I bite my tongue walking out of the bathroom, hearing from inside the words I always dread; “What was that guy doing in here?” The woman’s voice is shrill and worried, and I sigh a little as I walk sullenly away.
I shrug, thinking it could have been worse, but I still wish that I’d remembered to shave, or somehow had made my body change more in the time I’d been on hormones.
I spend my time at home with my love and skulk, thinking about all the times I’ve used the bathroom and gotten those evil eyes, those dirty looks, those comments.
I was walking through WalMart with my love, and we had to break for the bathroom.
I stepped into the ladies room and there was a group of women in there, cackling about who knows what and talking. The moment they noticed me walking to a stall, they all stopped and stared at me through the mirror, until the door was shut to the stall.
I breathed heavily but quietly, trying not to let them bother me. I do my business and cautiously open the door, and see them all still staring, and I rushedly wash my hands and walk away, hearing “[expletive] pervert” and “what on earth was he doing in here?” from inside, tearing up as I meet up with my love, wishing never to have to use the bathroom again and experience that.
Every trip out gives me anxiety about the restroom now, not seeing the classic man/woman “family” restroom or a real and true gender neutral bathroom is stressful in its own way. And after hearing so much for so long about “bathroom bills,” I wonder where I am and am not safe to go where I want to, but rather where people tell me to go. But, despite this anxiety and worry I use the ladies room anyway; I’m a woman, aren’t I? As much as anyone else going in there, anyhow.
In case you managed to avoid the media for a time during the bathroom bill fiasco, it was a bill posed in many states making it so that anyone using a bathroom that did not align with their birth certificate sex would be punished by the law.
How this was planned to be enforced is beyond me, but even in places where it was never mentioned it created turmoil for trans people all over.
Now Keene State does not enforce this whatsoever, in fact there is a large list of gender neutral bathrooms all over campus that can be found on the website under the “Campus > Diversity” tabs. But, to the allies out there who may find themselves in a bathroom with transgender or nonbinary individual, do not make a comment.
Fear has been spread about individuals like myself wishing harm upon others, but from my own perspective and the perspective of all the trans and nonbinary individuals I know: We’re just there to do our business and leave. We want as little to do with strangers in the bathroom as you do, and have no reason to wish you any harm or bring any upon you.
Be tolerant and keep to yourself in the bathroom, like you would with anyone else.
Vivian Valengavich can be contacted at Vvalengavich@kscequinox.com