I ask you this, what situation do you dread more then anything else? Is it going to the dentist? Gyno? Doing paperwork? What if that situation you found the most uncomfortable was something you were forced to do everyday? What kind of impact would that have on your day to day activities? Would it make you less likely to want to go to work and/or school? Take a few seconds to think about the ramifications of that feeling? Go on, I'll wait for you.
For those who live outside the box society has built for us, several daily activities you may not even think about, are a painful and sometimes humiliating experience. Lets take an activity I am sure you have done atleast once today (more if you are healthy.) Using a public restroom. What is the average thought process about using a public restroom? What stall is the cleanest? Did someone just hear me do that? For most that is as far as they even think when it comes to one of our most basic needs. What would you do if using a public restroom left you with dilapidating anxiety? Something you had to talk yourself into anytime nature called. Chances are you have never experienced this and likely will never experience it. Unfortunately this cannot be said for everyone. There are so many people under our rainbow heading that face this challenge on a daily basis.
Walking into a restroom becomes something you must talk yourself into. It’s a ritual of preparation, ensuring you are ready to face whatever onslaught you may experience. Reactions can range from a second glance to flat out violence. Earlier this year a transgendered woman was beaten in a McDonalds for using the restroom and all the staff did was laugh and videotape the event. Personally I have never experienced anything that violent however I have been confronted on more than one occasion.
Gender Outlaws have no choice but to devise ways to surviving this inevitable activity. This ranges from doing your best to plan your trip during a moment where their are as little people as possible, to waiting in your stall until the coast is clear before exiting. For myself, this has become such a ritual that even at work (A place I generally feel no fear or reproach) I find myself using some of the above techniques.
Having experienced a public restroom on both sides of the gender spectrum I can honestly say that it is a very different experience. Women know how many people are in the bathroom, what they look like, what outfits they are wearing and alot of other random details. (I can assure you this is not any insult towards my fellow female homosapiens; this is the plain old truth.) Men on the other hand keep their head down, do what they have to do and get out. So when entering a women's restroom it is far easier to feel the scrutinous glare of everyone in there.
All I ask of you, after reading this, is to not pass judgment on that ambiguous person who just wandered into the restroom. Chances are that if they have chosen that particular restroom that they are in the right place. Understand the discomfort and fear that may be accompanied with this experience. And most of all: Live and let live....