Why did I like the menís restroom when I was young? Nature/nurture? Nurture wins. I didnít know better when I was 4 or 5. Dad would take me to use the restroom and since he was male he couldnít go into the womenís. Mom would take me into the womenís because that was appropriate to her gender. I hated the womenís restroom at my grade school: real bad ventilation. Now womenís restrooms are supposedly nicer than menís. (The last I checked, which was this year, they seemed equal.) I donít remember much about the menís except I liked it and didnít understand why I couldnít go into the menís when I was with my mom. I think my mom got tired of me making a fuss about it.
In the end, this concept concerning gender appropriate restrooms stuck. It has stuck so well that when I was older, even when I was the only one around, I would not go into the menís restroom. Now it has been fully ingrained into me. As well as the fear of being jumped and raped. I know that a lot of this is based on the fact there are labels on the restrooms. I know that if there werenít signs labeling the restrooms I wouldnít care which one I used. When I was at a GenderQueer film festival there were unisex bathrooms and I used whatever. I guess I feel that I will get in trouble if I use the menís restroom even though at the moment I think I could pass more as a male than a female. I have a love/hate relationship with labels, always have.
The idea is to have a gender-neutral restroom. I know people are going to balk but. . . why do we have a gender specific restrooms? That is a hard question for me since I id as GenderQueer and rebel against gender specific anything. I donít want to hear these 3 reasons because they are bullshit.
Hypothetically speaking. . . if this was a queer friendly society, which it is not, then there would have to have 4 types of restrooms. Let me explain. . . not every man who exists is hetero. Not every woman is hetero. So instead, in the menís restroom, a man could make a pass at another man. So gender specific restrooms are illogical. They should be based on sexual orientation.
1 for hetero men
1 for queer men
1 for hetero women
1 for queer women
Some where you stick the bis in. Maybe make single use restrooms for them. Does this make you happy now?
There maybe not enough stalls, but base from what I have read, not all men are able to use urinals. Some have trouble. For example I remember reading about a man who canít use a urinal because of a piercing that he has which gets in the way. In Texas I read that they are putting urinals in womenís restrooms. I do know of a pre-op tranny who uses urinals.
Menís restrooms are messier than womenís. Not always the case only a stereotype. For example, when my sister was in college, one year her dormís bathrooms were unisex. The interesting thing was that the men complained that the women were slobs.
So where does this put me? I am stuck in the center of this conflict. That is why I am an advocate for gender neutral restrooms. I have been trained to fear menís restrooms and the fact they are for men only. On one hand I donít fit in the womenís. It could be because there are not enough butch dykes who use the womenís restrooms that I use when I use them. Instead I run into the preppy femms. I am surprised that I havenít been threatened by a woman holding a high heel in one hand while calling security. Especially, during the years when I was constantly called sir. As I said before, I am scared to use the menís because of the fear of being jumped. If I was an effeminate man I would be afraid also. But I think I would fit in the menís more than the womenís because I feel that I look like a teenage boy more than I do a 20 something woman. If I was on "T" I would have facial hair and I would look older. What I have to say is funny, is the fact that I feel comfortable in the womenís restroom even though I feel like a freak when I am in there. That could because of the nurture aspect that has ruled most of my life. It is hard to separate nature from nurture. I am not the only one who has experienced this. I have run into other trannies who are now trying to separate nature from nurture.
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains" (Rousseau).
Rousseau stated this in his book The Social Contract. (It is hard to believe that a quote of this nature came out of his mouth knowing that he was a despicable man.) Yes I will explain the reason that I quoted him. We are born free in this society. Once we fully leave the womb we are hand cuffed and fed this food that isnít totally true or as is said in a song that Rage Against the Machine wrote,
"The teacher stands in front of the class. But the lesson plan he canít recall. The studentís eyes canít perceive the lies. Bouncing off every fucking wall. His composure is well kept. I guess he fears playing the fool. The complacent students sit and listen to. The bullshit that he learned in school".
This quote represents society and how sometimes society is unable to adapt to new ideas so instead they repeat the same thing without getting recertified. As well as the fact children donít know wrong from right. They are taught that. So if they are taught that if they are female they can only use the womenís restroom then that is all they know.
OK, I am guessing by now you are lost and am thinking what is the point of these two quotes and how are they related to the rest of this paper? The point that I am trying to make is that: one, because of this western culture that we live in we have trouble accepting anything different, for example, gender neutral bathrooms. Two, we are born free but society, as in the Rage quote, trains us to behave and interact in a certain way and if we do otherwise we are looked at strangely.
When Rousseau refers to the chains he is really referring to idea that society is otherwise a control freak and without control goes insane. Since society is a control freak there has to be something called gender and there can only be two specific genders. That is what I mean when I say that society is gendered. What restrooms have to do with this is that restrooms are designed for two genders. Gendered meaning society goes insane without the concept of gender. Society flips out when there are not two genders. Because of how western culture acts it would ends up in a mental institution because it would go insane if the rest of the world was poly-gendered. That would be no different than when other ethnic groups migrated to the States. Now you know why something called gender exists and why it is a deciding factor in what restroom one uses.