Yesterday (loosely speaking) was an absolutely epic day (and night and day) of ridiculous and amazing shenanigans, but even so, we couldn’t escape the fact that some people just beyond stupid and, frankly, should just leave the rest of us the hell alone.
I was out with friends (a fabulous group of queers and transfolks — and queer transfolks — transfags for the win, heeyy) for seventeen hours. In those seventeen hours, my friend had restroom altercations twice. In the span of half a day, assholes chased my friend out of a public restroom twice. What the hell is wrong with people?
The first time, we were at a fast food restaurant, and my friend and I separated from the group in order to use the restrooms, him to the men’s room, me to the other. Barely a minute later, I hear this guy screaming profanities at someone to get out of the men’s room, and I freeze. I know he’s yelling at my friend. I’m terrified. My friend is very, very slight — I think he weighs less than I do — but he’s fierce, and he doesn’t back down. I finish up, praying to anyone who’ll listen that the person doesn’t start to physically attack my friend. As soon as I’m out, we leave.
My friend was trembling in repressed rage, his eyes flashing, telling us about the absolutely obscene garbage the guy had spewed at him upon discovering a “woman” in the restroom. This clearly wasn’t the first time this had happened to him. And then my friend apologized for causing a scene! My friend did nothing wrong. He had nothing for which to apologize. It’s not his fault there are bigots out there who take it upon themselves to police the freaking restrooms.
I was just trembling. I wrote my thesis partially about the violence done to transfolk by the gender binary system (and enforcers of it); I’ve heard a lot about the restroom nonsense faced by gender non-conforming people — but I’ve never handled it myself. I’ve never been with friends when they’ve had to deal with it. Not until today. I was so scared. I didn’t even see the guy, and he made me truly afraid. People like that are a threat and a danger, and they just cause harm where there doesn’t need to be any.
Later, we were in a stocking up on food at a gas station. As we milled about, figuring out what we wanted to eat, my friend tried to use the restroom again, and the guy just refused to give him the key to the men’s room (after having basically ignored him and another friend who were trying to pay for food). My friend was utterly outraged, shouted at him about being denied his civil liberties, and we left.
I didn’t say anything. I was so ashamed of myself. Yes, it was four o’clock in the morning, and I didn’t quite realize what was going on until it was over, but I should have done something. I should have said something. It was completely unacceptable. I know my rights. The jerk should not have been allowed to keep my friend from the restroom. It’s none of his business which restroom we use!
I absolutely adore my friend. He is such a wonderful, vibrant, entertaining, fierce, funny, fabulous, outrageous person. I do not understand why people give him such shit over which restroom he uses. People, can’t you see that this is ridiculous? Something needs to change. People like my friend deserve better. We all deserve better.