Original Art by Sovalou
Exiting the stall, two gabbing girls strolled out the bathroom, leaving the sink area open for my use. My girl friend stood quietly, drying her hands as she waited for me. After discovering that all but the closest of the sinks to my friend had faulty hand sensors, I chuckled to myself as a peculiar realization hit me that I just had to share.
“Hey,” I whispered to my friend who had accompanied me inside the bathroom, not as moral support but as a fellow woman who also had business to attend to. I began washing my hands to further keep my next words between us in the event someone still inhabited one of the stalls.
“Remember when I was terrified to go to the bathroom alone and I always asked you to come with me?”
“Yeah,” she said, almost as if she knew to keep her response short and concise as I removed my hands from under the faucet, shutting off the running water.
I smirked at her typical matter-of-fact reply which, for anyone who knew her like I did, was standard fare. She cared a lot for me though and had been my biggest supporter, confidant, and donator of about half my wardrobe. I owed much of my early maturity & the foundation of my girlhood to her constant trust and love for me as her friend and fellow female.
I turned the dispenser wheel and tugged at the paper towel, still wearing a confident smirk of contentment on my face.
“I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Wow…I’ve really grown up, haven’t I?”
My friend nodded in agreement, a small smile on her face. Truly, I was in awe of myself. A little over three years had passed since I began self-exploring publicly. Slightly under three years since I came out to my mom & sister – the former of which still believes that God must decide whether to have her treat and perceive me as her daughter. I had suffered, endured, questioned, and doubted so much for so long. And now, after doing so countless times solo, I simply live my life. I go to the bathroom with only the rare instance of irrational paranoia creeping up on me.
Yes, even I, who had been blessed with a “cute face” (according to my sister), was, for a period of time, terrified to go to the bathroom of fear of being outed or stared at critically. And now, I don’t ever give it a second thought. Once in a while, I even occasionally smile or exchange a few words with another female whose goals are exactly the same as mine:
Do my business. Wash my hands. Touch up hair and makeup if need be. Compliment a girl on her boots. Keep on trucking through the day kicking myself for not saying more to that girl because I just so happen to be gay as fuck. (Fun fact: I’m demi-pansexual)
Believe me, I know I’m fortunate, not just in looks but in the diverse area of the U.S. I live. Transgender persons who haven’t started HRT, or haven’t perfected their makeup tech, or have stronger features than I are still being policed & restricted, wanting nothing more than to do their business, small talk other ladies and, ultimately, be seen as another female who has no ulterior motive.
And yet, we are the danger. Why? To fear-monger a baseless, seemingly moral cis agenda that transgender persons are somehow looking to prey upon the gender group we want to be accepted by. A tad backwards, wouldn’t you say? Except, North Carolina seeks to pass bathroom bills that would do much more harm than good. Meanwhile, we are the ones cowering in fear of judgement, ostracism, and/or harassment. We are the ones who torture ourselves holding our waste if we don’t have a supportive friend with us just so we can feel safe and validated. Trans people are the ones committing suicide because they’d rather be dead than be repeatedly demeaned and forced to use the wrong bathroom…
…I remember these moments well. Such memories coursed through my mind that day not too long ago. And now look at me. Somehow, I had survived. I had become self-validated as a girl/woman in nearly every aspect.
Tossing the damp paper towel in the trash, I followed behind my friend as we exited the Ladies room together, confident and self-assured in my femininity and identity. I quietly hoped I’d find a way to share that realization in a way that would inspire others to find their self-assuredness & confidence. To not lose hope when the times are still very much against “girls like us” who, as the popular saying goes, “just need to pee”.
For a bit of contrast, I too was nearly made to use the wrong bathroom. I published an entry about that experience here that occurred during the beginning of my three years as an infant in my transition.