Bathroom Politics

Bathroom Politics

[CW misgendering, menstruation, assault]

Whoa boy, this one comes from a place of fear.

We’ve all heard about the shitstorm McCrory kicked up in North Carolina with his HB2 trans bathroom bill, though thankfully he’s been voted out of office, so hopefully his successor will get rid of such disgusting legislation.

This is nothing new though; even more so than in some other aspects of life, bathrooms are somewhere trans people have never really been welcomed. Mostly because cis people have long been under the impression they know our gender better than we do.

Whilst here in Britain we don’t have laws as such against trans folx using the bathroom of their actual gender, there is still a lot of violence and angry people trying to change that. And for the sake of needing a slash, that’s ridiculous.

A point that a lot of people seem to forget: the bathrooms in most of our homes are gender neutral. So why do we have a problem with this?

Sadly, as always, it’s trans women who suffer most in these cases, as they are often touted as “pervert men spying on women in the bathroom”. Which is stupid, because I can attest that all the toilets in women’s bathrooms are single occupancy stalls, and anyone trying to see in them will be called out and challenged. So really, what difference does it make?

Then again, there are stories floating about of trans women being dragged out of bathrooms by security guards who are determined  they’re in the wrong bathroom, or worse, a trans performer being removed from a bathroom in a gay bar, a supposed safe space, because she made a cishet woman uncomfortable.

Though long experience has told us asking those in a place of privilege to respect us is like pissing in the wind.

This here is a very interesting article on gender neutral bathrooms, and makes the important point about while we fuss about the “right” people being in the “right” bathrooms, those who need to use accessible loos have been sharing unisex facilities for years.

There’s one other thing that is rarely talked about when it comes to the issue of gendered bathrooms, and it’s one that affects me personally, so I’m using my space to talk about it: what happens when trans folx who menstruate have their periods?

Because I can tell you from experience there are no sanitary bins in the “male” bathrooms.

There are ways around it, sure, but the fact that I even have to make these provisions is bonkers. Some bright spark at Always came up with the idea of creating packaging for sanitary products that can be resealed, so that, when combined with a nappy sack (or more often one of the dog poo bags I carry about, because I am a hound wrangler), it is possible for me to remove used sanitary products without it being too obvious.

The other option of course is I just use the women’s bathroom, as I will have access to sanitary bins there, but that leads to a whole bunch of dysphoria and discomfort that is the last thing I need when I have my period.

See why all this is a problem now?

Attitudes are very slowly changing; universities in particular are fairly quick on the uptake with these things, but there is still a hell of a lot of work to be done.

Going to the loo is something everyone does, why do we still insist on making it such a trial for some people?


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