I'm a transgender woman, and I'm getting to the point in my transition where I'm starting to use the women's restroom. However, given the recent climate around transgender people using the appropriate restroom, I am feeling concerned about being challenged or harassed for doing so. In an attempt to try and get ahead of that, I would like to have some strategies for responding prepared.
Specifically, I'm looking for responses to the following two situations:
- Non-threatening but direct challenges - i.e. "The men's room is over there." or "Are you in the right restroom?"
- More direct aggression - i.e., threatening to call security or the police, being physically aggressive
My strategies for avoiding problems so far have been to
- Wait for the restroom to be empty before leaving or entering, which isn't a good long term solution, and is also hard to do without feeling even creepier.
- Just leave ASAP, sometimes without like washing my hands or fixing my makeup, which ranges from gross to disheartening.
I have not yet had a direct encounter, mostly just surprised looks or glaring. Which, definitely does not feel good, but I can deal with it. But I would like to have a strategy beforehand, so I know how to respond if it ever does happen.
My goals for any response, in order of importance, would be to
Keep myself safe
Still use the restroom
Avoid getting authorities involved (employees, security, or police)
Assume that any option involving using another restroom is unavailable, and I can't wait.
Some relevant details:
- I have been medically transitioning for a while, and between the hormones and my general presentation, I look feminine, but I don't particularly pass as a cis woman.
- My ID has my gender listed as female. There's no such thing as a legal gender, but in as far as there is, I am legally a woman.
- Where I live, there are no laws explicitly banning transgender people from using the restroom appropriate to their gender, but also no laws explicitly protecting us. It's kind of a gray area. This is the big reason I wouldn't want to get police or other authority figures involved, as it feels the outcome could easily be not in my favour.