Some people don’t think transgender people should be able to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender. Many of those same people don’t think society should police their own gender presentation (I agree. Feminine men and butch women are still men and women, respectively). What always confused me about this was that, by being so opposed to trans people using the restroom corresponding to their gender identity, they’re supporting the idea that people should be gender policed at they bathroom door, asked to provide “proof,” and so on.
Here’s a fictional situation, set in a world where the anti-transgender bill introduced by John Kavanaugh in Arizona are in effect. Under that law, they’d be nothing illegal here:
A woman in jeans and a t-shirt sits alone in a diner. Waiting for her meal, she gets up from the table, and walks toward the restroom door. Just as she began to enter –
“‘Scuse me! You can’t go in there!” It was the diner’s manager, stepping out from the door of his small, dark office.
“Oh?,” she said, thinking that maybe the restroom was out of order.
“We don’t allow men in the ladies’ room,” the manager snapped back, the tone in his voice filled with disgust. “Men’s room is over there.” He pointed.
Not sure what to do, she returned to her table, stunned, ashamed. The shame quickly turned to anger. Who does he think he is, telling me what women look like? What, because I’m not wearing a dress and heels, because I don’t have a pound of makeup caked on to my face, because I don’t have long hair — I’m not a woman? What a sexist pig.
Seething, she again got up from her table, walking over to the small office where the manager first appeared out of. She knocked on the door.
The manager opened the door. “Yes?”
“How dare you tell me that I’m not a woman?! What is wrong with you? This isn’t how you treat customers! This isn’t how you treat people!”
“I don’t want any of those transgenders or whatever using the women’s room. It’s for their safety,” he said, his tone shifting from disgust to arrogance. “Like I said. You can use the men’s room.”
“I am not a man! How many times do I have to tell you that?! Here.” She pulled out her drivers license, showing it to the man in front of her.
The man looked at the license:
NAME: SAMANTHA ALICE THOMPSON
ADDRESS: 1472 W. CEDAR RD., GREENVILLE, PA
Unimpressed, the man retorts, “But what does it say on your birth certificate?”
Floored by this line of questioning, just to use the bathroom, Sam began to grit her teeth. “It says ‘female.’”
“Do you have it?,” the manager asked.
“What?! No. Of course I don’t have my birth certificate with me. Who carries that around? You know what? I don’t need this. You’re a sexist asshole!”
She stomped off, grabbing her belongings. During the course of the altercation, Sam’s food had shown up. Leaving it on the table, she stormed out of the restaurant, cursing under her breath. Never before had she felt so invalidated as a human being. How dare he police my gender like that?
Over the next few days, the shame and embarrassment stayed with her, scratching away at her well being. I am a woman. That was absurd. She needed to do something, and so she called one of her friends.
“Hey Kate, it’s Sam.”
“Hey, you! What’s up?”
Sam recounted her experience at the diner, repeating the manager’s nasty words verbatim.
“He asked to see your birth certificate? Who was this guy? Donald Trump? What the fuck!?”
“I know, right? I just wish there was something I could do. I felt so dehumanized. Who does that? Seriously. Who the fuck does that!?”