The Bathroom Police
She called me “he/she/it” from behind a mask, emboldened by the anonymity.
Sure, I get strange looks occasionally in women’s bathrooms when wearing a mask and a hoodie. Sure, the employees at the VA called me sir three different times in five minutes on Saturday. But those are manageable and fairly innocent — if ignorant — oversights.
Yesterday I was called “he/she/it” and “that thing” by a bathroom bigot on a self-righteous mission to police my genitals.
I am a cisgender woman. Yes, I’m six feet tall with short hair and wear mostly men’s clothes.
From the time I was a little kid, other kids called me “tomboy.” I always preferred boy’s clothes to skirts and dresses, GI Joes to Barbie Dolls, Eminem to Spice Girls. Kids — especially mean little girls in the bathroom at the elementary school — would insinuate about my sexuality. (Turns out they were right.)
My gender itself has never been in doubt. It matches my biological sex and I give it no further thought. I’m completely content being a woman as long as I never have to wear a dress or assume traditional gender roles. I will wear men’s clothing and full makeup and there is no contradiction.
I am a woman, full stop.
Other people put a lot more thought into my gender than I do these days, which is really fucking weird. The masks made it worse but after that it plateaued. In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a worsening of the gender scrutiny, though.
Transgender people have been offered up by right-wing politicians to be sacrificed to the culture wars. Rarely are people bothered by individual transgender people. Instead, being trans is portrayed as some abstract existential threat. A threat to whom I’ve yet to glean. Many Americans may not know anyone who is out about being transgender, making trans people an easy target for this sort of abstractionized fear-mongering. It’s easier to hate people irrationally when you don’t have to look them in the eyes.
Enter the bathroom police.