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.
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…