dariaphoebe: (Default)
I'd excused myself after the meal for a moment, telling her I'd be back after dealing with my biological imperative. Stepping around the corner, I was rebuffed as one of the staff held the door to the women's room open for her colleague as he tried to clean. "It's pretty bad in there," she explained as she asked me to wait.

After a few moments where I was awkwardly pressed against the wall to stay out of the way of the staff passing in the narrow hallway, they conspired amongst themselves to confirm the men's room was empty. "I'll guard the door for you," she told me. Two others repeated the offer.

I might have been tempted to decline were my need not so urgent. I knew what to expect. Indeed, I left the busser outside the door to step inside, and found that it hadn't changed since I last saw it in 2013. Slipping into the stall as I always had before, I took care of my need, washed my hands, and walked back out, thanking him as I passed.

Perhaps it's an overcompensation: even when faced with a single-occupant restroom, a colloquial "one-holer", I reliably bypass the ones marked men unless there's obvious signage explaining why there's no other option. After being forced in the moment to contemplate my reasons, I wondered if perhaps I could afford to be pragmatic even as I contemplated my peers for whom it wasn't and might never be true.

As countless friends had pointed out, I'd gone from being scared of who I might be perceived as to being unapologetically myself. It's a gift I hope others can find in themselves, and if I can figure out how to help them find it, I owe it to them to do that.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat in the same pub we'd had dinner in a few hours earlier. Separating those moments, we'd walked a bit over 4 miles around the small town in which we sat. Punctuating our walk were a college's grounds and the courthouse of the county that cleaved to the southwest flank of my own. Our party of 8 had shrunk to just 3: my ex and another friend who played the same game we did sat across from me.

We waited, at first, to see if someone would come by to take our order. Finally, the owner came by and queried as to what we wanted. As I spoke, I asked myself what was passing through his mind. Maybe he hadn't known I was transgender before I opened my mouth. It was certainly possible. I was quite certain he would after hearing me talk, though.

As they chatted, I passed to and from the conversation as I checked my phone compulsively. The world was changing around us as we sat there, and unlike them, I didn't have the privilege to ignore it.

I tried to stay engaged in the moment. There was nothing I could do, anyway. Still, as the musing continued, I finished my drink, and then the water in front of me. A 45 minute ride back to the city would follow, and one of my medications is a diuretic. Even though I knew what I needed to do, the burden had increased.

Finally, though, I steeled my resolve and walked away to void my bladder. I still had that option.

The state of North Carolina last evening passed HB2 of 2015, an act which in addition to some collateral damage of minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws would make it illegal for me to use the proper lavatory facilities in any state or school facility in their borders. More broadly, though, the local anti-discrimination laws which were struck would have also protected my ability to use the correct bathrooms in other public places.

The laws codify the gender on a birth certificate, so my Pennsylvania birth means that the surgery I plan to have when I figure out which rock I left the money under will entitle me again to the right facilities there. In that vein, my privilege shows again: I'm rather certain I'll eventually find a way to pay.

But the trend is now evident, and it points at an ugly future. It beckons the way to a world where I am expected to put myself in harm's way, in the path of people who would molest me because I am, and have been forced to be, accessible to them in moments where they might not otherwise be controlling their urges and impulses. It's not unique to me, either: a conservative estimate places the transgender population of just this country at over a million people.

Two interstates and a simple path of surface roads separated me from the bed I planned to end the night in, but the truth of the world weighed on me far more during the ride than the full bladder I'd traded for it had.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I stood back out of the way as I waited in the bathroom line after the morning's service. My rush to get in place to hear the piece before the service meant my unmet need had become imminent if not severely urgent. A look came to her face as I pressed myself flat to the wall to let her pass from the back stall to the sink. Since graduating high school, most of the time in my life spent in space which was explicitly gendered was in public restrooms, and I was careful to the point of pain since the first years of grade school to always use a stall.

There are the earnest misunderstandings of my motivations, and then there are the more insidious ones. I've been privileged to not be exposed to people who dog me with allegations of the latter, something I know not everyone in my shoes can say. But it's definitely an eased burden when you aren't left to constantly justify that you're just trying to live your life; that you're not trying to cloak yourself in the guise of a victim, of assuaging guilt by shedding the advantages accorded to half the denizens of the planet, or of engaging in something with prurient interest. Still, I knew that were I forced to explain, finding the words to describe my situation to a presumable stranger, a way to offer that this was not just an excuse to play dress-up or something similarly conceited instead of an attempt to best present the person I am while under the pressure of a personal attack, would be crushing.

Just as fast as the look appeared, it passed. She offered no unkind words, and perhaps seeing the urgency furrowed into my brow offered to let me dash past her, but I stayed until she got through the narrow passage before hurrying to the back to take my turn.

Step 95: There will be situations for which preparation is unlikely or impossible. Try as you can, but do not let them run your life.

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dariaphoebe

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