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.