By all rights I should be passed out in bed right now. I was up at 4am, after only about 3 hours of sleep max., so I could go to the Lobbying event at The Massachusetts Statehouse in support of “An Act Relative To Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes”.
It was truly an amazing event. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but I’m always game for a good political throwdown, so nothing was going to stop my little old Transgender self from being there! And boy was it worth it.
300+ trans folks and their allies were gathered at The Grand Staircase to listen to some powerful speeches, learn about the bill we were there trying to support and then speak to our own State Reps and Senators about it.
I was astonished to see such a turnout. It was seriously empowering to have so many transpeople from all across the spectrum, gathered together to say, “Hey! Here we are! We are the people in your neighborhood and we demand that our basic rights be not only acknowledged, but protected!!!”
We have the right not to be discriminated against by employers, we said.
We have the right not to be discriminated against in housing or government services, we said.
We have the right to be protected against Hate Crimes and Physical Violence, we said.
I don’t recall any discussion of bathroom use, except by the woman in front of me when I was waiting in line in the ladies room, to mention that the door on the first stall didn’t close correctly. Which, given that part of the wall was missing there, it quite clearly did not.
So why, my friends, is it, that when I got home and searched for news of the event all I found were headlines like this: “Groups Spar Over Massachusetts Transgender ‘Bathroom Bill'” (Fox News)
And this: “Debate over transgender Bathrooms” (WWLP 22 News)
And this: “Groups lobby for, against MA transgender bathrooms” (Gay News Blog)
I thought this one might be promising, that it might delve a little deeper, perhaps: “Push for transgender protections reaches NH, Mass.” (WHDH 7 News & Examiner.com)
But nope. Turns out the bulk of that one was about, you guessed it, bathrooms!!!
There’s more, but you get the point.
We want jobs! We want to not get killed! We want to live our lives with the same protections as everyone else!! And yeah, we want to pee in peace too. Everyone’s gotta.
Okay, yeah, it’s an issue for me and for most of us transfolks. But it’s NOT THE ONLY ISSUE!!!
In fact, as awkward as it is, and as much as the issue gets hyped, my own experience with using the restroom is fairly mundane. It scares the hell out of me every time I have to use the Women’s Room. I’m shaking in my size 12 heels! I feel like everyone is staring at me. The biggest problem for me is that, because of my height, even when I go in the stall, when I have to stand up (and I do pee sitting down like every other girl, so pipe down wise guy!!!), I’m a good head and shoulders above pretty much every stall in America!!! It makes me incredibly self-conscious. But for all that, I’ve never been greeted with anything more than a brief double take by the ladies in the Women’s Room.
Pretty much, it would seem I’m more afraid of them than they are of me.
I seriously doubt things would go so smoothly if I had to use the Men’s Room. I’d probably get my ass kicked. I’d certainly be harassed. I’d be lucky not to get much worse!
Plus, it would be inappropriate. Because, I’m a Goddamn Woman!!!
I ask to be referred to by a female name. I prefer the use of female pronouns. I’ve jumped through the “official hoops” to have Doctors and Psychiatrists say “Yep. She’s a girl.”
And I have tits! And they’re getting bigger all the time. Heck, they’re growing as I write this!
Tit’s don’t make a woman you say?!?!
Fine. How’s this then?
I cry all the time! Often for no discernable reason!!!
Does that work for you?!!? Can I pee without debate?
Transgender people as a group are generally so nervous about using the bathroom that it’s more likely that we’ll bring a fresh sense of decorum and politeness to the affair than that we’ll be molesting anyone.
So. Now that I’ve addressed the bathroom issue, is it possible that we could maybe, just maybe get back to the whole not being discriminated against or killed for our gender presentation thing?!!?