Really, Lady?

If not for the fact that I have a transgender (or at least a gender non-conforming*) child, I might not even have taken note of the remark.  Or, if I had, I would have put little (read: no) thought to it.  But I do have a transgender (or at least a gender non-conforming) child and I did (and still do, apparently) put thought to it.

The other day at work, a gentleman who was,  to be perfectly frank,  dressed in what I would refer to as Euro-Faggy manner (don’t send me angry comments for using that expression…no malice or judgment intended.  Okay, maybe a little bit of judgment, but no malice.) His hair had clearly been styled – no wash and wear for him; his eyeglasses were round, tortoise-shell and expensive.  His outfit had not been thrown on in haste; rather it had been carefully orchestrated.  His feet were covered by shoes most likely acquired from Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s or Louis’ and the leather jacket he wore did not come from TJ Maxx.  He approached me, leaned in and inquired as to the whereabouts of the ladies’ room.  It struck me as slightly odd, but not the craziest thing I had ever heard.  I pointed in the direction of the facilities and off he went.

Sometime later, he approached the registers to make his purchase, this time with a woman (who seemed to be cut from the same clothe as he: add to his ensemble eminently colored hair, large diamond rings, perfectly manicured nails and an attitude of entitlement which, unfortunately for her, was discernible from a mile away.)  I smiled and commented to him that I was glad to see he was with a woman (as he had asked for the ladies’ room as opposed to the restroom which, in my experience, anyway, are usually side by side – so if you ask where the men’s room is, chances are that the ladies’ room will be right there…right?) He initially gave me a blank look, and then realized what I was referring to, smiled and patted his companion’s shoulder.  Everyone has a little chuckle, ha ha ha, end of story.  Not so fast.


After slightly more than a pregnant pause, the woman made a comment in a slightly louder than stage whisper: “we still have to use separate ones…thank G-d”.  This statement, with more than an air of disgust in her tone, was followed by an eye roll and an abrupt turn on her Stuart Weitzman boots.

Wait, what?!?

How did this silly, innocent exchange devolve into something that made me want to cut another person?  No, not cut…whack her upside the head, perhaps.  Nah…trip her so she falls in mud.  What was happening for her that her mind even went there?  Does she know someone grappling with a gender identity issue?  Is she (or he) that person? Has she been assailed by an androgynous person?  Did she have a bad bathroom experience?  Or is she just an uptight bitch with a bad attitude and hair across her ass?  Doesn’t much matter, I suppose.  What is more noteworthy is my visceral reaction…one which, if I am being honest, I likely would not have had about two years ago.  I am quite sure, in fact, that I might not even have thought much about it at all.   But now, it kinda pissed me off.  It kinda made me want to go after her and ask her what her issue was, why she cared and if she knew anyone like my kid.  (I resisted all these urges since I like my job and want to keep it.)

It has been a few days since this exchange (which, it should be noted, lasted about three nanoseconds) and I am still thinking about it.  I grasp the concept not understanding the world of gender non-conformity, but I do not grasp being hateful about it.  Now, to be fair, while I do not know (nor care to know) this particular woman, I do know her type.  I choose not to get beyond hello with her nasty entitled ilk, mostly because I find them of little value.  But I did feel the Norma Rae in me, raging to get out and level her, I mean, have a meaningful conversation with her about what exactly her fucking issue is.  Alas, I did not do so, but, as you can see, I am still ruminating over it.

I am not really sure what that says about me and my state of mind, but it reminded me how ferocious a mother’s love and protection of her kids goes – no matter which bathroom they use.

*Yes, I am aware that I am using the term “gender non-conforming” more and more…

15 thoughts on “Really, Lady?

  1. “The bathroom issue” is only one for people that choose to make it one!! These days it should be a non issue..Go in,do what you need to do,and leave…seems pretty simple!

  2. you know I love you Julie, but is there any way she meant that she was happy that the bathrooms are not co-ed (like they are in colleges now?) I am hopefully optimistic despite that I don’t like the woman or the entitled attitude….

  3. It would be so nice to have a response ready that you could then ‘spontaneously’ come out with. I don’t know, something like: ‘I always thought an Ally McBeal restroom was much more interesting’. Sorry, this is a bit lame, just something that wipes this arrogant certainty that =everyone= thinks like her off her face. That’s what gets to me so much. Plus wanting to be a good cis ally to trans people, not sure if I am.
    I bet you were still thinking about it days later.

    • Technically it is no different – except for the fact that I did not use it with disgust and disdain. Fair to call me out on it…but I used it as a carryover expression from the 80s. No offense intended. (And see? I will approve negative comments as long as the person making the comment does not do so anonymously.)

  4. Hey Julie – I was going to say the same thing as Ronna but read your reply. I’m a complete Mama Grizzly when it comes to people saying stupid things about LGBT people because of my kid. I never thought much about it before either. As someone who says the wrong thing unintentionally all the freaking time I can see how this might happen innocently. But if you want to beat the crap out of her, I got your back

  5. As a person who is a stealth transwoman, I have no real desire to be in a restroom with any person, male or female. If nothing else, just blame it on a bashful kidney.

    I spent some time this morning reading comments on another forum regarding children like Jess who feel that, though born male, they are actually girls. I came away with the feeling that thre is no way we can help them understand what is involved with the issue. The issue I was reading about involved restrooms but the underlying feeling by those commenting was that the children were deluded and had no concept of what they were saying. They have no idea what they were talking about…

    By the way, restrooms are not always side by side. The medical building where my wife sees her doctors has each down a short separate hallway, with three elevator shafts separating the hallways.

    • Pee shy of the world, unite! 🙂

      I once left a Target and drove home to go to the bathroom, because I was so bashful about using the bathroom. We have enough issues with public bathrooms, we don’t need to make them an even bigger issue.

  6. Hello! I really enjoy your blog but I am having so much trouble following this particular story. I’ve read it at least three times and I still don’t get it. Are you saying the man was transgender? Was the woman his friend or were they strangers? If they were friends, why was she being hateful toward him? And I still don’t understand the part when you said you were glad to see he was with a woman – and about the facilities likely being right next to each other??? If you don’t mind could you please clarify for me – I really want to understand what was going on. And I apologize – I’m not usually this dense. 🙂

    • I believe they were a married couple (as evidenced by the ginormous ring on her left hand). I was noticing that he was a bit androgynous and wondering (aloud in my blog) if perhaps he has some gender non-conformity of his own. She wasn’t being hateful toward him, rather being hateful with regard to the idea that there may be a unisex bathroom situation. I was “glad” (for lack of a better word) that he was with a woman as he had asked where the ladies’ room was…seeing him with a lady made a little more sense. As for the facilities being right next to one another, I understand it is not always the case, but it was a curious way for a man to ask for the facilities, even though they were for a woman he was with (who was nowhere in sight at the time of the inquiry).
      Re-reading my response I am quite sure I have done little to clarify, but more likely made things more confusing…

  7. Bathrooms are a huge issue. I live in Philly, which is one of the best ranked city to be trans or gnc in. The queer community center and bookstore that I both volunteer at have nongendered bathrooms (the community center has one with stalls and one without and the bookstore is just a single). But I feel like I’ve noticed a lot more businesses without any particular affiliation to the queer community doing this (with both single and high occupancy bathrooms). I doubt that’s true in other places, but I hope it’s a trend that will spread and stick around.

  8. I must say that I am a designer… and I have had a project before when we had to construct a completely different “Unisex” bathroom for a client because they had a transgendered lady working in their office. It was hard for me to even think that she couldn’t use the restroom of her choice. But we made the best of it and made her a truly lovely restroom (like bonkers expensive fixtures and tiles). It is now the most beautiful restroom in the complex… and the only restroom I will use when I visit the building.
    It’s still will take some people a long time to figure out the world isn’t just for them and narrow views.
    Anyways great post as always.

  9. Why does society need to control where we pee! For Pete’s sake, there’s a stall with a lock that separates people. People should be able to pee in peace.

    Signed, a 14 year old

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