I decided that I need a(nother) dedicated post about my toileting feelings.
Why Toilets Are Hard For Me
- trying to choose between the binary peeing options causes choice paralysis because of the paradox of choice, and reminds me that the world doesn’t have space for people like me
- I frequently am harassed/yelled at/cause undue distress
“Why can’t you just use the male toilet then?”
Seems a natural question women are more frequently uncomfortable with me being in their peeing-facility. First of all, I do, sometimes. But not everybody reads me as male, and in public I get “sir” between 30 and 50% of the time depending on demographic. Askers of this question should consider what the rest of those people might do if they encounter me in the blue-tiled toilet. Alarmed women in toilets read me as a man, and women don’t start fights with men; angry men in toilets will read me as a trans freak, and men frequently beat up trannies. So I don’t always feel confident about using that toilet, and sometimes I am wearing a skirt or nail polish, or I need to use the bin for sanitary products. And anyway, it’s my God-given right to use the toilet with the longer queue, okay?
A Field Guide To Cis People You May Encounter
- The surprised. Likely to occur in unpopulated bathrooms in which they may think they misread the sign.
- The helpful. They think you misread the sign and would like to helpfully point it out to you
- The confused, befuddled and quizzical. Wh…what are you…? They can’t figure out how to read you.
- The offended/angry. How dare you need to pee, you freak!
- The normal. They, like you, would like to pee and leave.
Trans-invisibility in Singapore means that people are much more likely to be 3 than 4 once they have moved past the first two responses, and I guess I am grateful for that. Usually I leave while they are still trying to figure it out, maybe I smile reassuringly. Elsewhere where people have made a great spectacle of discussing whether or not trans people deserve to have rights, there is hypervisibility and people would have pre-formed opinions just waiting to be unleashed on the first suspicious person they encounter.
Why Toilets Are Hard For Me Part 2
Transpeople advocate leaving other people alone while they try to pee, so “no response” is the right response. But to be honest that always makes me anxious because so rarely do women actually leave me alone that it is more likely they have not seen me yet, and I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe a smile would be nice?
Second: I don’t want to be harassed, but I also don’t like to be read as female, you know? Everyone I encounter in the toilet has to either confront or misgender me. What terrible options. (They could also not participate in gender policing and not assume that only women use the toilet with more cubicles, but of course that never happens.) This is in contrast with the dude toilet in which the options tend to be violence and misgendering; I strongly prefer the latter in that case.
Third: If I’m hanging out with people to whom I am not out, I have no choice. And what if I meet someone I know in a toilet in which they did not expect to find me!
“So what do you want!”
Gender neutral toilets for everyone. Now please.
What you can do if you are gender conforming
Advocate for gender neutral toilets.
If it seems appropriate, smile at nonconforming people you see in the toilet.
If you are outside with a nonconforming friend, support their toileting decisions. Go with them if you can.