I know I don’t typically or frequently blog, and when I do I am usually super depressed and that is one of the ways I bring myself out of my depressive cycles is by writing out my emotions. But right now there is something else going on in my mind that I need to talk about.
I don’t talk about being transgender a lot. I have a small group of trans friends that I can talk about gender type things with, and I participate on some online forums. But other than that I tend to live my life as “stealth”, or basically not acknowledging or letting others know of my trans status. I chose to live as stealth from the first day I started to transition. It was a personal choice, as I know many trans people who are out and proud, and others who are stealth. There are times I regret not being open, like right now, as there is a lot of political issues surrounding the transgender community that I would like to speak out about. I’m sure many people see me as reaching out as an ally by posting things on Facebook about trans issues, and my trans friends of course know why I am posting. There are times that I wish I could just out myself, but I still live in fear of other people’s reactions. I know most of my friends wouldn’t have an issue with it but there are times I still feel ashamed of myself for who I am.
So right now there are quite a few political issues surrounding the trans community, mainly involving the use of public facilities, such as the restroom or locker room. States such as Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas and Florida are trying to pass bills that will force transgender people to use the facilities of their birth sex, not their preferred gender identity. Kentucky has already passed the bill and is basically offering bounties for turning in trans people who are using the “wrong” restroom. The bills in Florida and Texas will either fine the person, or actually send them to jail just for going to pee. It is absolutely INSANE to think that America is the “land of the free”, as long as you are straight, cisgender, white, male, and rich. Otherwise you can just screw off. The same thing is happening in Canada right now, of all places. I have always seen Canada as a liberal safe haven for LGBT people. Apparently not.
There are so many things wrong with these bills. First off they are refusing to acknowledge people’s personal gender identities. Not everybody’s gender matches with their birth sex. Some people go through a transition process to correct that. So why wouldn’t they use the rest room of the gender they not only prefer, but also present themselves as? I remember the first time I used the boys room I was in 1st grade and my teacher would allow one boy and one girl to use the bathroom at the same time. I was the “girl” and I asked my male friend if I could use the boys bathroom with him. I already knew I identified as a boy and he didn’t care. It felt so affirming and right to be in there. I have been consistently using the men’s room since 2007 and have never once had an issue. For a while, especially in the beginning of my transition, I used a STP (stand-to-pee) device, which is basically a tube that is surrounded by a synthetic made penis and you can press it up to your urethra and stand while peeing. I would even use urinals and nobody knew the difference. It got to be a pain in the ass so I stopped using it and now I just use the stall and sit. Sometimes I still get anxiety, worrying about that another guy might notice I am sitting, but who cares. Most guys mind their own business anyway and don’t care what anybody else is doing.
The main reason these bills are being created is because of the transphobic and ridiculous fears about transwomen (mtfs). Some people legitimately believe that all transwomen are out to “assault/rape/kidnap children/molest children” or any other variety of bullshit. These same people also refuse to acknowledge transwomen are women, and they view them as “men”. So these bills are being presented to “protect” women in intimate spaces such as the restroom or the locker room. However, sending transwomen into the men’s room opens up a whole new can of worms. Now you have the possibility of transphobic or homophobic men freaking out and physically assaulting transwomen in the men’s room, because how many times have we seen that before on the streets? Not to mention how insulting it is to force transwomen and transmen, who have been trying to distance themselves from their birth gender back into the restrooms in which they don’t belong.
What I find slightly amusing and almost humorous is the sheer amount of stupidity by the people who created these bills. If their whole purpose was to “protect” women in the restroom by forcing transwomen into the men’s room, that means that transmen will be forced into the women’s room, and yet again there will be a problem only this time there will actually be men in the women’s room. What they are trying to prevent they will be causing to happen. I have been living full-time as a man since 2007. I have a full beard, I am covered in body hair, I’ve had my breasts removed. Do you really want me in the women’s room? Do I really belong in there? Of course not!
A situation just happened last week at a gym called Planet Fitness in Michigan. A transwoman had entered the women’s locker room to hang up her coat and purse, and a cisgender female member started freaking out about a “man in the women’s room”. She proceeded to spend the entire week “warning” and complaining to other female members at the gym, until Planet Fitness actually revoked her membership (yay!). This caused a whole lot of uproar and controversy. Planet Fitness (the “Judgment Free Zone”, as they call themselves), clearly states in their bylaws or whatever that people are to use the facilities of the gender they identify as.
I ended up in a very heated discussion with a TERF (trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist) aka someone who does not believe transwomen are women and do not belong in female spaces on WordPress. This woman was incredibly transphobic and spiteful towards trans people, essentially telling me that gender is not real and that my identity does not exist. She believes that allowing transwomen into the women’s bathroom/locker room will put other women at risk for being assaulted or attacked by men. How ignorant is that? She also told me that the word cisgender is offensive. Only a privileged cisgender person would say that – cisgender solely means someone whose gender and birth sex match, and therefore are not transgender. It is a quicker and nicer way of saying “non-trans” or “biologically male/female” or anything else people can come up with.
Transgender people, neither male nor female, have intentions of assaulting or harassing others in the restroom. Quite the opposite really, we are the ones who are at highest risk for being assaulted or harassed. All transgender people want to do is pee! We do not use the restroom of our preferred gender to expose our genitals to children, or attempt to rape women with a non-functioning penis (once transwomen are on hormone therapy for a few years, they are no longer able to maintain erections). There are many questions I have asked over the past week to people that are against transpeople using the restrooms, in general. Where would they like us to pee? What about transpeople who have had genital surgery and now have the “correct” genitals? Are they not welcome in the restrooms either? How will states police every bathroom to make sure the “right” people are using the “right” bathrooms? Every argument people present in support of these bathroom bills is one more step backwards for trans rights. I can only hope that the bills in Texas and Florida do not pass.