Forays into the men’s room
A couple of guys have been writing about public restrooms. I wonder why I’ve never talked about this yet, considering the huge amounts of time I’ve spent pondering just what the signs mean by “men” and “women”. Do they mean my body? my desired body? my gender? They should set up a restroom for “queers” *. But seriously: I hate having to decide whether or not I’m a “man” every time I need a bathroom.
I’ve been avoiding public restrooms for several months. I started getting stared at in the ladies’ last year, even though I didn’t identify as trans yet. I found it funny at first, then annoying, but I felt I had a “right” to be in there; if anyone asked, I just said “I’m a girl” and stuck my chest out to prove it.
Now, I feel personally uncomfortable in the women’s: I really don’t want to say “I’m a girl” (I’m a boy!), plus I feel I’m invading women’s space. But I still go there:
–if I’m not “passing” well as a dude
–if I might run into someone I know (like at school, where people think I’m a girl)
–if I’m with my friends-who-are-girls.
Actually, I’ve only gone to the men’s room twice, both times at fast-food restaurants. The first time, it was empty, so I got to look around; the walls looked dirtier, but the rest was pretty much the same as the ladies’ — oh yeah, except for the urinal.
The second time was kinda funny. I went in and nearly bumped into the guys, it was so full. I was completely disoriented — there were lavatories, and there was a wall, so where was the rest? I peeked around the wall and, oops, I was looking at the backs of peeing dudes, therefore breaking Rule #1 of male-bathroomhood. I also found the stalls behind that wall, but they seemed to be occupied.
Since it was my lucky day, a restaurant employee happened to be in the room, and he asked me if I was waiting for a urinal. Uh-oh! My voice is too high to pass! I think I grunted and pointed at the stalls, and he showed me an empty one. Luckily, my feet weren’t visible from outside the stall, so I didn’t have to worry about my feet pointing the wrong way.
I’ve changed so much –physically– in the past week: I cut my hair (yay!) and I started binding (yay!). I don’t think I’ll be allowed in the women’s room anymore. But the men’s room is fine for me.
PS: I love the short documentary Wrong Bathroom about this exact issue.
* I know, lots of queers do consider themselves men or women (although even these people may get harassed in men’s/women’s rooms).