7 April 2016

A couple of years ago, maybe three, I took a motorcycle ride and partway through stopped at a McDonald's/gas station to get a drink and use the restroom. I was decked out in protective riding gear--blinding-his viz jacket, silver mesh armored pants, helmet in hand--and as I came out of the stall in the restroom, there was an older Asian woman who had just come in.

She freaked out. She stammered, "Not for men, not for men," and started hitting me with her purse.

She literally hit me. More than once.

I did not hit her back, though I threatened to if she did it just one more time...she then hid in the handicapped stall until I left, probably because she 1) realized her mistake or 2) did not and assumed I was there to rape and pillage in the gas station ladies' room.

All I wanted to do was pee.

I had every right to be in there.

But what if instead of assaulting me, she had gone for help? What if, because of the gear and the super short hair making me look a hell of a lot more male than I felt, I'd been held there until the police came, and forced to prove my gender? What if I HAD hit her back--and given the difference in our sizes, I probably would have really hurt her--and then had to prove I wasn't an M2F transgender, ripe with muscle mass still, using a restroom that made sense to me, but perhaps not to anyone else?

The gist...if she hadn't decided to hit me and then hide, if she had instead gone for help, at some point there's a chance I would have had to let someone else see for themselves that I have the "correct" parts that allow me access to the ladies' room.

Make no mistake: I was assaulted in that rest room. I was physically hit, emotionally punched, and deeply humiliated. If she'd screamed for help, those who would have come to her aid probably would have been men milling about in the gas station or McD's...and there's that real possibility that they would have taken me down first, before asking questions.

People who are awash with cortisol, trying to defend those they perceive as weaker? They can go a bit overboard, and do more damage than that likely intended. I could have wound up as a bloody mess on the restroom floor, all for the horrible crime of not looking like someone else wanted me to, and because I had to pee.

Let's suppose I was transgender. Someone in transition, at that point where I still looked a bit masculine, but on HRT, facial hair gone, and had significantly reduced muscle mass.

Would that have made the assault okay?

Would that make it all right for some gas station manager, or perhaps a police officer, demand I prove I have the "right" genitals to be in that rest room?

Who gets to decide, people?

I have been yelled at, made fun of, sneered at, followed and mocked, and literally assaulted because I don't present the typical, expected notion of what a female looks like. I have been afraid, I have been angry, and I have felt overwhelming humiliation--not because I am who I am, but because of the way other people have treated me.

I shouldn't have to prove my gender.

No one should.


Shannon akaMonty said...

I'm sorry you had to suffer through that. And you're right, no one should have to prove anything.

gael mueller said...

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT! And, to be honest, I don't understand it. The rest of the world (at least those places I have been) have "unisex" bathrooms everywhere. No big deal. Because I look a bit masculine, I found it a relief.
You said it far better than I could. Thank you!!!!

Shaggy and Scout said...

Very well put indeed. It's usually react first, ask questions later, unfortunately.

Eileen said...

Wow! I'm not sure I could have held back from hitting back, either physically or verbally. That you held back says a lot about your character.

And you are correct, no one should be asked to prove gender.

One Fat Girl And Her Thoughts said...

Wow. =blinks.= Wow.

For most of my life thus far I have been laughed at, pointed at, yelled/screamed at (right in my face, sometimes), talked/whispered about, sniggered about, called names - yesterday's experience was brought to you by two baseball cap wearing teenagers and featured highlights such as; "Hey! MOOOOOO! =guffaw guffaw=" - and generally humiliated due to having committed the gross crime of being fat. That is awful (and hideously wrong and bad) enough: I can't even begin to imagine being pilloried for not looking 'enough' like a girl. I am so sorry you've had (and are still having) to go through it.

On a purely practical note, though, I'd like to point out that I don't understand how this mistake could come about. Forgetting the moral aspect of treating others how you would wish to be treated (or, you know, if you make a - hideous - mistake as the woman in this story did, actually listening to what is being said and abiding by it), I have seen many pictures of you posted on this Blog - short hair, big build and 'mannish' clothes and all - and come on; it is OBVIOUS that you are a woman! Your facial features are feminine. Your hips are feminine (and I haven't seen it, but I assume your bum is, too). Your boobs are feminine (and okay, men can have boobs too, technically, but yours are definitely the feminine looking kind). So; what gives?

Y'know, this will probably cause offense to a lot of people, but if this is the way girls with short hair wearing boy's clothes are generally treated - and given what I have both read and been told, it seems to be, no matter what size or shape said girl happens to be - I think the majority of the USA must not be right in the head. Seriously, say what you like about the UK, but here that kind of thing doesn't seem to happen. You get persecuted mercilessly and ignorantly for a heck of a lot of other things (admittedly), but not that.

...As an aside, if you are ever tempted/forced to move out of the States and settle somewhere else, you should bear that in mind. In England you will only be bullied for your weight, social/financial standing, skin colour, sexual orientation (only if you're a guy, though; apparently lesbians are fine), political views and if you happen to wear glasses. You're safe to make any clothing and hairstyle choices you want (yep; Good Ol' Blighty has a lot going for it, alright)...

Anyway, I'll cease babbling now, and just say again that I am really sorry.

Alice. X

Cheysuli and gemini said...

We are totally unsure what this bathroom thing is going around. Who really cares?

kenju said...

so sorry to read this. It makes me even sorrier to live in a state that wants to restrict our freedoms.

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Some thoughts...

What if she had been right and it were a guy (who was not you of course). Would her reactions have been challenged? If you had just read about it in a newspaper crime report, would you have thought her reaction wrong ("Guy invades women's gas station rest room")?

What if it were a transitioning M2F? Or F2M? Would one have been more acceptable in this situation than the other?

I understand that this is a difficult emerging issue for many people. Society is so gender-oriented that most people have no experience with it.

Just some thoughts...

Thumper said...

It's *never* all right to hit someone. So what if I had been a guy coming out of the stall in the ladies bathroom? Take the time to figure out intent--or turn around and leave--but never assault someone on that one thing.

Look...if someone wants to creep into the opposite genders' restroom intending to molest, they're going to do it no matter what the law says. There is no law that will actually prevent that from happening.

But if someone just needs to pee? So what? They're in a stall.

And it wouldn't matter if I were in transition, was a biological male, full beard, and six feet tall. There's is no excuse for trying to beat my ass with a purse.

Mighty Kitty said...

Damn right! Fear never gives the right to hit or in any way hurt somebody. I think you werevvery well restrained which many others would not have been. It is NOT right what she did to you!

las794 said...

Amen, Thump. I've been yelled at & called names for being "mannish" or a dyke or whatever, and it is not cool. Sometimes you have to play deaf. Sometimes you have to get the hell out quick. And sometimes you don't have a choice because the crap is closing in and there's nothing you can do about it. These stupid bathroom laws are unreal. I find it hard to believe that we, as a society, have stooped to the level of checking wee-wees at the potty-room door.