Restroom sign, altered

We just need to pee

[Image: A restroom sign showing the stick figure of a person wearing a skirt and the word MEN underneath.]

This morning I jammed a one inch long needle into my thigh. I’ve done this every other week for over a year now, to inject the testosterone I need to stay healthy and sane. As many times as I’ve done this procedure, I still get nervous and my heart races, every time.

But that nervousness is nothing compared to how I often feel when entering a men’s restroom. I made the decision that when I began testosterone therapy last January, I would no longer use women’s restrooms. Since last July I’ve had identification that shows I’m legally male, but that’s not enough for conservatives and TERFs who would still bar me from men’s facilities on the grounds that I’m “biologically female.”

The bathroom police are calling for bounties on trans people for using restrooms that do not correspond with our birth-assigned sexes. In some cases they are actually resorting to chromosomes as the test of one’s “true” sex, which, as I’ve pointed out, is patently ridiculous and discriminatory, however they plan to verify this information.

While the primary targets of this bathroom policing are trans women and girls, trans men and boys are also hurt by these arbitrary policies. This high school student is being told he can’t use the boy’s restroom because he was “born female.” What exactly is the school administration afraid of? Do they really think the cis boys using the restroom are at risk from this child? Do they not recognize the harm of forcing him to use the girl’s room, where he does not belong, or a unisex restroom, where he suffers the stigma of being separated out from his peers?

A bathroom selfie campaign that went viral, #WeJustNeedToPee, showed the ridiculousness of forcing a bearded trans man to use a woman’s restroom. But the important thing is that there’s no particular way a trans man, woman, or nonbinary person should look to “confirm” their gender, and our outward presentation should not dictate which facilities we are allowed to use. Trans women in particular are often policed for looking “too femme” if they wear makeup, dresses, and heels, but if they wear a T-shirt and jeans like many cis women do, they often aren’t seen as womanly enough to be granted access to women’s spaces.

I was especially nervous using a public restroom yesterday because of the way I was dressed. It was over 80 degrees out, so I wore a light gray V-neck T-shirt with nothing underneath. It was a fairly loose shirt (and a “men’s” style), but my breasts were still visible underneath. I decided that I would rather put up with potential stares and misgendering than suffer from heatstroke.

As I approached the restroom, another person headed in, making eye contact with me before doing so. I pretended to check my phone while waiting for him to come out, hoping he wouldn’t take long. After he exited, I waited another minute and then went in, did my business and got out as fast as possible.

I don’t like having to think every day about what I’m wearing, where I’m going, how long I’ll be out, what kinds of people will be in the space, whether there will be a unisex restroom, and if not, whether the men’s room will have a stall with a functional door lock. I didn’t have to think about these things before my transition, and I shouldn’t have to now. I’m not in there to spy on anyone, I’m there to pee and get out. Neither my breasts, nor my vulva and vagina, nor my uterus and ovaries, nor my chromosomes are relevant when I’m in a restroom. The only body part that’s relevant is my bladder, and my need to empty it.

If you want to help stop the bathroom policing, please speak out against it whenever you read or hear about these policies. Consider signing this pledge by the Transgender Law Center. Some other things you can do in your school or workplace:

  • Ensure that everyone can use men’s and women’s restrooms without being asked for identification or otherwise harassed.
  • If you have no unisex restrooms, lobby to create one. (But don’t force trans people to use it instead of gendered facilities.)
  • If you have single-occupancy restrooms that are gendered, lobby to make them unisex.

And for the love of whatever you believe in, please stop referring to “biological sex.”

Please help stop bathroom policing. We all just need to pee.

15 thoughts on “We just need to pee”

  1. I honestly never understood the point of separating restrooms by gender at all; if you have private stalls, what exactly is the problem? I actually had the same issue once at a sex club where I needed to pee extremely badly and the nearest men’s room was out of order (couldn’t have made it to the one upstairs), so I slipped into the (crowded) women’s room as quickly as I could, got into the first stall by the door which was luckily empty, peed, and left as fast as I could. I made sure I made no eye contact with anyone, and my total time in there was less than 45 seconds. But You know what happened? A trans-woman who had been in there came out and started berating my FEMALE FRIEND (not me!) as being “insane” for “letting me go in” there, saying how “I’m a woman, and I get to go in there, he’s not, keep him out!” And this at a sex club, where gender is often irrelevant!

    Most European restrooms, I understand, are unisex and nobody has a problem with it. When I visited my friend in the early 90s at UC Berkeley, they also had unisex restrooms in the dorms, and there were no issues (I don’t know if that’s the case now).

    But no…you are correct that you should not have to face these kinds of issues. Peeing is peeing all around, no matter what. And yes, I’m signing the petition.

    1. Correction…unfortunately I’m not signing the petition, for the sole reason that a facebook account is needed to do so, and I absolutely am not signing up for a facebook account, ever.

      1. You actually don’t need a Facebook account to sign; I signed up on the Causes web site directly without linking it to Facebook.

    2. While I would personally prefer all restrooms to be unisex, I understand and respect the need for women to have their own spaces. As long as they allow trans women and nonbinary transfeminine people in those spaces, I’m fine with it.

  2. All I can say is, if a bounty program is initiated where you live, report everyone. Seriously. You never know if they’re testosterone or estrogen resistant, or maybe XXY or maybe they were born intersex and misassigned at birth as the wrong sex to conform with their chromosomal sex. So just report everyone you see using a bathroom and overwhelm their system.

  3. Thank you for saying that part about how appearance or presentation shouldn’t matter in whether our bathroom choices are respected. I didn’t participate in the #wejustneedtopee campaign because I felt like I wasn’t “passable” enough to make the point. Now I’m thinking I should have done it to make a different point, the one you just made. (And I’ve since stopped using the word “passing,” because I don’t think I, or anyone, should have to “pass” as anything. We should be respected for being ourselves, however that may be.)

  4. I would like to sign the pledge, but it gives me an option of signing in with Facebook or my e-mail (which I do not like to do), or setting up a Causes account. I click on “New here? It takes seconds to sign up.” and then I get options for Facebook, e-mail or “Already have an account? Sign in.” in an endless loop.

    1. Hmm. You either need to create a Causes account using an e-mail address, or connect with Facebook. When I clicked Pledge and got the Sign In prompt (from a browser where I wasn’t already signed in), I clicked on “Sign in with your email,” then clicked the “New here? It takes seconds to sign up” link, then was given a form to fill in with my name, password, and e-mail address (and the option of “Theirs” for preferred pronoun, yay!). It is a bit of a runaround, sorry!

  5. The “we just need to pee” selfies have also started appearing in Canada, with transgender woman Brae Carnes as one of the main protesters.

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