to the bar on your way out to bring aware for others in your situation.

At the end of the day, everyone knows which washroom they are supposed to be in; they don’t need you to tell them where to be.

Photo: http://time.com/3653871/womens-bathroom-lines-sexist-potty-parity/

*Cisgendered: The sex and gender you were assigned to at birth is the one you identify with.
*Dysphoria: The distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth.

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