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Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's True. I Am Guilty of Cross-gender Toileting.

This happened when we lived in the Wild West, wild enough that we made some friends at a restaurant because we were so stunned to overhear Democrats at the next table, but not so wild that there wasn't a Walmart. 

We biked to the Walmart, the trail going alongside a beautiful river --once, I biked side by side with a flying bald eagle for hundreds of feet, nearly eye to eye--until the trail veered inward toward the industrial section of town, hence the Walmart. 

When we got there, I went into the bathroom, in a hurry. Some lady came in to the stall next to me. She was wearing sandals and she had the ugliest feet I have ever seen. I tried to find an image that was comparable and decided, nope, I'm not going to impose that on your poor brains. But, oh, my goodness, I thought. You have had to work very hard to get toenails that ugly. 

I came out, washed my hands--some of you are ahead of me here, I'm sure--and noticed that everybody around me was male. Yes, indeed, I had gone into the wrong bathroom. That poor women was, of course, just an overweight white guy with horrendous toenails. 
Okay, I lied. Those toes were just horrible.
Nobody seemed to notice. Nobody was at the urinal. Everything was just fine, pretty much like it was when I was little and had to go into the bathroom with my dad because my mother wasn't there or couldn't take me. 

Still, I am guilty. 

Also, I have, not once, but frequently, along with Other Women, (females joining against the opposite sex, no less) commandeered the mens' room at various theaters--in various states! There we stood, the lights blinking for the second act, stuck in our endless lines, while the men just zipped in and out (yes, pun intended.) 

Finally, in wild rebellion, we women girded our loins, blocked their paltry numbers and took over every stall, again using the bathroom of a gender to which we were not born. 

I have spoken with people who are in the process of changing gender. I was in theater, I lived in Los Angeles, I lived in New York near Ninth Avenue when the hookers there were mostly transvestite men. Also, it seems that young people in a state of transition gravitate towards employment at our neighborhood coop. 

I've had some very profound talks about the changes they experience as the hormones take effect--when they suddenly just have to talk about their feelings. Or when they find they suddenly just want to man-up and shoulder through. (Obviously, the choice depends on which direction they are transitioning.) It's fascinating to view my gender from either perspective. It's kind of fun to explain this to my children. ("Well, I think he used to be Flo when he was in school. I mean she. Remember? When she used to wear dresses and look miserable? And now, I think he's changed his name to Nico and wants to look like James Dean." 

Until, finally, you just wind up saying, to paraphrase a dear friend, "You don't try to explain a platypus. A platypus just is." And so is Nico.)

If any soon-to-be ladies wish to use my bathroom, or if any soon-to-be men want to use the same public restroom as my child, more power to them. May they be safe and well. 

The folks I'm afraid of sharing a bathroom with my little ones are heterosexual males, particularly those in power--of either party, and all religions. These are the folk most likely to sexually abuse a child of any gender. They are also the least likely to be held to account for their actions, for years and years and years. Like wrestler, ex-house speaker and Republican Dennis Hastert. Like ex-football coach and respected community member, Jerry Sandusky. Like Democratic Bundler, Terry Bean. Like the 2000 celebrities and politicians who the police in Great Britain are saying operated their child-abuse ring "within institutions." Men in power who avoid prosecution. Sometimes, they are caught. More often, they are not. 

Not some lone transgender woman trying desperately to avoid getting the shit beaten out of them if she should have to use the john labeled "Men."  

See you at the next intermission!

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