Another day, another bathroom bill, it seems. In my state, they keep swatting them down, but that’s because I’m in a liberal place. I could be in some place like North Carolina.
It’s a big issue, because if you are transgender, you can be attacked if you are not deemed male or female enough. My biggest conflicts came when I was just starting testosterone, and was still very feminine in the face. I wasn’t masculine enough to be read as male by strangers.
In a lot of ways, it was easier to slide by before transgender issues hit the public stage. All it took was the right clothes, and just generally hitting the gender mark, and strangers would mostly assume you were the gender you were dressed as. This was by far easier for transgender men, than transgender women, of course.
Now, people search your face, and really pay attention to gender. Once again, this happens more for transfeminine folks, than transmasculine folks. I feel there are a vocal minority that are jumping at gender shadows.
Just look at this guy who threatened to wave his penis at a woman he thought was trans:
Alderman John La Tour, who sits on the Fayetteville City Council, decided to attack a woman that was not in any way transgender. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but this time it happened to a cis gendered person.
Now that transgender issues are getting a lot of publicity, I feel a lot of folks are playing a game of Where’s Waldo, but more like Where’s the trans person. These days there are folks out there that are actively looking for, and targeting folks like me.
I “pass” as cis gendered these days. If folks identify me as trans, it’s because I am out about it. However, that that doesn’t mean I have always been read as male. Nor does it mean you should have to perform gender to some arbitrary masculine or feminine level in order to access the bathroom.
So all these bathroom bills being supported or passed all over the US? By every single definition, I would be legally forced to pee in the women’s room.
I guarantee you if I went to pee in a ladies, restroom someone would call the cops. Then what happens? I get scrutinized by taser happy American policemen for being in the women’s room? I risk being openly transgender to the police? Do I get carted off to jail until a judge decides what to do with me? I’m white, so I’d probably survive the process. Then do I start this entire process all over again for using the bathroom I am legally forced to be in?
Being transgender, I have had it more than confirmed by a vocal number of people that they would like me to disappear or die. I am more than aware there are hateful bigots that know nothing about trans issues, that want us to be the next great fearful rallying cry to drive their politics.
But seeing all these laws being proposed or passed? That’s like having a new low level radiation of hate permeate your life. There’s nothing you can personally do about it. You don’t have support from the big lesbian and gay organizations to help stop it. In some ways it’s worse because the big eye of politics has now turned to us, instead of being ignorant of our existence. It’s just a constant on a political level you can’t change.
I am much more able to deal with individual, face-to-face, hate. I can make a snarky comment, mock them, or punch back. This legislative hate? I have no tools in my social toolkit to stop that. Nor do I have any resources at my disposal to help. Transgender people are such a small demographic of the American people, so we definitely don’t have any political clout.
This effects my husband as well. He worries because we train for our agency in some of these states, and what if I get sent down there? I’m out of the closet, do I have to use the women’s room, since everyone knows I’m trans?
It sure curtails where we want to travel on our off time, right now. The hubby runs a Civil War history Youtube channel, and would love to get first hand video of battlefield sites. We don’t feel safe going there right now.
So even in my liberal, diverse happy, corner of the US, all these bathroom bills hit me, and effect my life. It’s not the same as if I live in one of those intolerant places, but it’s still there floating around the edges.