Transgender women are real women. Full stop. Why is this still up for debate in 2019? I don’t know why it’s so difficult for some people to understand. It hurts my heart.
Good intentions aren’t enough
When I first heard the backlash against transgender women being able to use public restrooms claimed by cisgender women, I was so horrified that I decided to tweet about it. I’ve since deleted my Twitter account, but it went something like this.
I hope my life is never so meaningless that I try to tell anyone where they can piss.
Although I stand by those words and I had good intentions, good intentions aren’t enough. Good intentions are never enough.
Stand, Stand, Sit
I saw a picture online recently of gender-inclusive bathroom signs at a restaurant. The first bathroom was labeled “Stand.” The second bathroom was labeled “Stand-Sit.” The meaning was clear.
Once upon a time, that “Stand” bathroom probably had a sign on it that read “Men.” That “Stand-Sit” bathroom surely bore a sign that read “Women.”
I’m not confused about who is currently welcome to use which bathroom. It’s clearly a “you do you” type situation. What I am confused about is why the “Stand” room has no option for “Sit.” I thought all men’s bathrooms came equipped with at least one toilet for folks who stand to urinate but sit to defecate.
Either way, at least everyone has the option to use whichever bathroom suits their needs. That’s what really counts.
Gender-inclusive bathrooms in the real world
I attended an Amanda Palmer concert several months ago. The bathrooms at the venue had their original signage covered over with printed signs instructing her fans to use whichever bathroom made them comfortable. I can’t remember the exact wording.
What I do remember is that there were men using what had traditionally been the ladies room side by side with women. They used the stalls, washed their hands, and exited the bathroom with zero incident.
Do you want to know why?
Because using the toilet isn’t a sexual act. [Note: I’m not discussing urolagnia or scatophilia, wherein toileting may be a sexual act because it’s not relevant here; these are topics for another day. I’m just acknowledging that I am aware.]
I also remember attempting to use the former men’s room. It wasn’t suitable for a person in possession of a vagina since there were plenty of urinals and only one or two toilets that were barely covered by the stall doors, which had massive gaps in them.
If I identified as male but required the use of a sitting-down option to urinate, then I suppose I may wait for a stall when faced with the same configuration. For me, personally, I found it simpler and just as acceptable to leave for the “Sit” friendly bathroom, but that should always be an individual choice.
To the transgender woman in my gym locker room
I once shared the story of the time I shared a gym locker room with a transgender woman. There were so many things I wanted to say to her, all of them positive, but I couldn’t say anything because I didn’t know how it would be received.
“I wanted to tell her that she was beautiful and that she was brave,” I wrote, “but I didn’t because I was afraid of being inappropriate. I didn’t want her to feel stigmatized, singled out, picked on, or embarrassed, even though I knew my intentions were pure and I was firmly on her side.”
I want to be an ally to other women. I want to stand on the side of equality and fairness. Sometimes, I just don’t know how. Like I said, good intentions are not enough.
But I hope it’s a start.