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On Restrooms, Gender, and Fear

My wife and I have a joke. We tell it when we are out in public, at an airport or a restaurant or concert, and I need to use the bathroom. When I stand up to find a restroom I say to her, “Okay, honey, if I’m not out in five minutes, come look for me.”

We always laugh but, actually, it’s not that funny. The “joke” plays on the fact that I’m a gender non-conforming and genderqueer person, and bathrooms are not safe spaces for me. This has always been true, but in the current political climate, when states are passing laws regulating the use of bathrooms by trans and gender non-confirming people, we’ve been telling this joke more.

Sometimes gallows humor is all you have.

Here’s what happens when I go into a public restroom. I am female-bodied, but dress in a way that fits my own understanding of my gender identity which, while not male, definitely trends masculine. Dressed down I wear jeans and oxford shirts with baseball caps. Dressed up I prefer khakis and dress shirts. Bow ties are my favorite accessories. And my hair is cut short enough that the woman who cuts my hair charges me for a “men’s cut” because she doesn’t think I should have to pay more than a man for the same haircut.

Like I said, though, I’m not male. Unlike my trans brothers who have transitioned female-to-male, I have been clear that that was not the right path for me. I’m genderqueer and for me that means I feel happy to live in my body as it is. How I dress and carry that body, though, is often at stark contrast with what the world expects. It’s been that way since I was a 3 year old telling my mom that overalls were better than dresses

So, when I go to use the women’s bathroom, the bathroom of the sex to which I was assigned at birth, things get interesting. Unlike trans men and trans women who wish to use a bathroom that is different from the one they were assigned to at birth, but which fits their true gender, I just want to use the women’s room. But like my trans brothers and sisters, this is not always a safe experience for me.

Here’s what happens. I walk up to the bathroom, with it’s picture of a woman in a dress, and I push open the door. Sometimes it starts there. A woman is coming out and she looks at me, looks up at the door, and looks confused. I push on anyway. Sometimes she will helpfully say, “I’m sorry, sir, this is the women’s room.” I have learned to say, “yes…I know” and keep walking without waiting for a response.

I use the bathroom as quickly as possible. I don’t know what the supporters of bathroom bills think trans and gender non-conforming people are doing in there, but I can assure you it’s not exciting. In fact, I can testify that most of the time we get out as soon as humanly possible. Then I wash my hands, carefully avoiding the mirror-reflected gazes of the woman next to me. I say nothing, unless something is said to me. And then I leave.

I am lucky in that the worst that has ever happened to me in a women’s room is that I’ve been embarrassed. Friends of mine have not been so lucky. One was pulled out by force by a man who believed she was going to harm his wife. He had thought she was a man. Other friends have come out to find a someone standing with a police officer who then demands to see their ID. And I’ve certainly thought about how to best defend myself if someone gets violent. Everyone I know who is gender non-conforming has had those thoughts.

That’s why I try to avoid public bathrooms as much as possible. Believe me, if there is any way to get around it, I will. I suspect this is true of most trans, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming folks. For all the fears around us wanting to use the bathroom, the reality is that we’re far more afraid to use it than you know. I’ve learned not to drink water before I have to fly in order to avoid airport restrooms. I change my clothes before I get to my gym. I’ve walked back to my house rather than use a restaurant bathroom.

IMG_5871

The gender neutral restroom at the United Church of Christ’s last General Synod.

Sometimes, though, I get lucky. I’ll find a place with gender-neutral, single-stall restrooms. That’s like hitting the bathroom lottery. When I came to the church I now serve, I was thrilled to find three gender-neutral bathrooms on the first floor and another upstairs. But this is rare.

The reality is that I spend far more time thinking of bathrooms than I ever thought possible. And for someone who grew up hearing that it was good manners to not talk about anything related to bathrooms, writing about this is particularly odd territory. But now is a kairos time in bathrooms. This is the time when we have to tell our stories, stories that maybe even our closest friends don’t know.

And so, friends, I’m telling you this story. I’m telling you that no trans or gender non-conforming person wants to use the bathroom for any other reason than you do. I’m telling you that this has never been about sexual predators (who don’t need bathrooms to hurt people, and who won’t be discouraged by an anti-trans bathroom law), but about harming trans people. I’m telling you that I’d like to spend a whole lot less time thinking about bathrooms than I do.

And I’m also telling you this. I’m telling you that going into a restroom makes me afraid. I’m a former rugby player, I’ve studied judo, and I routinely dead-lift more than most grown men weigh. But multiple times a week I am too scared to take care of a basic human need in a public place.

The other night I read about a woman who has decided to bring her gun into restrooms from now on in order to “protect” herself from “perverts” who come in. To be clear, that meant anyone that she thought didn’t belong in a women’s room. Shoot first. Ask questions later.

I joked with my wife, “So, that’s how I’m going to die. I’m going to go into a Target bathroom with that woman and she’s going to think I’m a dude and shoot me.”

This time my wife didn’t laugh.


For more from the writer check out Heath’s book “Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity” now from Pilgrim Press: http://www.uccresources.com/products/glorify-reclaiming-the-heart-of-progressive-christianity-heath

or Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Glorify-Reclaiming-Heart-Progressive-Christianity/dp/0829820299/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453486699&sr=1-1&keywords=glorify+emily+heath

320 thoughts on “On Restrooms, Gender, and Fear

  1. Dear Emily, I have felt such compassion on this issue for so many whose lives are affected by this. Your writing is so honest and authentic and caring, I just so appreciate your candor, and do pray for your safety.

    Bathrooms, ‘and’ Bedrooms, are no one else’s business, so I just don’t ‘get’ the angst over them. Golden Rule, ya know? I don’t wish to share ‘my’ business, nor need to know ‘others’, so why do ‘we’ as a society have to go there? I expect my privacy to be respected, so I respect others. So then, what is the problem? Are these loud voiced people spending their mental time thinking and picturing others? Wouldn’t that be heading for adultery, certainly not thoughts where God would want us spending time?

    Humans are ‘such’ animals, aren’t we? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at that, and my doctor reminds me I shouldn’t ‘forget’ that regarding caring for myself, but aren’t we able to manage our brains so as to control our thoughts, to be more productive?

    I’m wicked discouraged with the waste of our political system too….and the waste of time and resources spent by the press on subjects of so little value in my opinion.

    And I’m just so sad that this is one. Sending many thank you’s for sharing with us your thoughts. Jan

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • I hope things will change for the better, now this subject is in the public spotlight. As a European I see the sexual frustration also reflected in the American use of language. We speak of toilets or wc’s, words that refer to the function of the room. In the USA people avoid those words. They say bathroom, even though there is no tub or shower, or they say restroom, though nobody would go there to relax and get some rest.

      • Wilfried – I’ll share a story that maybe will change your mind about using “restroom”. My first “real” job was at a small professional office. The secretary’s name was “Alice”. In the women’s restroom, there was actually a day-bed, and Alice would take naps on it from time to time. I remember how funny it was when my immediate supervisor, a gay guy named “Mike”, would march down the hall, loudly calling Alice’s name, then walk straight into the women’s restroom and hand the now-awake Alice whatever work he had for her. I have had glimpses of other restrooms where there is a small ante-room with chairs so that one can rest. I’ll admit it is not common, but there really are some true “restrooms” out there.

      • I think the word “restroom” is used because there used to be a parlor type area inside the bathroom where “ladies” would relax and talk. Weird to all of us these days.

    • I have never felt threatened by a nonconforming female using the restroom with me. Actually, I am not sure why we don’t just have gender neutral restrooms in this country. I want privacy, no matter who else is in the restroom; ; and that is why we have stalls with doors. Let’s hope people are able to be more kind to each other.

  2. Thank you for writing this, to help us understand what you experience. I’m sorry for those experiences while you just need to attend to a basic human need.

  3. Pingback: On Restrooms, Gender, and Fear – The Here and the Hereafter

  4. Thanks for sharing. We lived in Belgium for 10 years, and my first cultural experience happened right after we landed in Brussels. I didn’t latch the toilet door well, and suddenly a guy opened the door. He was as wide-eyed as I was to see him. I soon learned that it’s generally assumed that men can use a stall in a women’s bathroom if all the stalls are occupied in the men’s bathroom. It’s just common sense. I think women could go in men’s bathrooms, too, but I never needed to. Anyway, I’m a Christian, conservative, older American lady, a pastor’s wife who doesn’t own a gun, so I won’t be packin’ while shopping at Target. If ya gotta go, ya gotta go, and we should just get over our fears and prejudice and show some compassion, for Heaven’s sake!

  5. I live in the Netherlands and I’ve used a men’s restroom when needed in my life. When there is an enourmous queue at the ladies, I use the men’s, even if there are men present. I just look the other way and mind my own business. I also often use the handicapped bathroom because often people don’t use that one and it’s available. I don’t understand the laws that are passed in the USA at this moment. Especially for everyone that is not specifically a man or a woman, like Emily. I feel for you people.

  6. Thank you for writing this piece. I’ve been trying to figure out what the big controversy was all about, and this helps me to understand why it’s such an important thing for trans folks. I hope more people read this and understand the practical importance of supporting non-gender specific bathrooms.

  7. Emily, thank you so much for your vulnerability and candor. I have been working really hard to change my language in worship to be less strictly binary and more welcoming of those who are non-gender conforming or trans. But I had honestly never thought about our bathroom situation. We have one gender neutral bathroom. We probably need to do some work. I’ll be sharing this.

    • Thank you Shelli — there is actually a huge compendium of Gender Neutral of LGBT-centric liturgy examples on line. I think if you Google Trans Faith you may find it.

  8. I was so excited to read your post, because I’m the same kind of person (female bodied, but trending toward masculine in dress/appearance.) It’s been hard for me to find people like us – everyone I know has transitioned.

    Anyway. I’ve also had similar bathroom experiences. This whole debate is so sickening. I just wish people would stop being morons.

    • Thanks Kris- all the best to you– I’ve been approached in restrooms — once by a WOMAN with a MUSTACHE!! “Are you a man or a woman?” she said — and since I did not want to call attention to her hirsute face, I just answered “YES!” to her consternation. I was really polite to her and no I did not leave.

  9. Thank you for writing this honest and important post. It’s important for all of us, opposed and supportive alike, to know your perspective first hand. I recently had a pretty civil exchange on Facebook with a friend who supports the NC legislation. He shared an article in which women who were sexually assaulted explained their fears of backlash against the law. While I think their fears are severely misguided, it helped me understand their perspective and have some empathy. In my own research I found ample evidence that anti-discrimination laws have never been linked to increased sexual predation in public facilities. I have all the evidence I need to know that this law is fear-driven, not intellect-driven. There is no rational basis for it, though supporters will rationalize it to the end. It’s hard to admit, to ourselves, let alone others, when we have let fear take the wheel. Maybe you would agree that these people need our compassion? And, at the same time, they need to know the errors of their judgment and to be educated on realities to which their fear has blinded them. I’m happy to share links to the data I mentioned above, if you’re interested.
    Thank you again, and please keep wiring! Sincerely, Cathy 😊

    • I would indeed agree that the objection to people with penises entering womens spaces is fear driven. However where I would disagree is on that this seems entirely rational.

      98% of sexual assault is carried out by men. It is in acknowledgement of this that we have sex segregated spaces for where women are vulnerable such as in a state of undress. Bathrooms are the thin edge of the wedge. Changing rooms and prisons are places were this policy is more clear-cut.

      The basis for these changes being called for is often because trans women claim they are in fear of men when using their bathrooms. So why are trans women rational for fearing men but women are not?

      The idea that one is what identifies as is entirely unsupportable. As a white person I do not become black by identifying as such, nor can I identify myself as taller or younger and expect others to validate these falsehoods however much I claim them as my truth. How then do you justify this magic wand working with sex?

      Everyone has the right to wear whatever they like and call themselves whatever name they wish and to live free from harrassment. But people do not have the right to rewrite reality and insist others put themselves at risk in order to confirm their their sense of self

      • I am sorry you have so little understanding of human sexual orientation. Which is not chosen, but just is. I would suggest you might find it helpful to learn more about LBGTQ people before you write such a response. I work in Mental Health, and can tell you that saying “the idea that one is what (one) identifies as is entirely unsupportable” is an unsupportable statement. This issue has been studied for a long time by a lot of people from many disciplines. You comparisons to color and height simple show that you really don’t understand this issue. I suspect it is because it has to do with sex. I believe you are a good person, and that you simply do not really understand. Which is why I encourage you to learn more. A lot more. Peace.

        • I’m not talking about sexual orientation I’m talking about gender identity.

          I’m bisexual and fender non conforming so yes I do have a good understanding of the issues and I’ve read about the subject.

          If you work in mental health then you will understand that if your client says ” I am the heir to the Rockefeller fortune ” or “I am Genghis khan” that their identity does not make it reality. You may choose to go along with their delusion to help them eventually work their way through it but you would not start calling in lawyers to make a claim against the Rockefeller for the money they felt they were owed.

          So why is gender identity different? There is still no biological basis for beleiving that being trapped in the wrong body is at all possible. It could all be a neurological blip like when people strongly feel they have one leg because their brainap is faulty.

          We do not tell them that one of their legs isn’t there or doesn’t belong to them. We are honest as we are with anorexics in helping them to understand that the messages their brain is giving them are inaccurate. We do not insist that the rest of himan kind call anorexics fat to confirm their body size identity. We are truthful.

          Rewriting reality and pretending we really view men as women to be nice to them is bizzare. The lie is revealed when it comes to lesbians who do not want to sleep with trans women with penises. We know call them bigots, for refusing to fully accept gender identity as reality.

          The proof of the pudding is on the eating

      • Actually, separated bathrooms has zero to do with what you mentioned and is entirely based upon the era of women entering the public work force. There was no such thing as segregated
        Bathrpoms prior to. Men thought women too frail to be out like that so they gave them their own bathrooms and put parlors in them so they could rest their poor, frail, dainty, useless bodies.

        Segregated bathrooms are based on sexism.

    • Not intellect driven? Misguided? Are you insane? This is ridiculous to pretend to be oblivious when the other gender enters a restroom, not to mention awkward (no punt intended to anyone). Nothing misguided or discriminating just simple common sense to be concerned. Seriously – unbelievable how you rationalize others who think differently than you. How insulting.

    • If you read HB2, 99.9% of it has zero to do with bathrooms. The bulk of it, hidden in the bullshit papers, is all about how lgbt folks aren’t allowed to retaliate should someone discriminate against them based on sexual orientation. I live in Nc. My wife and I face the bigotry daily. The governor used the bathroom crap to get folks angry whIle slipping all of that in.

      I can be kicked out of my rented house for being a lesbian. It is perfectly legal here. I can be fired for it. Legal. And HB2 says I can’t legally retaliate if that is the reason given.

      I live in NC. My wife and I are not from here. We are military. We are called names when we go out and folks watch us in the bathroom. I’m girly but my wife dresses masculine and I assume they think we want to do dirty things in there.

      I live in NC. No one here is SCARED of trans folks in the bathroom. They just want lgbt people to be contained. They’re ignorant and bigoted. I live with it. I experience it daily. Leaving my house is an anxiety filled experience every day. Bringing our kids to school scares the crap out of me. The way folks are here …. they use God as an excuse to be vile and angry and nasty.

      Experience it for yourself before you go posting BS supporting BS. I live here. I experience it daily. They aren’t scared of sexual assault in the bathroom… they’re scared of folks who don’t fit their white, christian, cisgendered cookie cutter opinions.

    • Also, my last post, I meant to start it out with “I would tell them….” hahahaha. Instead it sounds like I’m yelling at you.

  10. This seriously hits home. I’m a nineteen-year-old trans guy, and I “pass” to some folks but not to others. I never know if I’ll be safe in the men’s room with men who think I’m there to invade their space or threaten their children, or the women’s room with the lady who’s bringing her gun with her to pee. Thank you for shedding light on the fear that we experience every single day.

  11. This person “thinks” too much about the bathroom. I don’t have a solution for you. If the created a gender neutral restroom there would be claims of prejudice and discrimination. Everyone has the right to feel safe in this world no matter where we go. But traditionally there as always been a figure with a dress and a figure in pants. This was a mistake made long ago when people had no idea that LGBT folks would be bashing through closet doors and trans folks would be living out loud. And so on. I’m still old school. I don’t care if a manly dressed woman was waiting in line with me. I would probably say hello. But for women, it scary not because of the true trans women, but for the faker who is in line and thinking about everything but taking a piss. How do you tell who’s who? Don’t attack me over this. I’m 55, I’ve been “stranger raped” once, and date raped twice. They didn’t look like rapists until they raped. Urinating and having a bowl movement are of the most personal bodily functions. And when it’s done in a public setting, a person is vulnerable. Because you don’t know a rapist is a rapist until they rape, I’d rather not be forced to use the bathroom with men. I have a really nice trans woman friend and i use the women’s restroom with her whenever I need to. But i know her. Fakers will be plentiful and active.

  12. So you identify as male outward appearance why not use the men’s room and use a stall. No one looks at anybody other in a men’s room – lol.

  13. Emily, why don’t you just use the Men’s bathroom? It sounds like it would be a safer option for you. It’s just a toilet. It’s not like there is ever any indecent exposure in any bathroom. Who cares what picture is out front?

    On behalf of all men I formally invite you to use the men’s room. Just you though. We don’t want the same wait times we see for ladies rooms.

      • I’m 33 years old and have yet to see any indecent exposure in a restroom. The main problem with this topic isn’t genuine transgender people just using the bathroom. The problem is the actual sexual predators and deviants. They are a very crude breed of people that will exploit any loophole and take advantage of it to there benefit. If anyone thinks for 1 second that a sexual predator won’t pretend to be something they’re not to catch a glimpse then you are severely mistaken.

        • Let me get this straight. You want laws that prohibit transgender people from using the bathrooms they identify with to stop the predators from pretending to be transgender to get into a bathroom to do something that is already illegal.

          • Did I say that? I’m pretty sure I just stated that there are people that will take advantage of the situation. But it’s good to see people still have such creative imaginations, just a shame your using this creativity in an attempt to make someone look hateful or prejudice.

            • People inclined to take advantage of situations will find it even easier with bathroom laws such as the NC one. They no longer have to look like they are attempting to pass as women, they can come as they are and claim to be trans men.

              • I know its not the point of your post, but for educational purposes, a male bodied trans person who identifies as female is a trans woman.

                • You are behind the times. Political correctness has moved on and the phrase male bodied is no longer considered acceptable as trans women have female bodies because they are women. You may have heard of the female penis.

                  After all if trans women are women what need is there to distinguish by genitalia?

          • And trans gender women don’t want to use the bathroom of their biological sex because of the possibility of some men doing something that is already illegal?

            …..that has not so far happenned

        • So now your sex-offenders will go into the women’s restrooms and claim to be trans men. They won’t even need to pretend to be attempting to pass as women. It is the anti-trans bathroom laws that make bathrooms less safe for women (both cisgender and transgender).

        • This is pure conjecture on your part. If someone is a sexual deviant, they’re not waiting for trans protection laws to look for a “loophole”. You really have to be seriously delusional and paranoid to actually believe that.

          • Delusional and paranoid to beleive that a Sexual offender would lie? Really?

            Can you explain then why since the start of laws being changed there has been a huge rise in the number of male prisoners claiming they are women and asking to be transferred to womens prisons? Many of these men are sex offenders and gender specialists think most of the claims are false.

            It is you who is delusional if you think we should trust these men to be honest about their gender identity

            • Really arthur, your imagination only indicate you are “turned on” and not reasonable. Trans gender people are not “sexual offenders”.

              Sexual offenders are sexual offenders. It doesn’t matter what they wear or how they lie. It has nothing to do with transgender people.

              The point is you are a bigot. And need to address that part of yourself. You do not need to correct transgender people going to the bathroom according to how they identify.

              Transgender people get abused, raped, attacked and killed more than cis-gender people because of sexual offender and bigots. It’s not about “trusting these men” about their gender identity.

              Trust your own self and behave yourself.

  14. Dear Emily,
    I understand your struggle and I accept your fears,but as a single mother of two small children my fears on them being harmed are real. When they were younger I would pull them in the stalls with me,but now that they are older and not a “baby but a big girl and boy”,they would want to use Thier own stall or wait outside my stall standing in front of the stall door until I’m done. I can protect myself should some idiot gets the wrong ideas..but my children can’t. .and that scares the life out of me. I’m sorry but I can’t agree with that new bill..

    • …but you are there, right? I don’t leave my children alone in a restroom. I don’t understand what you think might happen.

    • You should still be in the restroom with them if they are that small. Quit giving in to fear- mongering and set a better example for your children, so they don’t learn this hate that’s poisoning our country.

      • Its nothing to do with hate. Its fear of men. If there’s nothing to fear from men perhaps you could explain that in the context of 98% of sexual assault being committed by men.

        Do you also think male and female prisoners should share cells? Are women who object to that also hateful? Its outrageous that women are being vilified for being concerned about their safety.

        Its nothing to do with trans people, it’s to do with men to whom these laws give a legal loophole to enter womens spaces

    • but singlemommy a predator is a predator. Predators weren’t stopped by rules about who could use which bathroom before and they won’t be stopped about it by laws either way now. That’s why they’re predators

      I understand that you want to protect your children, but laws about trans people using a bathroom won’t change the situation one way or the other, and denying trans people their rights won’t protect your kids. It’ll just make it a more unjust world to live in, which isn’t really safe for kids either

    • Oh PLEASE. Get real. I’m a mother and a gender-non-conforming person. I usually refer to myself as gender fluid/neutral…labels I’ve been using for 20+ years. I also have severe inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis with Crohns complications) and RA.

      Just this past Wednesday, I was almost physically stopped from going into the bathroom at Mcdonalds from the EMPLOYEES behind the counter…because they thought I was a man going into the women’s bathroom. (Funny thing…in this state, I actually have legal standing to use any bathroom at any time. I cannot be denied access to any bathroom, including toilets in government buildings that otherwise are not open to the public. I have a card with the state law and a doctor’s signature detailing my illnesses and rights.)

      Let me be clear: I’ve been called male while EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT (on more than one occasion) when I had hair down to the small of my back (also on more than one occasion), while WEARING A DRESS, while getting ready to breastfeed my daughter…starting to get the picture?

      Your fear of your children being harmed have NOTHING AT ALL to do with transfolk or gender non-conforming people. NOTHING. NOT. ONE. THING.

      Please set a better example for your children. As my daughter (now famously in our circles) said at age 11 when we began discussing these issues, “A girl with a penis is STILL A GIRL.” She’s now sixteen, and will gladly educate you and your children.

      • Talon, you’re a mom, so I’m sure you have fears related to your children. Fear is a deeply-set feeling that comes from a very honest (if maybe sometimes ignorant) place. The previous poster to whom you are replying is a mom who is simply stating her fears, fears which I think many moms have. From my perspective, the fear is not of transgender people, but of the thought of men, period, being in the same bathroom as their little girls. It’s new territory for this country, and it’s going to take some getting used to, so you might want to ease up a little on the rhetoric that you use. We have to be kind to each other as we work our way through changes like this. My thanks to the writer of this article for her bravery!

        • No one is suggesting that women share bathrooms with men. No one. This bill PREVENTS women from using the room designated as a ladies toilet. My then 11 and now 16 year old can tell you, “A girl with a penis is STILL A GIRL.” Emphasis hers. And she can follow that up with, “It’s the human body, people. What are you so afraid of?” This child could have given a human reproductive and sexuality seminar at age 5. Because that’s what interested her at the time. Today, she has friends who are trans and others who choose to keep their gender, but take non-gendered names. (She, herself, has three gender-neutral…ish names) She has always been very “GIRL POWER”. She’s highly intelligent, artistic, autistic and outspoken.

          But you’re not wrong…I do have fears.

          Fears related to my child. Singular. My firstborn died at 4 days of age of an undetected, undiagnosed, incompatible with life heart defect. And my second was also born with a heart defect; thought it is mild and not life threatening, going to the pediatric cardiologist’s every year was an exercise in PTSD hell. So yes. I do worry, have worried, AM worried about my surviving child. In just about every way possible. But in this instance, I worry for her trans and gay friends more.

          What I did NOT do was push my neurosis off onto her, or use her or her deceased brother as excuses to act like a bigot. (Singlemommy, and others on here, not you. Please believe I’m being sincere and really attempting respectful here. I’m not sure how well it’s going; it’s Beltane, and from where I’m sitting, I haven’t finished my caffeine and it’s raining.)

          And from my perspective I look at facts. No time in the history of ever, has any man, women or child been the victim of attack or abuse by a trans person using the facilities that match their gender. But with all these laws, the danger TRANS people were already in, has increased…largely due to people like singlemommy. Who doesn’t look at facts or apparently teach her children bathroom etiquette.

          I have a VERY difficult time accepting willful and harmful ignorance. So much so that I just won’t. I can be kind if someone is willing to be educated, but that dog won’t hunt when the person isn’t willing to meet anyone halfway on a bill that is giving free license, not to perverts or pedophiles, but to those who don’t “believe” in trans people, or those who already hate them. It gives them a lawful and righteous excuse to harm ANYONE they find doesn’t measure up to what a woman should look like. And as an androgynous person, whose incidents have been escalating in frequency and vehemence…yeah, I’m worried about what might happen to my child if she’s caught up in a violent confrontation concerning her non-gender-conforming mother in the ladies room.

        • I think fear of other people comes from both ignorance and media hype. The rare case of a predator climbing through a bedroom window gets the front page, not the great majority (80%) of sexual assaults in which the predator is someone the victim/survivor knows (relative, acquaintance, mom’s boyfriend, coach, clergy, etc). I am far more terrified that a serial sexual molester was 2 heartbeats away from becoming President of the US than I am about nonexistent weirdos in the bathroom at Target. And since males are rape victims as well, where’s the outcry about “protecting our husbands and sons” in the mens’ bathroom?! To assume that people who identify themselves other than “binary” are interested in your daughters makes less sense than believing people who have tattoos are coming after your daughter with a Sharpie (or whatever silly, illogical, unsubstantiated claim.) Wealthy white male legislators who invent these moral controversies are doing a great job of distracting you from learning about the corporate control of America.

    • Is there any reason why you aren’t teaching your kids about bathroom safety? Use these instances to teach about how to be safe in different situations, like using a public toilet. You can’t keep bringing them in with you forever, even if they are in the bathroom with you but outside your stall they are safe! Teach them how to keep them self safe and not how to be fearful their whole lives!! Is this not common sense?

    • Howdy Single Mommy… I grew up with transgender people in my town and there was NEVER any issue. They were only nice people and more interesting than the fearful ones. Your kids would benefit from a beautiful world not the narrow one you want for them. Transgender people are beautiful courageous people that help us all recognize where we stereotype and mislead gender roles. Open your heart and mind and stop teaching fear and hate. If one of your kids turns out to be different then you want, they won’t be able to feel free to tell you so because of you being a bigot.

    • Do you stay there in the restrom? Do you quiver with fear? Or do you KNOW how to be assertive and aggressive SHOULD anything truly problematic start to unfold. Get real lady.

  15. I’m so sad for you! I hope change will come. My husband and I are blessed with two autistic kiddos 6 and 9 years old. One of the coolest things about them, is due to their internal focus (a blessing in this instance) they see nothing wrong with not conforming to gender norms. I don’t know what the future holds for them but for now I am glad they are unaware that it isn’t typical for a boys favorite color to be pink and play dressup as both a superhero, a construction worker or a ballerina or request tshirts from the girls section because he wants pink shirts. And the same for our daughter who loves blue and red and plays with cars, planes and trains and hates dresses but is okay with pink and purple as my son also likes “boy toys” and she sometimes requests cool super hero shirts from the boys department. Their innocence that blending these things is not “the norm” is a beautiful thing. But your post makes me worry for their future. Who knows how they will choose to dress as adults.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story! As this seems to becoming more publicity worthy, there is a simple solution that has yet to be discussed. Private bathrooms exist in almost all large buildings, airports, government offices etc. Change the signage on Handicapped bathrooms to include gender neutral persons or for that matter, anyone who wants more privacy than a main bathroom provides. Anyone with colitis or other issues of that physical nature, would appreciate not having to sneak into the Handicapped washroom to have more privacy. Maybe the name ‘privacy bathroom’ would be a good choice!
    Again, thank you for being willing to share your life experience with us.

  17. I am a transgender woman, and like others who have posted, I sometimes ” Pass” and sometimes I get ” clocked”. I am fortunate enough to live in a state with very strict gender identity rights acts coverning the restroom. And I applaud your attitude and your humor. I despise the right for dragging out stories of rape victims, this is utter garbage as none of those women was raped by a transwoman but by male attackers. Now my story , about 5 years ago I made a mistake in judgement and was assaulted in a men’s room by two male attackers who attempted to rape me. A lack of judgement on their part. So I learned firsthand how unsafe transgenders are in their genetic bathroom. For myself , it will never happen again.!!!!! Laws or No Laws

    • Tamara, I am so sorry you had this experience. I hope they didn’t physically hurt you, as if being verbally abused is bad enough. Rape is violent and I wish people would start looking out for one another in public areas as well as neighborhoods.

  18. I absolutely do not have a problem with transgender men/women using the bathroom of their choice. I have found my friends and the people I encountered to be very nice and just want to blend in and go on with their lives. The problem with the bathroom issue is that the weirdo/sickos out there that want to take advantage of the bathroom law to take pictures or assault others. Most often this will be the male assaulting a woman or child. I believe that Target and other companies should install that third bathroom for one person at a time. Yes, it will cost them some money, but people should be able to feel comfortable with their choice and I shouldn’t have to fear for me or my grandchildren.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m a straight cis woman, and while I fully support LGBT rights and have never had any fear of sharing a bathroom with gender nonconforming women or trans women, I can’t say that I’ve really thought about what that must be like for you to deal with on a regular basis. I worry that I might be one of those women doing a double take if I saw a person who appeared to be a man walking in to the women’s restroom, and if that’s the case I sincerely apologize. I hope that eventually there will be gender neutral single stall restrooms everywhere, but in the meantime I wish you happiness and safety. Please know that you have many allies! Take care, and thank you again for sharing this enlightening piece.

  20. I have a 9 yr old daughter and we use public restrooms alot. This is not a concern of mine. I would not think twice nor would I take a second glance at Emily if she came into the restroom. She has the right to be there.

  21. yep. exactly my experience too. Flying home from a conference, hours after learning of my mother’s death that morning. I walked into an airport bathroom and was challenged by a woman who seemed to be doing a complete facial scrub at the sink. “Am I in the MEN’S room?!” she said, oblivious to the women coming and going all around us. “No,” I replied and went into a stall where I cried in privacy for 20 minutes. When I finally emerged, she was still there, standing by the exit. She made some kind of noise I couldn’t interpret and stormed out. I washed my hands and managed to make my connection.
    What happens to us is real and it is terrifying. Reading your piece brought back all of that fear that made my chest tense. I know what it is to prepare for that ordeal. I know how to keep an eye on the exits in case violence is threatened, how to keep my eyes down, how to move quickly to a stall and how to exit again with the same posture. Your experience is mine, and it takes a piece of my soul every time someone discounts my humanity like that.
    People say “why don’t you use the men’s room?” without considering the very real dangers a gender non-conforming person could encounter there. “Oh, so you wanna be a man?!” comes the challenge. No, thanks. In the women’s room, I might get shouted at or harassed, but I am less likely to be actually physically assaulted, raped, or killed.
    Thanks for speaking your truth, which I share.
    Thanks to your spouse for witnessing and supporting.❤

    • I’m so sorry about your Mom!! I’m also sorry that the woman at the sink (who should have been scrubbing her SOUL) gave you such a hard time. I have been challenged in Ladies’ Rooms too– once a woman who had a FULL MUSTACHE!! (I am not kidding) asked me “Are you a man or a woman!!” Not wanting to embarrass her over her mustache, I calmly answered in one word – “YES !!”, to which she had no answer except to sputter and leave the room.

  22. Well-written piece, thank you. As a trans woman who is unlikely to ever ‘pass’ as cis-gender, this will be an issue for me for the rest of my life.

  23. Thank you. These terrible laws affect all of us. It is so important to share our experiences and help people understand we are not a threat to them and our own safety is in danger.

  24. Emily so sorry you have to live this way. I promise if I see you in the restroom I will talk to you as I do all people and defend you if necessary. Bless you for speaking out.

  25. This makes me so sad. Also mad! I’m a woman who has been mistaken for a man often in the past; there was even a rumour started about me where I grew up that I was transitioning to male. That, or a lesbian. I just prefer to wear my hair short and wear jeans and t-shirts or shorts. I’m also not prone to wearing make-up.

    It doesn’t matter a bit to me who uses which restroom. Everyone needs to pee, after all. And no one should be afraid to do so.

    In Florida, one county has introduced a law that people use either the restroom of their birth gender or a gender neutral restroom. Very sad.

  26. Why is everybody so worried about who sees their peepee ? Emily is as God made her and she prefers to dress comfortably.

  27. Thank you for sharing your experience. I never realized how lucky I am to just be a female in a matching body. We all need to stop with the hate an just let everyone live their life.

  28. I have a hard time understanding why people think a bill which is designed to keep transgender people out of the bathroom that matches up to their gender identity will stop someone who intends to commit a sexual assault from entering that bathroom. And in addition to that, what are nonbinary people supposed to do? Honestly, I think gender-neutral single stalls like the ones mentioned in the post above are the best option for everyone.

  29. Fear, and hatred, are learned rather than inate to our being. Those championing the debate and legislation are not thinking clearly. They seem to be sheep following some strange theology, led by ultra conservatives. When your bladder is full and eyeballs seem to be floating, does the gender debate really seem important?

    • They seem to be sheep following some strange theology, led by ultra conservatives.

      This is exactly my feeling about trans activists. A strange theology that says black is white that sheep are following. And ultra conservative as it strengthens gender stereotypes.

  30. I do not have a problem with trans bathrooms or trans women using women’s restrooms. I don’t have a problem with a trans man using the women’s restroom. I am sure they have been doing that for decades! I do have a problem with persons with a penis changing clothes in a women’s locker room. I have a problem with the government dictating that any person can use a women’s restroom or locker room. I really do not care who uses the men’s room or locker room. It does not concern me or my granddaughter. Emily is awesome!

    • So you would have a trans woman who hasn’t had bottom surgery put herself in danger in the men’s room?

  31. I could go on about y opinion concerning gender and choice, xx and xy genes, what a man and woman are BORN with, and Gender Dysphoria and how our feelings don’t change reality…though it does, kinda, in a way. First, no one is perfect and we are born the way we are. I don’t have the answers so I should be hard hearted about this. I also shouldn’t force my opinion on others by being opinionated and stiff necked. I DO have an opinion, though kindness is much more important. Each of us lives just one life. We each have a history and a place and people who fill our lives, one way or another. However you came to this place, you are here now and you have the American RIGHT to find your own happiness. You aren’t hurting anyone. You are merely just trying to live your lives (or go pee, as in this case). So on one hand, I have some confusion and some questions and concerns, and on the other hand here you are, a person who I am required (as a Christian) to be kind to. I think, in this case, kindness is much more important. I don’t have to agree with people on why trans people are the way they are. I just have to let them live their lives while I live my own. I shouldn’t transfer my frustration with regressive political nuts to just regular trans people who i might encounter on any given day. Kindness trumps everything.

  32. Those of a radical feminist persuasion who want bathrooms to remain sex-segregated are already aware that butch lesbians are misgendered at public bathrooms. They oppose this as well. There’s a relatively simple solution: Don’t let anyone change the sex marker on their ID and if the question comes up, just ask to see ID. And perhaps change the law to more harshly punish bathroom harassers should the harassee prove to be the proper sex for that bathroom. There you go.

    Meanwhile it’s insulting to our intelligence to say that no transgendered person ever wants to be inappropriate or harmful to other people in the bathroom. They are transgendered people, not saints or angels. Just like the rest of us, they have their miscreants and criminals. And if we let anyone use any old bathroom they want no matter how the bathroom is marked, that leaves the door wide open for people who don’t mean well to say things that aren’t true so that they can go places they shouldn’t be allowed to go. And that’s the ones pretending to be trans. Some trans people are bad too. Not because they’re trans but because they’re human and it’s just the luck of the draw.

    It used to be that there was gatekeeping against people of a certain criminal persuasion being allowed to transition. Now they’re transing sex offenders in prison… and some of those are not serving life sentences.

    And that’s the ones who get caught. You’re a woman. You know damned well they don’t all get caught.

    Stop doing this. I am sorry that you are having bad experiences and I would change them if I could. It’s NOT the same issue as just letting any old male into the women’s who wants to be there, and letting the chips fall where they may.

    This is what we get for thinking that being male or female is up for a vote or is an “identity” or a “feeling”. Can we get back to Mammalian Biology 101 please?

  33. Also, for the record, if I couldn’t figure out you were female just by looking at you, I’d probably figure it out the minute you opened your mouth and spoke… so just saying Hi to you and getting a Hi back would be enough to smooth things over without undue upset. Conversely, transwomen don’t pass nearly as well as they think they do. They might fool a non-trans person (I refuse to use “cis” for reasons I won’t get into here) as long as they remained silent but once they said something it would all be over.

    Biological sex being a natural state of being and so much of the body being involved in sexual dimorphism, it’s not as simple as people are painting it to be, and “crotch checks” are largely unnecessary on the MTF side of things. Butch lesbians, except the ones with unusually deep voices, sound female so that’s not a big deal either.

    I wonder that no one seems to care about what happens to transmen, though, and why so many of them feel the need to use the stalls. Transwomen are safer in men’s bathrooms than in women’s; the latter is where they are usually attacked. Transmen are not safe in men’s bathrooms and might not be safe in women’s. And this is why we need to focus on building more gender-neutral/unisex bathrooms (as a third option, not as the only option going, especially with multi-stall bathrooms) as opposed to forcing a mixed-sex environment.

    • I think I understand what you’re trying to say, but I think you have it backwards. Trans women are male to female, and trans male are female to male….

      But in Emily’s case, she is a genetic female trying to use the restroom that “she should,” according to these laws. If this type of harassment is happening without the law in place, can you imagine how much worse it would be on other gender neutral people? Methinks everyone needs to mind their own business and stop sticking their noses in other people’s crotches, unless they’re invited!

    • Transmen need to use the stalls because they want to. Cis men use stalls a lot too- what do you want to say to THEM? Transwomen are SAFER in men’s bathrooms? Get real? What stats do you want to quote for THAT “logic”????
      You appear to be totally unfamiliar with the LGBTQ world

    • No, you probably wouldn’t. If you questioned my sex by the way I look, walk and act and think you could confirm it by the way I speak, the pitch of my voice or the words I choose, you are very much mistaken.

      Aside from having functioning female genitalia, and having given birth twice and being married to a straight man for 20 years, I really have very little in common with “typical cis-women”.

      As someone who has been “sir-ed” while visibly pregnant, as someone who has actually had to argue with a person about whether they were born female or not, if you thought I was a man at sight, I promise my voice would not clear anything up for you. It hasn’t in the past.

      The absence of an Adams apple might be a good starting point though.

  34. Emily, I am so very sorry that some people just suck. I wish there was something I could say to make you more comfortable in such situations. I do not have an issue who I’m sharing a restroom with although I try to avoid public rest rooms only because they are “public” and not many have respect for these restrooms and more than not leave them quite gross. I love my hair cut short it’s care free and I love the way it looks. I do my best to not care what others think as I love being my own person and love meeting people who also walk their own path in life. Hold your head high and just be you.

  35. Bottom line: How on earth can such anti LGBT bathroom laws be enforced ???
    Can we station police at every toilet ?

  36. I found that the Burger King restaurants in our area have all switched to bathrooms labeled for everyone + disability access. They are all single person capacity. Another popular small coffee house closed up one of their two restrooms and labeled the remaining one for all–again single use.

  37. I can appreciate your comment. But as a mother of four daughters, I too feel a sence of unease in a public bathroom, especially pertaining to airports after long flights, connecting fights and usually no meals. I personally don’t loll at anyone else in there, keep an eye on my kids and use the facilities!

  38. Thank you for writing this. I’ve always worked jobs in non-traditionally female occupations, such as police officer and tour bus driver. I wear a uniform. I am female. I have short hair. While there are more women than ever in these jobs, almost every day someone calls me “sir” before looking at my face. I’ve have several confrontations in rest rooms. I know it’s the ladies room. I’m wearing a uniform because I am at work. Really, just mind your own business.

  39. Thank you for sharing your story. Please understand, that for some, the concern over gender neutral multi stall bathrooms is not directed at the gender non- conforming person. It revolves around the fact that there is no way to tell if the person is gender non-conforming or the opposite gender taking advantage of the ability to gain unquestioned access to the other genders restroom for purposes other than their intended use.

    • Lisa — There is NO WAY to tell if ANYONE is gender conforming– some women in the minority are born with internal GONADS. Some people have BOTH sex organs. Others have questionable ones — ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS TAKE A LEAK!!!! Years ago, I was a liiiddle 5 yr old kid puking my guts out in a Ladies’ Room in the NY Subway. Mom was with me. A GUY peeked over from the other stall to see what was going on. This was over 60 years ago- this stuff happens ALL THE TIME!!. So — let’s just pee, poop, puke, clean up , go out the door and mind our own business.
      “Taking Advantage” ???? In the GRAND scheme of Eternity how much of an impact do you REALLY think that will have????!!!
      “Unintended use”?? Fights break out in men’s rooms, Women stalk women in Ladies’ rooms — Men break into girls’ rooms in schools — This has been going on FOR A LOOONG TIME and it has NOTHING to do with Gender conformity!!!
      “Watch Your Back” has been the mandate ALL the time– let’s not inflate what is really a piss-ant (LOL) excuse not to allow certain people access to certain bathrooms.
      BTW– GUYS in my local bookstore used to go into the Ladies’ Room to hoist their i-phones over the stall doors and take pikshas.

    • But a restrictive law won’t make anyone safer. If people are told to use the restroom that “matches” their genitalia, what is to stop cis men from pretending to be trans *men* to gain access to the women’s room? These bathroom bills don’t protect anyone. They only whip up a dangerous witch hunt for trans people.

  40. Over the past year, maybe year and a half, I have been challenged over all these issues around the LGBT and now restrooms. I have come to the conclusion I would rather error on the side of loving people than to give into fears that are not valid. I enjoyed reading your blog post! You addressed real concerns. I do not blame your wife for not laughing about being shot in the restroom. There are some crazy people with conceal carry weapon permits. So, please do not joke with her about that!

  41. Once… I used the ladies’ room in a store where I worked as a display trimmer. I came back a few minutes later to find a sign on the LR door that said “LADIES ONLY!!” and I wrote underneath it “Or Reasonable Facsimiles Thereof”, and I used that LR for the REST OF THE DAY.

  42. Crying…I am in the same position as your wife. My partner is female, identifies as female. She dresses masculine bow ties and a short “male” haircut. She’s had bartenders storm the restroom while she was using it. It is a great cause for anxiety and needless to say embarrassment. Unfortunately I believe things are going to get worse before they get better.

  43. As well as this being a trans or gender non-conforming issue, my wife IS gender conforming, dressing in a feminine fashion from choice, but still consistently being misgendered. She has had women scream when she entered the women’s washroom. They are trying to fit us all into very narrow boxes of “this is what a woman looks like” or “this is what a man looks like”. Too bad it just cannot be a world-sized box labelled “this is what a person looks like” and let it go at that.

  44. 20 years ago, I don’t think butch women were being chased out of the women’s room like they are now. I see more and more hostility towards women who do not conform to gender stereotypes. I see women with cropped hair and men’s clothes be assumed to be transgender rather than non-stereotypical. I don’t think the transgender movement is helping this, I think it’s only pathologizing nonconformity and obscuring the existence of people who just don’t follow the rules.

    I feel really bad for the tomboys in high school today. Who are undoubtedly hearing the message that they aren’t “female” enough to use the girl’s room, who should use the Other bathroom because they don’t act Normal.

    Now when a boy wants to play with dolls, he’s sent off to the clinic and has his name changed, because society can’t see, or tolerate, the idea of a man or woman who doesn’t fit in.

  45. 20 years ago, I don’t think butch women were being chased out of the women’s room like they are now. I see more and more hostility towards women who do not conform to gender stereotypes. I see women with cropped hair and men’s clothes be assumed to be transgender rather than non-stereotypical. I don’t think the transgender movement is helping this, I think it’s only pathologizing nonconformity and obscuring the existence of people who just don’t follow the rules.

    I feel really bad for the tomboys in high school today. Who are undoubtedly hearing the message that they aren’t “female” enough to use the girl’s room, who should use the Other bathroom because they don’t act Normal.

    Now when a boy wants to play with dolls, he’s sent off to the clinic and has his name changed, because society can’t see, or tolerate, the idea of a man or woman who doesn’t fit in.

    • The only people that insist that tomboyish girls or boys that like dolls are routinely identified as transgender are people that don’t – or won’t – bother themselves to actually understand what being transgender actually means.

  46. My wife is trans, m-f. I vote for gender neutral or like in Europe and many other parts of the world, COED. People just behave properly and do their business. No problem.

  47. Hi Emily, Thanks for sharing this with us. It was a brave action for you to take, but you educated everyone who read it. Especially now that they can open carry and there is such an unhealthy wave of rage and hate sweeping the country. Bless you and your wife.

  48. Thank you for having the courage and grace to share this. You’re a wonderful writer and I imagine a wonderful speaker, which adds up to being a pretty good preacher. Preach, sister❤

  49. Emily, I join with all those who have said “thank you” for sharing your authentic self and raising awareness. May we all stand and be vocal with such courage for those who are trans and those who live beyond labels. Many blessings.

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  51. Us anti bathroom people are not afraid of the transgendered people or fluid people who will use the bathroom. We know they are harmless. What we ARE afraid of is the 1 percent of perverts who will use this law to their advantage to harm or violate members of the opposite sex in the most vulnerble of ways.

    Just because we dont want public bathroom gender neutral does NOT mean you do not have our support. You do, but I wont develope a climate for predators.

    People will say the incident of vulnerability crimes will be so small and ingsanificant that it wont matter….but I ask you is one person being violated worth a thousand using the restroom of their “choice.”

    No it is not worth one victim to serve the preference of the masses.

    But dont think I dont feel for you, I do. All of us anti bathroom people really have compassion for trans and fluid people.

    I dont know what the answer is, but sharred bathroooms it is not. Instead of using “gender fluid” bathrooms, which I feels segregates a certain population to a specific bathroom…… perhaps the US should adopt more “unisex” style bathrooms as a third option, one that would be a CHOICE.

    As a woman I dont like doing my business in front of men, so I would chose the womens room strictly. However, people who were comfortable doing so could use a “unisex” bathroom by choice knowing all types are welcome in there.

    Just a thought.

    • If you really want perverts to stop harming women and children, then you are addressing the wrong arena. In the case of children, the vast majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a family member or by someone trusted by the family, and usually happens in the home. In the case of women, the vast majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by dates, men they thought were friends, and coworkers.

      The “climate for predators” predates these bathroom laws. We have lived with it for thousands of years. As long as women and children are seen as less than equal, as long as we perpetuate the rape culture, as long as men are trained into entitlement, as long as men are taught that the only valid emotion is anger followed by violence, we will continue to live in a climate for predators.

    • I know for a fact that NOT all of you “anti bathroom people really have compassion for trans and fluid people.” There is much more risk of trans women being attacked for using the men’s room (which is what you’re asking for, because they were born with and might still have a penis) than for cis women being attacked by a man in the ladies room. Also, I have never been in a ladies room in the US that didn’t have stalls, so there’s no danger of you “doing your business” in front of men. However, if you have your way, you will be sharing the restroom with trans MEN. I wonder how you will feel about that?

  52. Sending you love and strength as the fearful figure this shit out. It’s always helpful to get all perspectives of the story heard.

  53. As a mother to a non gender conforming child I have seen firsthand the tough road ahead for her. My daughter is not transgender she is perfectly happy being a girl, but would prefer swim trunks and a rash guard to a girl’s bathing suit, she keeps her hair cut short and hates dresses. Often we are out and it is assumed that she is my son. Right now she is small, but already she has encountered a few hateful comments. These bathroom bills will be a challenge for her as she grows. She just wants to be herself.

  54. I saw this on Facebook. I went to hit the ‘like’ button. Now there are all of these choices and I can only pic one. Too much. I ‘like’ that you posted this. It gives me a different perspective. I ‘love’ that now there are starting to be choices so people don’t have to feel afraid. (Yay gender neutral, single stall bathrooms.) There’s not really anything funny about this, so that’s eliminated. I could use the ‘wow’ face because I can’t believe how many bathroom themed posts have shown up in my newsfeed over the last few days. The ‘sad face’ is appropriate because it sucks that people have to go through this anytime they need to use the restroom in public. The ‘angry’ face works because why can’t we all just respect each other? What if we were all just happy that we have toilets with stalls available to us? It beats the snot out of holes in the ground to hover over like some countries have!

  55. Well thays how it will be..some stupid man or women shooting and killing someone who had every right to be a woman’s restroom.

  56. I don’t have those gender issues, and I’m uncomfortable in public bathrooms. If they’ve got the privacy doors missing, I’ll try to find a way to go someplace else if there’s any way possible.
    For me, when in the bathroom, I don’t really care what sex anyone is, and I really don’t want any interaction with them, I just want to get done and get out. And yes, on occasion, I’ve been worried about someone kicking in the flimsy privacy door and being violent. It’s even happened one time, though I have no idea why.

    I can sympathize with how Emily feels, even though my experience isn’t even a fraction of what others, including Emily, have encountered. I’d say theirs is based on a more rational concern than mine, but fears and related discomforts don’t really care about being rational in the first place.

    I guess what my random babbling is leading towards is that I’m sorry there are sick people out there that seem to think it’s their duty to make laws against using the bathroom, and I sincerely hope it gets better for you and everyone else, even in those places that don’t have such discriminatory laws in the first place.

  57. I am female, straight, and Caucasian. (Just stating facts). I have a son (one of four whom we adopted). My son, (he is African/American) is profoundly Deaf, has ‘low vision’ (legally blind) and is quite involved autistic. I take him into the women’s restroom with me. I don’t escort him into the men’s, I don’t relish the thought of urinals nor body parts on display, my preference is the ladies’ room. My son doesn’t care. He likes bathrooms. He likes the doors to the stalls, and if he does get away from me and into
    A men’s room, he might not come back out unless prompted. So, I take him into the ladies room with me, and yes, he looks exactly like an adult ( though he is short) black male. ( he is 28 yrs old). (( physically; mentally?? Perhaps 3 or 4)). I don’t want a hassle or people freaking out, i really get tired of ‘explaining Jesse’ if it is nonofyourbusyness.
    I can use the toidy, even with Jesse in the same stall, without putting myself on display in front of him, ( with his autism, he would not even notice!! His mind is on ‘time to wash hands’). If I need to go, I am happy to have a toilet with flushing water and not an outhouse with a hole in a board. If I am with my son, leave us alone, we are there for the same reason as anyone else; pee and wash hands. You, author of the above blog piece, are welcome to join us anytime, and we, Jesse and I, also would very much like to avoid the crazed woman with the pistol.

    • I just wanted to say to you and anyone in your situation, as well as the situation being discussed, that I will always say something.

      As an autistic mom of an autistic kiddo who has friends with kids who will never live on their own…I get it.

      And I will always stand with you…and ANY woman or child getting hassled in the ladies room. It’s not in my nature to do anything else, but I figured it should be said.

  58. As a straight cisgender woman, my heart goes out to you. And this article definitely drives the issue of bathroom laws home in a way that it hasn’t been for me prior to now…I’ve spoken out about transgendered persons’ rights to anyone who will listen but I’ve naively believed that the problem would blow over soon. I hope that someday this isn’t a problem for gay or transgendered people or anyone who doesn’t identify in traditionally masculine or feminine ways, but I also hope I can figure out what, if anything, I can do to help that happen. Thanks for sharing this.

  59. Ok. As a hetero female who looks female but not feminine, I recently walked into a bathroom where there was a short haired person dressed as a referee. I saw her from the side getting out of stall and immediately thought, oh am I in the men’s room? Jumped out to look at door to realize I was in women’s room. I have no problem with that. But if you recognize that you look “different” from expectations, can you accept that may cause confusion in others without being offended? I don’t think I should have to apologize for confusion at times. If you are not hostile to me and I’m not hostile to you,I’m good. To me it is like racism, yes there are racist people, let’s stand up against them together. But if you are in the minority it’s not helpful to your cause if you have hatred towards all in the majority. And if you don’t want to create confusion, you know you have the option to dress like everyone else and wear jeans and a t-shirt and nobody will notice you. Most hetero women I know don’t wear dresses with frills and bows in their hair, that would likely be a transvestite dressing like his image of a girl from 1940, why??? That I don’t get.

    • Um…I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a jacket Wednesday when two McDonalds employees tried to stop me from going into the ladies room.

      As someone who’s been called a man while wearing a DRESS, your flawed thinking is so beyond the pale it’s hard to imagine anyone actually thinks like this.

      And I’ve also worn a referee’s uniform. Coached football. Announced games. Thrown three grown men out of the press box when I was sixteen bc of their racist comments about the opposing team.

      . . .

      Okay, I just realized why this argument pisses me off so much. You’re using the same argument people use to shame victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.

      I hope you’re proud of yourself.

      • “Okay, I just realized why this argument pisses me off so much. You’re using the same argument people use to shame victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.”

        Well said, thank you.

  60. Truly a sad and frightful article. Thank you for your bravery in telling it. You are so right, this is not about the safety of children. The right wing politicians have found a new boogeyman to frighten the unwashed masses. They are using the ignorance of their base to win votes and keep them feeding from the public trough. Stay strong and best wishes for you and your wife.

  61. Thanks for posting this. Seems like a mountain is being made out of a molehill on this restroom thing. Things work fine if everyone is polite and respectful and just doing their business then leaving. Only problem is when the guardians of the Right take it upon themselves to make any event into a battle for the survival of mankind.

  62. Your posting makes me very sad. I find it difficult to accept that people can’t leave things alone. Why all of a sudden is this a huge issue? And laws being put into place on bathrooms. It’s nice our states have extra money to sit and get paid to discuss bathroom issues and pass laws on it. So sad. No one should be afraid to go to the bathroom. I’m more afraid of people not washing their hands. I use public restrooms. I’ve encountered transgenders in the bathroom. If I make eye contact, I smile. We both go on to do the business we set forth to do in there. What’s the big deal? Maybe the book “Everyone Poops” should be revised to fit this situation??? Everyone has to use the bathroom. It saddens me that you go home to use the bathroom. This country is not being kind to people anymore. I hear of a lot of Christians having issues with this and saying things to transgender people. Would they say those things if Jesus was standing next to them? And what would Jesus say if a transgender walked in the restroom? Certainly not what these Christians are saying. Why have people’s hearts become so hard and cold? If special bathrooms are needed for transgenders, then I want special ones made for priests. I hope things will change in the near future so all you have to say to your wife the next time you have to use a public bathroom is “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

  63. I don’t understand why anyone has a problem with who is in the women’s restroom. There are stalls. You can see nothing of the people in the stalls next to you. I would go in a men’s restroom and use the stalls. You have bathrooms at home which more than one sex uses. Let go of your puritan roots and move into the 21st century. I am truly sorry that you have to feel so uncomfortable using a public restroom.

  64. Poignant and vulnerable. Thank you for thoughtfullly sharing. My wife and I have both shown our tits to prove it, and sometimes, they don’t even believe that. This situation has been silently out of control for a long time. It’s been a travesty and a tragedy. It’s long overdue that this be addressed, and justly.

  65. Wow, I thought I was the only person dealing with this issue. My friends and family make jokes about it, as do I. But I HATE going into a public restroom. I make someone go with me, if possible. When I have to go in alone, I try to act as feminine as possible (which is funny, in itself). I don’t try to look like a guy, I just do…

    • *offers fistbump* Hey sister!! I spend alot of time in public bathrooms, due to my illnesses and it’s only been within the last two weeks that these sorts of issues have escalated in vehemence and frequency, at least for me.

      I’ve walked this world on a tread of fearlessness and intimidation; it’s rare for anyone to do anything more than “Sir” at me. Until this past Wednesday, when two McDonalds workers started coming after me when I opened the door to the ladies room.

      The good news is, my intimidation factor is still quite high. The bad news is, this has definitely been the most vigorous…question as to my gender.

      If you really want to “act more feminine” in the bathroom, just have a tampon, still in the wrapper and twirl it around in your fingers. ;D

  66. Hey Emily, thanks for sharing with such amazing transparency that is so inclusive to us out siders as if we are a part of the family. I am sorry people are so defensive towards what gives them a culture shock. If the culture shock is not unethical and unfair, I would use these experiences to grow and expand my mind as I am now with your post.

    Personally, I think this is all so confusing and need to be resolved with a third option. I am glad Target has that extra bathroom where you can go in peace. There is no need for someone to shoot you in a Target…a supportive company with that extra bathroom for you to enjoy in peace! Now, I have a greater appreciation for these extra bathrooms! I hope more companies will create these third bathrooms for individuals or inclusive to anyone.

    I can relate in my own strange sort of way. I feel pressured to be Christian and fear discriminations and verbal abuse if I am not a Christian. I am not anti-Christian. I feel religious neutral with a great appreciation for the example of Jesus and the wise philosophy of Buddha who liberated me on the inside, but I still have to deal with the external pressure to be Christian when actually I really don’t practice no religious traditions. I love God and consider myself as Spiritual.

    Of course, you are more obviously openly transgender when I am less obvious transReligious, so I know you have to face adversity that I can avoid with my silence and hide my necklace of my Buddha and crystal. I can play alone and go alone with the program, but you are far more brave with your personal truth of who you are to where all eyes can see who you are. I admire you for being you. Bishop John Shelby Spong is boldly progressive also. You guys are my hero!

    If I did not have this rule of not wearing boys clothing, I may end up being in your shoes. I consider myself a feminine tomboy. Most women clothing looks chaotic to my brains with their busy designs. I wear mostly solid colors. Keep being who you are and allow us to have our minds challenged to expand and grow beyond who we are. I am kind of conservative with a live and live attitude thanks to people like you always expanding my world.

  67. Heterosexual males are generally not welcome in the women’s restroom–even when there is no perceived threat.
    Is that not justified?

    If you trend masculine and like women, why prefer to use women’s restrooms?

    That is incongruent.

      • You have far more in common with non trans women than you care to admit. What you seem to be saying is that you get to be gnc and thus cool and different and not party to the rules that govern normal women. This view throws the rest of woman kind under the bus. You need them to stay stereotyped so that you have someone to define yourself against.

        The idea that we divide restrooms on sex orientation lines makes more sense than on gender identity lines. After all the whole point is reduction of risk of assault. And it is gay men who are likely to be assaulted by straight men. So why don’t we let gay men into the womens restrooms? ….for the very same reaaon any women don’t want transgender women in there. Because how can we tell who’s gay and who’s pretending? We can’t. Just as we can’t tell who’s a trans woman and who’s a cross dressing sex predator.

        The introduction of these laws means women will not be able to ask creepy guys to leave their facilities because they can easily claime they are trans. But if they aren’t doing anything illegal I hear you say? OK then, so why don’t we allow any man in the womens If they don’t do anything illegal?

        Of course leering isn’t illegal or standing in an intimidating manner or hitting on people either. But I don’t want to have to endure any of these things in the restroom.

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  70. This is so difficult for me as someone who has supported the LGBT community for 30 years. I am a man with 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters for whom bathroom issues have been and still are an ongoing issue. Every time I let one of them go alone into a place where I cannot see I wait fearfully for return. This is not a theoretical. It happens to over and over. Kids go to the bathroom a lot. The worst is in isolated places where there are not women going in and out who I assume would intervene. A woman was raped and murdered in a Burger King bathroom here in Massachusetts by a predator waiting in a stall. Allowing men legally into women’s rooms means that the police will be unable to stop a man, even a registered sex offender, from lurking in a bathroom. If he is caught lurking in the bathroom as he prepares for an assault he will not be chargeable. What are men with daughters to do? Women can bring boys into the ladies room because the stalls provide privacy. The men standing at urinals are exposed to view by my granddaughters who are 6,5 and 4. Which is more important, the discomfort of the adults or the safety of young girls and the discomfort of their caregivers? This is not a theoretical. I was at the National Zoo last week with my granddaughter and it happened multiple teams and I stood counting the minutes trying to figure how long was too long. I have no way of knowing who else is in there with her to make things worse.

    • By your logic we should ban all guns because a few people might get hurt with them and the same applies to booze, people drink get drunk and then get in cars and kill innocent people, so if we ban booze then a few people will be safer and you will feel better. There are already laws on the books that will provide the protection you are looking for, the new laws as proposed will not stop a criminal from doing what he or she wants to do regardless to how you feel.

  71. “I’m telling you that no trans or gender non-conforming person wants to use the bathroom for any other reason than you do”

    This is a very bold claim and one you can not possibly justify making. You can not be sure of every persons intention whatever their gender identity. I certainly don’t think that trans people are for the most part wanting anything other than to use the toilet.

    But it isn’t trans people most women are worried about, it’s men. Men who can pretend to be trans women to access womens spaces. Sure there’s some men who do this already but making it easier for them increases the risk. Would you seriously suggest that leaving your front door open does not make your house any more at risk of burglary? That burglars will break in even if there’s an alarm so there’s no point in taking any precautions?

    The bathroom is the least of it. Should women be forced to get undressed in front of people with penises in changing rooms? Should male prisoners be able to identify as women and get moved to womens prison? If we allow bathrooms then these are next in line.

    I am a gender non conforming women. With a shaved head and androgynous clothes I am at times taken for a man. I have a woman’s voice though and all I usually need do is smile and say something to reassure anyone unsure if I’ve wondered into the wrong toilets.

    I refuse to accept that my sense of comfort should supercede 99% of womens. This is not about being nasty to trans people, it’s about respecting womens boundaries.

    If you are scared of women, who you admit you are physically stronger than, how do you think most women feel about men?

  72. Wish you the best of all bathroom luck in the future, and on behalf of the other humans, I’m sorry it is this way for you, my 13 year old SON has the same issue.. “Holds it” all through the school day. Very sad, one day the world will move on, and we will see Spirit, not gender, or status, or skin tone. Kisses!!!!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXO🙂

  73. I keep going back to this post. It so resonates with my own experience as a nonbinary person trying to use public restrooms. I will often try to “perform” more feminine than I would normally, and the whole bit about not making eye contact, is huge. Thank you for writing this–it allows me to send this article to others who are asking me about this kind of stuff instead of constantly having to go through my own bad experiences, and that’s a real gift right now.

  74. Thank you, Emily. I’m a trans man and I too am terrified of bathrooms. The climate is very scary for trans and gender nonconforming folks alike who just want to do our business and get out safe and sound!

  75. Yeah!!! I don’t want my little boy to go into the men’s room with all those gay predators in there dressed up as straight men! I’ll take him to church where abuse never happens…..

    So, it’s come to this – America is afraid of Corporal Klinger! I thought we were afraid of Gays and Lesbians “recruiting” our kids. Now, we’ve decided that there are people who will commit to living life in front of all their friends and family as a different gender from which their birth body indicates, just so they can visit the other restroom? This is so pathetically misguided that it really is hard to take it seriously. LOCKER ROOMS are a tad different, but that’s a situation where we’re just going to have to grow up a bit. Yes, honey, that’s a penis and that person was born a boy. See, how hard was that? But restrooms that feature stalls (you know, every women’s room and every men’s room) solve this “problem” already.
    Look, as a Dad, I never sent my kid alone into the Men’s room and it wasn’t because there might be a woman with a leather jacket on standing at the Urinal using a “Go Girl”.

    The other thing I gotta say is Emily, you look like a Lesbian in all of the pictures I’ve ever seen of you. You don’t look like a Transman to me at all. Now I am a liberal that lives in Seattle, so maybe I’m just a bit more up on this sort of thing, but I seriously have trouble thinking that there are many folks that would see you as anything but a rather butch looking Lesbian. Do you have a voice that would fool folks? I mean, you kinda whiffed big time on the masculine name thing! Are people in your area THAT sheltered? Or do you think they are just pretending so that they can harass you?

  76. Thank you so much.
    You literally just told my story. I also did judo, played rugby and can lift more than my body weight over my head, I’ve always been gender queer, I’ve always looked out of place in a women’s loo. (Yes, I’m English) and it still intimidates me even now, when I’m a seasoned performance artist living and working in London. This never gets easier, it never becomes ok. All my love and support to you in the US, stay safe and be strong, and hopefully one day all this bullshit will be over.

  77. Every time you get dressed, get your hair cut, etc. you’re making a choice to intentionally present yourself in a manner that will cause some people to be confused or afraid. You already know this; therefore, you’re doing it on purpose. You could stop doing it. People make those kinds of choices every day. Why don’t you think about that, accept full responsibility for your choices and stop acting like your choices should come with zero consequences? If I decided one day to dress 24/7 like a stripper on stage, that would come with a different set of consequences. If a man dresses like Jessica Rabbit, that comes with yet another set of consequences. Own responsibility for your choices and stop expecting the rest of the world to be 100% on board. That’s not just childish, it’s delusional.

    • It’s not a matter of choice. It’s a matter of gender identity. This isn’t about dress or haircuts. It’s about what is inside. Also, next time please use your full name as requested. Don’t hide behind anonymity.

  78. There have been so many positive strides for the LGBT community in the past couple of years. Each stride that’s been taken has been met with such hatred and opposition. I am sad to say that this “stride” is no different. What’s more sad is finding out those around me, who I’d thought to be open minded loving people, are starting to show that in reality, they are not as much so as I thought. Though of course, this isn’t about me – as quite honestly the topic affects me personally, none what so ever. But I do want to say that I am proud of the LGBT community for being strong, intelligent, and at every corner full of grace and eloquence as they continue to battle human rights issues like this. I can only hope that sometime soon, the road to equality will be a smoother ride. Emily, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, you’re truly a role model and I do hope that you soon find a time where your worries will be laid at ease.

  79. I hope things will change. Nobody should have to feel afraid to enter a public restroom. It seems that the very people who are scared of violence are the ones causing the most violence. I hope one day people can peacefully coexist.

  80. I’m sorry that you have to deal with that but I just wanted to add something. I know it’s not going to help your situation but I want you to know that I oppose the whole gender neutral bathrooms. It’s not b/c I don’t want transgenders in the bathroom with me. Its b/c of some pervert that is going to cash in on a law that just makes it easier for them to violate some innocent sole. I have NO problem with transgenders at all. Sadly the perverts of the world are making this one tough for you all. I am sorry.

      • I think the parents of the “young trans girls” should be responsible as they should be with any child. I think you may have misunderstood my comment. I have no problem with transgenders using whatever restroom makes them the most comfortable. My concern are the predators that will abuse the law. I would really like to see 3 restrooms, 1 for women, 1 for men and 1 for all. When it comes to children, transgender or not, I think parents need to be responsible and make the choice that is safest and accompany if need be.

  81. Sometimes I wonder if the only real solution is creating gender neutral bathrooms (which won’t happen). It’s a problem I’ve never really encountered though. I’m a bi-male and sometimes I chuckle because most people used close door stalls to do their business. I’d love to hear actual rates of crime of men lurking in women’s bathrooms. I’m sure someone will state an instance, but I imagine this is a similar case of plane crashes. It’s just much ado about nothing,

  82. It’s horrible to feel afraid going to the bathroom isn’t it? I am a woman and I fear them because I have been raped. My sister is gender non-conforming also and I have never thought about this issue for them. Thank you for sharing.

  83. I was just telling my husband that I think every store should have more of these “family bathrooms.” Most stores don’t have them…if they do there is one. I’m so sorry that you feel so unsafe. To the lady in with the gun at Target…that is ridiculous.

  84. I’ve never given it much thought to be honest. I have a friend that identifies as gender-neutral and I never thought about it before the whole target bathroom policy change thing.
    My heart really goes out to people who identify as such, it must be so difficult to appear in public and be judged in such a harsh manner.
    At the same time, I can understand society’s fear of a group of people defy social norms. The breaking down of barriers and rules will always bring difficulty with it.

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  87. Pastor Heath, thank you for your informative words. I’ve read a couple of articles on this subject and even written one upon learning a Bathroom Bill will be introduced in my state. These bills are silly and they only heighten imaginary terrors on the part of cisgender people and ignite real ones in trans and genderqueer people.I hope things improve in this country, and the Justice Department’s letter to North Carolina’s governor will finally put this subject to rest.

  88. First off the reason we have seperate bathrooms is so predators can’t get away with a suiting someone. Man woman don’t matter there are ppl put there in both genders who do it. Next, if they want their own bathroom then either make a transgender bathroom or for in your house, I know plenty of straight ppl who won’t use public bathrooms period. Third, if bathrooms is really that big of an issue then maybe we should reconsider moving to a different country because we have more important issues at hand. My name is megan and I’m not scared to say my opinions. I’m not saying that transgender shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else, but they already do. Last , if you were born a man your still a man even if you get you parts cut off. Dogs get snipped on the regular and I don’t see them having bathroom confusion issues. And finally I am bi so which bathroom should I use?

    • Read up on the history of gender-based bathrooms… it has nothing to do with predators. As for having the same rights… no that is not happening right now, because the main argument is pedophilia and sexual assault will become a problem because those that are transgender are perverts looking to attack us or our children, which statistics have proven is a complete falsehood. Comparing getting a dog snipped to gender reassignment surgery is nothing other than ignorant. You clearly have no clue as to what it takes to conform to the gender you feel you truly are. As for being Bi, I am guessing that you are talking about your sexual preference and not that you are a hermaphrodite. Since sexual preference has nothing to do with gender identity, I would have to say that if you are basing your bathroom experience on your sexual pref… than you should probably just go at home. Public bathrooms are not for your illicit escapades… most people just want to go pee.

  89. There should be definitely be a gender neutral bathroom because that would mean there would be less problems for people of different genders. And everyone would be much more equal. While there would be people who would not want this to be because they fear being in the same room as the opposite genders. People are so hypocritical sometimes it makes me laugh so much. Trans* people and other non conforming people should just be able to go into the bathroom that they identify as because if the force people to go into their gender at birth then their would be people who look like girls in a male bathroom and they that person would get horribly beat up and then they have a person who is beat up and a victim of a hate crime on their hands. Restrooms are rooms in which you take a rest and relieve your self not a place to propagate hate.

  90. i am a female and i know i am… that’s so easy when it comes to gender or sexuality of a person… being wither a male or a female… straight… we don’t have to worry too much on this front in life at least…. it pains me when i know of people’s struggle who have a different identity in terms of gender. I mean of all the other issues in the world, another one loaded on your head… I truly want to stand up and support each and every individual for the way they are and they want the world to know them… it is not my right to interfere in their personal preferences… after all, we are not different…

  91. Is it weird that I’m a first time visitor and I want to give you a hug?

    P.S. – You had me at “bow ties are my favorite accessories.” :o)

  92. You have pointed out a very serious issue prevailing in our society. There have practically been no arrangements made for neutral gender persons. I feel they should be given an equal space and wherever there is a distinction in facilities for men and women , there a distinction for transgender should be introduced!

  93. Thank you for sharing and let others know your experience. I’ve never thought about the fact that many non-conforming gender people out there have to be experienced that fear.

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  95. Wow. That is truly messed up.
    Thank you for sharing with everyone. Looking at the comments, it seems that I’m not the only person who’s learned something. I had known of this issue before, but the way you wrote it made it so much more real.
    It is a complete shame that someone should have to go through all this to just use the bathroom! And it’s unfair that your identity is always mistaken.
    With people like you sharing your stories, more others will be informed, and there will be more acceptance and awareness.

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  97. I have no experience around the trans community but have been aware of this issue. I hope one day the “norms” of your world change to something that is no longer a source of stress. Thanks for your post!

  98. i avoid my public high school bathroom for the same reason. my peers silently talk about me and bluntly tell me that I’m in the women’s restroom. i get the constant questions and questioning looks as i am a female that dresses very masculine. it sucks. i do not wish to be transgender, because i am happy with my body but just because i am a lesbian that is more masculine.. i cannot go into many bathrooms due to fear. i can only imagine how fellow transgenders in the lgbtq community feel.

  99. This touched me in so many ways. I study intercultural linguistic mediation and all we talk about is cultures, understanding them, gender equality and races. And every time I see a post like this, that someone shares their story i feel so inspired and proud because I know it takes courage to write about it. And I think it’s right that you do and I think that it should be more people to write about things like this. It might be a joke but the reality of the situation is real. People have no idea how hard it is to be who you are because so many have a problem with it. How many times women go to men’s bathroom because women’s is always full and nobody looks at them weirdly. Yeah, it might be true that the other way around it’s a bit weird but first you have to consider if the person really doesn’t belong to the place. There are so many different styles and so many different people nowadays that you cannot judge somebody just by the way they walk or dress. And I simply do not understand how someone gets suspicious right away when a person doesn’t “look right” and they think immediately that they are going to harm them. That is not the way! If we were all thinking like that we would all be carrying guns. Sometimes the people that “belong” to the room and look the most “innocent” are the ones that harm you before those who just want to go to the bathroom.
    Very nice post!

  100. *not a hateful comment* I am a Christian and am called to love. This is a comment to see someone’s viewpoint and state what is Biblical. There is a big disconnect I see here and with many others who identify with another gender or sexual identity. I am approaching you with the understanding you believe in a god. The very fact that someone would feel they were not assigned the right gender at birth would assume something is not right, correct? This would very much imply that God messed up. This would say that God didn’t get it right when you were born. Would this not say that someone knows better than God? That because someone feels that they should be different than they were born they have the right to fix what is not supposed to be. My other point is not only a main speaking point, but also a pre-counter counter point (don’t think about it too hard 😂). I’m sure that everyone has heard the point which is addressed to the LGBT community as a whole. How can one claim to be a Christian if they are willfully practicing a sin such as homosexuality? The most common response I have seen is that this law is in Leviticus along with laws like ‘Do not touch pork’ and others. If all we had was the Old Testament, I can see how this would be valid. But that’s the thing, we have more: the New Testament. There are three types of law in the Old Testament: Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil. The last two do not pertain to us (Christians) anymore. These were for safety, laws specific to the medical and technological advances they had at the time and things such as how to carry out certain sacrifices. Both of these laws came to pass away as soon as Christ was resurrected, but the moral is different. The moral law acts as a mirror for us to see our sins. The moral law (10 Commandments and laws of that nature) were given to the Israelites to show of how much they were in need of a savior. This law still applies today because we are still broken people in sin, but I digress. As Christians, we are told to follow the New Testament! The Savior has come and we can join him! We are no longer waiting. With this in mind, we should look at what the New Testament has to say: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭ESV‬
    Now you may have heard that one but WAIT!!! This does not mean you are doomed! I am not coming to you on a high and mighty throne passing judgment down on you but rather as a broken, screwed up sinner dealing with his own problems. We must take in the truth of 1 Timothy 1:8-10, “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.”
    The scripture is very clear that homosexuality and things of that nature is a sin! Yes, I sin all the time but we are called to repent! Repenting is to turn away from that sin. If we are willingly living in a sin such as homosexuality, a sin so awful that God calls it an abomination (Leviticus 20:13), a sin that is one of the reasons for a destruction of two cities (Sodhum and Gemorah) (don’t judge the spelling) God’s wrath will be poured out. I say this as a warning because I love you! Not because I am better than you, I have my own flaws. I hope all of you take this to heart and give your feedback. Again, this is a comment motivated out of love, not hate and I want to hear y’all’s RESPECTFUL feedback. I come back to my original point: How can one claim they are a Christian if they are willingly practicing homosexuality?

    • There is an error in logic in your first argument. If a baby is misgendered at birth, it does not mean that God messed up in the creation of that baby. The error lies with the person who eyeballed the genitalia and rushed to judgement.

      The rest of your post on the validity (or not) of homosexuality was ruined by your reliance on a bad translation of the Bible. The words homosexual and homosexuality are not to be found in the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The fact that you quoted verses with the word “homosexuality” in them tells us that you have not done even basic research so your essay is easily rejected.

        • Hey Jacob, I appreciate your concern but you’ve made your point. LGBTQ people on here don’t need to be converted to straight or cisgendered by you. They’ve already heard it. And, as this is my page, and I try to make it as safe a space as possible for those who have been harassed for who they are, I’m going to ask you to gracefully disengage. Thanks.

        • Exactly. The moment you see the word homosexual in a Bible, you know it is a bad translation with the wrong word inserted deliberately to reflect the translator’s prejudice. If you really want to know what the Bible says, and not what hateful men have said, you have to go back to the original languages. If you cannot read Hebrew or Greek, then you must read the Hebrew and Greek scholars. If you cannot take the time to learn, or are not willing to learn, then your arguments mean nothing.

  101. Opening up bathrooms for anyone’s use is not only immoral but also terrifying for women to be in a restroom with men!! It’s unethical! It’s immoral and unjust to have ” transgender ” restrooms!!!

  102. This is good, this should be shared. As you said, these times need people to stand up and talk. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

  103. I just don’t get it people just want to relieve themselves and continue on with their day! If the stall door is closed what difference does it make! All I ask is whoever you are keep the toilet and the floor in the stall clean!!

  104. Since there are gender specific bathroom I feel that personally it’s much safer , I love trans/gay people what you guys do on a daily has nothing to do with me . But as a woman it’s hard to see someone who was born a male using the females restroom because we always have this fear that something will happen. I don’t think it’s much of a big deal how the bathrooms are now . One thing I will say is your blog helped me understand a different point of view !

  105. My friend is transgender and has a big issue with bathrooms. (FtM) Usually they have to go Inn the feminine one and bugs them like hell. All because of it being assigned by a person’s sex instead of gender. So now when we go you classes or whatever he just decided to stop going until he gets home. It’s stupid, no one should have to feel that kind of uncomfortableness, there should really be gender equality when it comes to bathrooms.
    There’s a problem with having them in schools, harassment. Not a queer or trans person using it to sexually assault people, but a transphobic student using it to find out who’s what and uses it to haras, embarrass, bully, mock, etc them. I believe in gender neutral bathrooms, but I also feel kind of scared of how people could use them.
    Wonderful post by the way.

  106. This is a touching post. I read about the restroom issue in a forum. A man was saying that he want little girls to be safe (and something like that) and it was then I realized that how difficult it must be for the transgenders or genderqueers to find a restroom that is safe for their use. Like you said about the woman who carried gun for safety; anyone can misunderstand and hurt them. By reading about this issue it seem restrooms are more unsafe for the transgenders and genderqueers than anyone else.

  107. Well, conformity is what we practice for the ease and comfort of those around us, not to satisfy our particular preferences. So the decision branches upon the importance placed upon the comfort of others by a person faced with such a choice, while relating such to their personal needs. That’s not a particularly straight forward choice, the decision rests upon numerous variable contingencies. In a different context, we’re coerced to conform to the speed limit while driving, but if you’re on a urgent dash to a hospital, it is to be hoped that degree of latitude might be extended to those in that circumstance. Does that principle apply here? Difficult question, I think possibly, that the choice represented by which door you walk through, is somewhat a more trivial decision, others might disagree though.

    What seems to me to be inappropriate, is the urging towards legislative intervention, as if such difficulties can be negotiated more satisfactory by the threats of legal sanction. It’s just another example of those seeking to defer their own responsibilities and gain licence to impose their preferences through force, wow what a surprise there! Sometimes, actually I think that should be most of the time, you cannot pre-empt a satisfactory conclusion to an issue though legislation, it’s better to rely on the judgement and good intentions of those faced with such issues. Of course not everyone has good judgement or good intentions and if they do, they don’t always have the will to exercise them, that’s just life I’m afraid.

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  110. Hey Emily,

    Thank you for sharing your story which I found alarming in some places, for example, a woman wanting to take a gun to the restroom or the police waiting outside.

    It also gave rise to a few questions. You wrote ‘Sometimes she will helpfully say, “I’m sorry, sir, this is the women’s room.” I have learned to say, “yes…I know” and keep walking without waiting for a response.’

    If you don’t mind answering, why don’t you say that you are a woman, etc, where the person is polite?

    I think one should dress to suit oneself (http://wp.me/p5VfIn-rL), binary gender is nonsense, but I do think that ciswomen have a right to ciswomen only toilets. The solution seems simple to me and it is as you have identified: allocate gender neutral spaces as well as cisgender spaces.

  111. Hi Emily,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I found it alarming in places, guns and the police for using the restroom!

    A couple of questions came to mind while reading your post. You wrote ‘ Sometimes she will helpfully say, “I’m sorry, sir, this is the women’s room.” I have learned to say, “yes…I know” and keep walking without waiting for a response.

    If the person making the mistake is polite, I wondered why you did not say that you were a women? It might be easier when the questioner meets somebody not confirming to binary gender again.

    I find binary gender to be utter nonsense (http://wp.me/p5VfIn-rL), but I do think that cisgender women have a right to a cisgender only restroom. I think the way forward is easy and you identified it in your article, create gender-neutral spaces.

  112. Hi Emily,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I found it alarming in places, guns and the police for using the restroom!

    A couple of questions came to mind while reading your post. You wrote ‘ Sometimes she will helpfully say, “I’m sorry, sir, this is the women’s room.” I have learned to say, “yes…I know” and keep walking without waiting for a response.

    If the person making the mistake is polite, I wondered why you did not say that you were a women? It might be easier when the questioner meets somebody not confirming to binary gender again.

    I find binary gender to be utter nonsense (http://wp.me/p5VfIn-rL), but I do think that cisgender women have a right to a cisgender only restroom. I think the way forward is easy and you identified it in your article, create gender-neutral spaces.

  113. Your writing is very engaging. I am female and identify as such, but I have many coworkers who are transgendered or gender non-conforming and I know they encounter some horrible situations even in the workplace. I don’t understand why people cannot just accept others for who they are and love them, but some people aren’t there yet. Reading your post was a fantastic opportunity to see the issue of discrimination from the perspective of someone who has unfortunately experienced it and is able to educate others with positivity. I look forward to reading more of your posts🙂

  114. This was very well written and gave me a new perspective on this tricky issue. Makes me so sad that we live in a world where we have to be afraid of each other for any reason. I will say that I personally don’t much like having to go to the bathroom with ANYONE near me not so much for any kind of fear. I just like my personal space when I “gotta go” and don’t feel much like socializing. I would imagine most people would prefer it that way. I know that to make every public restroom a more private neutral place for any individual to go would be costly but it sure would be nice. Thank you for the thought provoking and witty post.

  115. Wow. This was a great blog post.
    I mean, I never think of anything when I go in to use the restroom. It’s a get in, and get out process, but reading this post has opened my eyes to the complications there are for some people who want to do what the rest of us do: handle our business with no hassle.

  116. I don’t know quite how to feel about this issue if I am going to be honest… I mean.. We could be walking into bathrooms and that’s already the case )like your situation) I just feel that people are freaking out now because it’s been brought to light and people have never thought about it before.. If something is going to happen, it will happen. Bathroom or not. Female or male. I still have my son come into the woman’s bathroom and never alone and he’s going to be 7. It’s not just a certain type of people, it’s every type of people… You can’t blame all for what one has possibly done. Though at the same time I do find it to be uncomfortable. It’s define lay a hard issue and one that will continue to be spoken on. Thanks! ❤️

  117. I agree with you in so many ways. I am a trans-man; everyday i worry about going to public restrooms, considering I’m still in high school. I try avoiding the bathroom at every cost, so to have gender-neutral bathrooms would make things so much easier

  118. I feel so ignorant on this issue. Thank you for illuminating this for me. Beautifully written. I deeply hope that you feel safer soon….please keep writing…the pen is mightier than the sword

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  121. frightening and relevant. food to ponder seriously by both sides. i know of an old lady who fears going to airplane or other public toilet and she fasts water when she travels or ventures out of her house. one thing i know is that Jesus did not shoot/kill anyone. Love does not demand its own way.

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  123. I have the bathroom problem as well. I’m 6’1″ and usually in jeans but I have long hair. Mostly the just stare but I’ve been told to use the men’s restroom. Usually very elder women do it. I’m use to it now and it’s not an issue so I don’t think this horrible blight in NC goes away soon. Everyone should use whatever or like you wrote a gender neutral bathroom. It’s gotten out of hand.

  124. My first visit to your site and wont be my last. A really enjoyable but shocking read. Do you have some of the links you mentioned? I think I saw one in a comment above but cant seem to find it! Anyway, I will be following for more!🙂

  125. This is bunch of bloody hell experience. It ceetainly doesn’t feel nice. I just wish that my country is free as yours. People in my country are especially discriminating to people who are weird, and many weird gender related things I had never told anyone. People in my place are VERY scared when you tell them that you are different from the others. They even think you are a monster.

    I am glad that you are willing to share your experience to us in order for us to get to know more on genders that are neither male nor female, or say, neutral.

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  127. Hello everyone! I am just learning about this issue (so go easy on me!), but I would like to ask a couple questions.

    I am a loving Christian who genuinely wants to be as accepting and respectful as possible. I also hate all of the discrimination and hate that people have thrown at you over this issue; but I do have some concerns with the LGBTQIA movement….

    If a man commits a heinous crime (or even a petty felony) and gets sentenced to prison time, would the LGBT community be okay with this man claiming to be a transgender who identifies as female? Would it be proper to put him in men’s prison or women’s prison?

    Also, would it be okay for a black person to identify as Native American? Should everyone agree with this person’s racial identification? How about an anorexic who believes they are overweight, or a person who believes they are Augustus Ceasar reincarnated, etc?

    Do we all need to agree with whatever a person says they are, or can we draw a line on certain issues?

    I love you all and I would love to have a respectful conversation. I have no malice, just a desire to learn…….

  128. You shouldn’t have to think about bathrooms everyday! Thank you so much for staying strong. This is the start of a movement. I can only hope that in 25 years that we can look back on the present day and progress has been made. Be proud to be one of the people to introduce awareness!!!!

  129. As a transgender woman, I feel your pain but not nearly as acutely; most of the embarrassment that I felt about using the women’s room has gone away since I haven’t been questioned about it in years. It sucks that you have to feel fear whenever you just have to use the bathroom. Stay strong! ^-^

  130. This is in the press a lot at the mo, me and my partner were talking about it only this morning. I feel people need to open up more, the media is to blame creating this question everyone culture. My views are is a person comes into the male toilets they either use the urinals or cubical. If they were dressed a women I might look twice but it would not really bother. I know its different for women but we have mouths and if something concerns us we need to used them. I sure if someone politely questioned you you’d put them right. People are fed this negative vibe from the media we need to wake up and communicate with other humans. I wish you the best.

  131. Such a well thought out and written article. I have a family of whites and blacks. My nephew is black, and relatively dark skinned. When there was so much in the news about young black kids in hoodies, my sister was so very worried he would get shot just because he was walking down the street in a sweatshirt and jeans. If people spent more time doing productive things and stop spending so much time worrying about what others are doing, we would all be better off.

  132. Dear Emily, I really appreciated reading your story. I am a Bible-intensive Christian who is very strong on freedom of conscience, and I believe that God is Mature enough and Mysterious enough to do remarkable things through those who persevere through difficult struggles. I tend toward right-to-center politics, and to be honest the American liberal culture has ridiculed people like me for so long that I pretty much walked away from TV shows and liberal news media long ago. While I have kept up with the overall news, my understanding of transgender and related issues has been way behind. But I am catching up now that the American public has no choice but to grapple with this. I am sorry that you and I seem to have been on opposite sides for so long. We really aren’t. I hate the big Wall that has been built by people on both sides of the “liberal-conservative” war that would rather ridicule, criticize, and even lie – rather than listen and work out reasonable compromises. So I give you this promise: as a Christian with knowledge and experience in Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic circles, I will use my “voice” to help defuse the bitterness, and to speak up for common civil rights in this very awkward circumstance that American citizens like you are in. May God bless you and keep you safe. The God that I know – the One Who has seen me through my own share of mind-bending scenarios – is able to love and draw you unto Himself. He is far more Mature than many of my brethren know, who pick up their ancient Hebrew Holy Book (called the Bible) and read it from a modern Western English perspective, and then proclaim judgments about things that they do not understand. I have done this myself, but I am learning. I bless you, Emily.

  133. Unless men are offended at the sight of feminine products machines and women by urinals, what’s the big deal? Those offended can search for a place where only those “like” them can go. Meanwhile, all are welcome, as far as I’m concerned. Especially if you’re pregnant and the line at the “ladies” is too long! Or have prostate problems (or other situations) and you can’t find a “men’s” room.

  134. What’s the big deal? If a man is offended by the sight of a feminine products machine or women are offended by the sight of urinals, find somewhere where you fell comfortable. I say all are welcome anywhere! Compassion is essential for all who need a bathroom, especially a pregnant women who cannot wait in the long line in the ladies or a man has prostate problems, or anyone who might have other male or female urgency problems.

  135. May we publish this in our church newsletter? We are an ONA congregation – St. Paul’s UCC in Westminster MD. We also have a safe space for lgbtqqa and allied youth. Thank you for this article!

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  137. Hi Emily
    This is one I have argued with many people about… I believe a trans gender or anyone should be able to use the toilet of there sex. So trans gender women should be able to use the ladies just as much as I can and visa versa. Yes I maybe curious as to why someone who may look like a man was in the ladies toilets but I would never confront or make that person feel uncomfortable.
    It irritates me as a straight female that people through the word sex pest around at these times. I have been sexually assaulted by two different straight men and I’m fully aware that most of the time you know your attacker. So when I hear the reasons some men and women use for not allowing trans gender etc using a ladies or men’s rest room it angers me that this day of age there is so much discrimination.
    I’m hoping that here in the UK they will not put these restrictions on. ❤

  138. The fact that so many people fear the bathroom makes me mad.
    You should not be shamed for having to pee.
    I am the only female in my work place, I share a bathrooms and shower with 20 army guys.
    We have 4 stalls with a toilet , and the only thing that makes me mad is that every time I go to pee I have to put the seat down.
    I have not problem sharing a bathroom as long as you change the paper when you empty it, or clean up if you make a mess.

    Grr… I’m sorry to anyone that can’t freely use a bathroom.

  139. Reblogged this on Crystal Henderson and commented:
    I wish more people would think of this side of the argument. People who want to hurt others are going to do that regardless of some law. Everyone wants the same thing: to take a pee and leave in one piece. And what does it say about us as a society that that is a valid concern?

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