It is inevitable, after making a new friend or acquaintance, after a few times out you have to sit them down and have “the conversation”. You know the one, “well, I’m not sure we can go to there because of the bathroom situation”. It is a surprise to most of my gender-conforming friends (including the homos) that a long queue at the ladies means a constant assault of comments and dirty looks from the horrified women entering and exiting the holiest of holy places – the women’s restroom.
I might be a bit overly sensitive, after all, I do have some androgynous friends that have no problem with walking into the lady’s restroom, head held high. But I think I was scarred at a young age since I’ve had my boy-ish looks since age four or five. The first time I remember getting yelled at by a woman was when I was about eight years old. The memory of that middle-aged soccer mom screaming at me and pointing the way to the door was forever burned into my developing little androgynous brain. And then there was a time that a man stopped me after I came out of the women’s restroom and demanded ID, I hesitantly pulled out my middle school ID card as I was just aged 11 and did not have proper identification with gender stamped on it. I tried to show him, see my name is Becky, it is a girl’s name. He was not impressed, he just thought I had cruel parent’s giving a little boy a girl’s name. Fond memories of my androgynous youth! But this gives some context as to why I am always hesitant around new places and what is “the bathroom situation” if we go there. Needless to say, concerts and large sporting venues are normally not options for me. If I do attend an event at a large hetero-oriented venue, I am careful not to drink anything at least 3 hours prior so that I don’t have to make any unexpected visits to the little girl’s room.
Over the years, I have developed some defense mechanisms and comebacks to make women feel awkward and get a good giggle out of the situation myself. If a woman grabs my arm as I’m opening the door to walk into the restroom, I might be heard to say “hello, my name is Becky, I guess you have never met a lesbian before”, while extending my hand for a friendly introduction. Sometimes I just lift my boobs a bit as if presenting them as a peace offering, they usually get the point fairly quickly without too much conversation required. One time, after the boob peace offering, I asked the woman in front of me in line to explain what exactly was so threatening about a man in the women’s room. Were they afraid that I was going to wheel under the stall on one of those mechanic’s boards and check out their “plumbing”? Did they think I was going to try to leap over the stall door and have a peak? Honestly, the bathroom is the last place I want to invade anyone’s privacy so there is nothing to worry about ladies, trust me. She was not amused by my innocent questions, and I reassured her these were not plans in the making.
My plea is for all public venues to start having at least one unisex or gender neutral bathroom. We can even share the handicapped restroom, after all, I often say I am gender handicapped – I cannot navigate my way through the bathroom in the same way as someone that is gender conforming. Until we have more gender neutral restrooms, to all my lady friends, thanks for accompanying me in line and fending off the meanies. It is greatly appreciated.