Glares. Whispers. Double-takes. Negative and discriminating remarks such as, "Gender neutral restrooms are so stupid." "Oh, that person is a tranny over there...?" Are all tell-tale signs of an anti-transgender, transphobic, transmisia, and a makeup of a hostile environment.
For me, society and the perception of transgender people is a constant challenge. You don't realize how privilege cisgender people are or how ignorant they can be towards a transgender person. There is a vast world of so many different people from all walks of life, culture, background, religion, class, sex, gender, color, cast, creed, etc. and they may not realize that when it comes to including others, that it's not just always going to be about them and their comfortability. Cisgender people have it so easy. They really don't have to worry about anything, period! Most of their fears about a transgender person are also fictional which feeds to the stigmas of transgender people being a threat. It's never going to be easy for a transgender person who has a body that doesn't match their assigned sex at birth and a biologically anatomy that doesn't match with their current gender identity. This brings on more of a challenge for transgender people who have not undergone gender-reaffirming surgery (otherwise known as bottom surgery) who struggle to access and utilize binary toilets in public restroom spaces because it public restroom simply "outs" them.
So what is a transgender person, like myself, to do? Is it right to be denied to use a restroom, any restroom? I have people tell me that I should conform to society as a way to fit in the gender norms. I tell those people they need to change their perception and educate themselves on diversity of sex and gender in this world. Why do I have to oppress or censor myself to comfort someone elses' ignorance? You simply don't tell a male lady bug to stop being a lady bug, besides male lady bugs get misgendered all the time but guess who made them? God, and yes, they do exist! Same with male sea horses, they get pregnant my female sea horses and give birth. I can't imagine anyone trying to argue against that one but guess who made them? God, and yes, they do exist! Get my point?
My dilemma was like this: I identify as a transgender man. I have transitioned from female-to-male. My gender pronouns are he/him/his. I have had my top surgery but I have not had my bottom surgery, therefore, my biological anatomy is still intact. I can still bleed when I'm off my hormone replacement therapy and I can still get pregnant without using condoms or birth control contraceptive if I have sex with a cisgender man (like any other woman). However, with that being said, it doesn't make me less of a man to still have my biological genitalia at birth after I have hormonally transitioned. When it comes to public binary restrooms, I can't use the mens urinals because my biological anatomy has not changed. I also can't access the men's stalls if fully occuppied to pee. I can't use the women's restroom because my gender identity as a transman no longer matches my gender identity to that of a women. So where do I go to utilize a restroom?
Another thing to point out, it's a transgender persons choice if they choose to under-go bottom surgery or not. I have had many binary-minded socially conformist people who suggests that I get my bottom surgery in order to be literally acknowledged as a man or in other terms be considered a man but for some transmen, like myself, are perfectly fine with having a vagina because the options for transmen when it comes to bottom surgery is for one, permanent, and that there aren't guaranteed options that will:
Allow a transman to have feelings of pleasure when it comes to enjoying sex.
Allow transmen to get pregnant, carry, and birth their own biological offspring as an option to adoption whether through IVF or with a male cisgender partner.
Transmen are aware that there are risks of other complications after having bottom surgery and for me, I feel that there aren't better operating procedures for me to under-go a full bottom surgery but say, if I want to avoid monthly bleedings or pregnancy, I can always under-go a hysterectomy but still keep my vagina intact for penetrative vaginal sex. It's also a very personal, private, sensitive, and emotional decision for a transman to decide whether they wish to undergo bottom surgery or not. The choice should be up to transgender men without shame for choosing to keep their biological anatomy at birth intact, having their monthly bleedings, getting pregnant, etc.
In regards to public restrooms, literally, all I need is to use the restroom, that's all I want! I don't care about anyone or anything else. I'm not interested in looking at or interacting with anyone in the same restroom space. Ironically, other cisgender people worry that I will harass them when I'm also worried about being harassed and discriminated by cisgender people just for being transgender. I already have bladder problems from holding my pee for too long in public spaces and my doctors have already warned me against holding my pee because public restroom spaces are sometimes either inaccessible or I get denied from using them because people make complaints or call security or the cops on me to get me arrested because they think I'm a sex-offender, a pervert, or some freak of nature. Not to mention, holding your pee for long periods of time, overtime, causes health issues which has been the main reason for all my abdominal pains.
Instead of having a binary restroom, most public spaces need to create a safer space for transgender (transmasculine non-conforming), like myself, by making both restrooms an all-gender one where I wouldn't have to worry about which restroom to use if either stall is occupied and so that I don't get attacked by a cisgender female or a cisgender male staff member or customer making complaints about me using either restrooms due to max occupancy in the men's stall while the women's stall are clearly vacant and accessible. To me, a restroom is just a restroom so just let me go pee or poop in peace!
As of December of 2003, the State of California issued this ordinance for restrooms in most public facilities and workplaces. It was an option for most institutions but when you have a transgender employee in your work force or even potential transgender customers, the company that claims to be true to its work culture when it comes to advocating for diversity and inclusion must follow this ordinance to accommodate their transgender employee and/or potential customers. This is more of a health and safety matter than anything else for both transgender employees and transgender customers alike. Imagine having to hold your pee for hours. Now, imagine transgender children or transgender students in those 8 "Unacceptable States" being denied rights to use the public restrooms and having to hold their pee for hours. That's not okay! You may not die holding your pee for too long but being forced to hold your pee because you were denied access to a restroom regardless of it being a men's or women's restroom is just inhumane. Nevertheless, if a cisgender senior with health disabilities who really needed to go pee, urgently, and let's say, the assigned restroom that they needed to utilize is fully occupied, one would not object or discriminate against this senior citizen for having to utilize the opposite binary assigned restroom because this senior may have health related issues with their kidney or bladder so you wouldn't deny this senior access or discriminate against this senior so then why would you discriminate against a transgender one? By this, I mean a senior who could also be transgender.
Reasonable access to a restroom is a workplace safety and health concern. Transgender employees must have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, in compliance with OSHA guidelines.
It's crazy how we're still dealing with civil rights in 2023 huh? Regardless of what form the fight for civil rights may be. At my previous job, they didn't just preach about equality, diversity, and inclusion, they took action and made sure that they were the most accommodating to the needs of their transgender employee(s). When I was employed there, the store manager immediately followed the State of California San Francisco's city ordinance in regards to Transgender Rights In The Workplace to create both restrooms an all-gender neutral restroom so that their transgender employees(s) are not discriminated against and to keep them protected from being shamed, outed, or targeted for who they are.
I know there are people who celebrate transgender people and acknowledge that in this day and age, what we go through on a day to day is a "civil rights" issue. Then there are people who spend all their energy on dehumanizing transgender people, mocking, and challenging the rights that transgender people are entitled to, these rights are much the same as a cisgender person and yes, transgender people are a bit more complex but so is all of life's secrets and wonders. Then there are those people who do both, they would praise a transgender person then suddenly turn their backs and dehumanize them while claiming to support them all at the same time.
In Arizona, one of the schooling systems enforced security on the restrooms inquiring for all students, specifically targeting transgender students, by asking for some form of documentation proving their assigned gender at birth before utilizing the binary restrooms. In Arizona, if a transgender person uses the binary restroom that does match with their current gender identity, they would get slapped with a $2500 dollar fine, because they would be considered using the "wrong" restroom because of their biological genitalia at birth. How ridiculous is that?
What are my transgender rights in the workplace? And is the right to utilize public restroom facilities regardless of which public toilet one of those rights? The answer is YES! There is a term that I want to share, it's called, "Binarism". This is the breakdown of it. Binarism is the belief that there are only two genders. Binarist attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and policies exclude or harm nonbinary and gender non-conforming people.
Binarism often overlaps with transmisia, but it's also harmful on its own. For example, trans people may be protected by law to use the restroom they're most comfortable using. But it's binarist to force everyone to choose between either men's room or a women's room and not have a gender inclusive restroom.
Because of binarism in society, non-binary people may have to make hard, unfair choices around restrooms, which sports team to play on, what kinds of gender-affirming care they need, where to get their haircut, and much more. Binarism in the community can make coming out more challenging.
To end it on this note, I am proud of addressing my concerns in regards to binary restrooms in any institution or facility, despite witnessing some negative remarks made against transgender people by making accommodations to create a gender-neutral restroom. My perspective on the needs of making public restrooms all-gender or all-inclusive benefits those who identify as transgender, gender-fluid, gender non-conforming, genderless, or gender non-binary, for family for those with disabilities that require assistance, mothers and fathers with infants, women and children especially regardless of how their children identifies, and it just makes it inclusive for both staff members and customers to utilize the restroom without having to choose and therefore ends any form of discrimination or discomfort that revolves around it.
One of the worse cases that I have considered in binary restrooms spaces is a transgender woman using the women's restroom and being outed, harassed, violated, and banned for using the restroom that she identifies because as a trans brother, I am also very protective and vocal for my trans sisters. Even though I have been transitioning hormonally for 8 years, I know I've come to the point of passing and therefore have been stealth in most public spaces, but I am also very well aware that there are transwomen and some transmen who identify as genderless, gender non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming (like myself) or agender, that struggle with utilizing binary restrooms and face the adversity that follows as well as the dysphoria, anxiety, triggers, and fears around it.
I always say this to people, "If you are not part of the solution to better humanity, then YOU are part of the huge problem in society." If you are not on the side of today's human rights movement in supporting transgenders on the fights for their civil rights, then believe me when I say that the side you choose to oppose and oppress, that part in history will bite you back! You will become that person who tried to stop and shame transgender people from peeing in a toilet or simply being human!
Yeah, you don't want to be that person! People will remember you for it.
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Kaneda Yoshida (male pronouns: he/him/his) is a transgender activist, advocate, a trans brother to the Transgender Community and a fierce protector of trans youth. He is the original non-profit founder/leader of the Trans-Cis Alliance Coalition Organization (T.C.A.C, pronounced Tee-Kah). He actively and closely works with other LGBTQIA+ entities to bring about inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, justice, and equality for both the sex and gender diverse communities by campaigning, petitioning, and lobbying for individuals who face discrimination in schooling systems and in the workplace, rejection and abuse at home, as well as hate and violence in public spaces against LGBTQIA+ individuals. He has lobbied against anti-trans politicians, as well as capital institutions within the military, law enforcement, and city council government systems as well as took a stand against any entities that targets the health, livelihood, and well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals.