Tag Archives: Passing

A question left to the bygone days of pop culture news coverage.

Life can be quite funny. Especially when you realize everything runs in trends. What will be relevant one moment and mean the world to some will fall silent as if time itself says you had enough. I have seen this happen many times to many different subjects over the decades. However, now we are left with a passed topic that was not only popular, but affects a small portion of the world, myself included.

If you haven’t figured it out yet I am talking about the great bathroom debate of 2016. What was once daily being spoken of from both sides and found its way in to many governing offices has now gone silent. Understandably so. With the riotous and extremely scary circus that has become our presidential debate how could the eyes of the populous not move to them.

Yet this time it has left a nagging issue for those of us who had our fates being determined by our precious political system. The basic right to use the restroom peacefully is still a question. Will we be arrested if we use the restroom? Will we face recourse from the public for simply answering natures call?

No answers. Just like before. Only this time legal actions have been taken in some places. So thanks to the popularity train no answers were widely reached. The country with the motto liberty and justice for all forgot to tell us that it only happens if the populous cares long enough to make a decision.

This is honestly both a good thing and a bad thing. At least from where I sit. On the positive side there are many states that didn’t bother with the popular debate. They sat quietly allowing people to deal with the issue as it arises. Essentially it is down to the people involved. That is if it even becomes an issue. In this thought alone I feel the loss of the countries eye has been a good thing, but to believe it would be this simple would lead to complete naivete on my own part.

For lack of better term they threw down the gauntlet then walked away. I can’t speak for other but this worries me. Probably more so than if they had actually won in the courts. They bullied Target in to taking back its own ruling. All because of the fear of rape from straight perverts. The opponents of our rights used straight rapists and our children to scare a world in to thinking basically we are dangerous.

What is more perplexing is what the country is also talking about right now. Elitists kids raping women and getting slaps on the wrists for it. I laughed at myself as I watched these events unfolding. All I could think was no wonder people fear the trans community. Rapists get nothing and the poor women who are assaulted are left to pick up the pieces. What kind of justice is that? It actually makes me understand the fear the country has created around people like myself.

After all any man can put on a dress and some make up, claim to be one of us and enter a restroom. Hell the idea of a man in the women’s restroom scares me as well. I understand the idea of safe space really well. There have been times I have found solace in a public restroom from not so lucky encounters.

Then comes the harder thoughts. I have been assaulted. I have had my clothes unwillingly ripped off my body. I have been raped. I went in to a lost state after I realized I could tell no one and trying to cope with my own physical and mental issues lead me to a very depressed state. I tried calling a rape crisis line. I was met with a CIS gender only policy. Family hadn’t been the most accepting of who I am so they were of no help.

So here in lies the problem as far as I can see it. My worth means nothing to this country because I am trans. I get no rights. Or maybe I should say I am not awarded the niceties of our culture because others have lumped trans people like me in with the worst of our species. I would say I get no justice but if CIS women can’t get the help they deserve then I know I am on my own. Even in my stealth a doctor will eventually discover what is underneath. Considering what I have dealt with in regards to this issue over the years staying silent is the only thing I could do. My physical pain healed years ago. I like to think I do pretty good mentally.

My apologies. I am a bit off topic. While it is relevant to my particular case, it doesn’t move the issue along. It is a battle cry I have said many times before. More so over the last year watching rape case after rape case where the attackers are set free. If you violate another human being then you don’t deserve these things. We need more harsh punishments for people (of all genders) who do such heinous acts to anyone. No one should have to go through that. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

So yeah. Bathrooms. My right to pee scares me because I don’t know what my rights are. As a born citizen of this country that scares the crap out of me. I essentially have no real secure rights or protections. Can’t go in women’s restrooms because if I am discovered they can fear I will rape them. Cant go in men’s restrooms because I fear rape myself. Never mind the fact I do not look like a man. Thanks to the attention span of the press and the modern culture trans lives across the country are now left in a heated climate to sort out for themselves what is safe and what isn’t. Kind of like before. But now there is severe animosity.

What I think is actually worse than the bathroom debate not being finished is the cold hard truth the recent news has shown us. Rapists will rape. Whether the world thinks they have access to bathrooms or not. If they want to they will. We are certainly seeing that. So what was really gained by all the fear-mongering over the bathroom debate?

I wish I could leave this post on a happier note. I wish I could say the lack of news or public eye makes it easier, it doesn’t. Keep our brothers and sisters in your thoughts when going in to a restroom. Remember the ease of which you can go freely. No recourse. No hassle. It is a natural right and freedom I don’t share.One that many like me will keep others from living their lives the way everyone else gets to.

Traveling when Trans

With this mornings upsetting news about North Carolina. I want to share my thoughts on the subject of traveling while being transgender. I have traveled quite a bit as I have both transitioned and lived my life as the woman I always was. I don’t think this is a topic many people think about when stuff like Indiana and North Carolina happen. Before i start I want to include Georgia in the list of states that are making headlines for creating such oppressive laws.

I have traveled to many states over the last ten years. It is something that can be exhilarating and quite scary at the same time. Traveling while trans however makes what can already be a unsure situation absolutely scary.

I would like to start with a trip I took about seven years ago to Arizona. I was travelling with a friend to meet up with a friend of hers who had moved there a few years prior. The traveling wasn’t much of an issue. We did our usual routine of listening to music and talking about who knows what. The last thing on my mind at the time was what people might have thought about me. That is how it should be.

To say the least Arizona was a nightmare publicly. I have yet to be in another state that made me feel as awkward as that one. People there have no problem giving stares at anyone they don’t feel is right. After we met up with her friend we decided to go out for the night and enjoy ourselves. We stopped and grabbed some food first. They were busy catching up so it allowed me to eat and just kind of hang out. I would join the conversation if I had something to say but otherwise I left them to it.

After dinner we went from bar to bar trying to find anything going on. This is where things fell apart completely for me. When a bar is involved the standard needing proof of identification comes in to play. The dread was felt every place we went as I saw the unpleasant faces of those who would look at me and read my I.D.. The last bar was the worst. The bouncers were police officers. One would think this would be a good thing. I am sure they do a good job of making sure nothing happens at the clubs. The look on the cop at the doors face when he saw me said it all. I was not welcome there. They made sure I knew it as well.

As my friend and her friend went in in front of me I waited for the cop to check out my I.D.. With a scowl now on his face he silently handed me my card and waved me in. Had that been the end of it I could have dealt with the insecurity of it. A quick glance behind me revealed he had waved a second cop over and was talking about me. Both of them had their eyes glued to me as they spoke. They didn’t hide it in the least.

Quickly I caught up with my friend hoping I would be left alone with people around me. They asked if I wanted a drink. I graciously refused knowing that would inevitably lead to needing to use the restroom. If those cops were still watching me there was no way they would let me go to the bathroom peacefully.

A moment of curiosity washed over me as I was trying to be sure things were as they seemed. I excused myself from the table and tried to find a place to stand where I could see the live band playing from. Everywhere i went i could see the blue shadow of a uniformed officer. His uniform was almost black against the dimly lit club. The stage lights made him stand out. Realizing there was a upstairs with a balcony to see the stage from I went up the steps.

To do so I had to pass the main door again. the cop at the door watched as I passed. I could see him nod to my follower as he rounded the steps to proceed upstairs as well. My heart was pounding at this point. My friend hadn’t noticed a thing the whole time. I don’t think she even saw me go upstairs. If something happened then to her I would have just disappeared.

The upstairs balcony was pretty empty. I remember I started to panic at the lack of patrons up stairs. If the cop wanted he could have easily made my night a nightmare then and there. I walked up to the balcony overlooking the stage. In the weird design of the club I laughed realizing the band was so far back their heads were cut off by the front of the ceiling.

Even though I couldn’t see them properly I stood there a few moments. I could feel the cops eyes on me the whole time. After a few minutes I looked around the upstairs area. There were three people sitting at a table on the far side. Beyond them it was just the cop and I.

Terror was getting the better of me. Worse yet it was making me have to go to the bathroom. All that pressure on my bladder was having a very negative effect. Deciding I couldn’t take it anymore I came up with a plan to leave upstairs. It was probably more than I needed to do but I wanted the cop to realize I was aware he was following me.

I turned around and walked straight to him. The moment I faced him he tried to focus else ware but I knew better. I walked up to him and smiled as much as my terrified body could. I asked him if there was a proper place from where I could see the show. His look said it all once again. The fact I was even talking to him disgusted him. Without saying a word he shook his head no.

I smiled even wider and said thanks. I excused myself back down stairs as fast as I could without looking like I was trying to run. I made it back to my friend who was still chatting with her friend. He was waiting for something to catch me on. if i was lucky that was all he was doing. Even then I could imagine far worse things than a false arrest. I saw him come downstairs a few minutes after I did.

Needless to say I didn’t use the restroom till we got back to her friends house. By then the pain was unbearable. Every stabbing pain in my stomach reminded me of the fear that the night had given me. We couldn’t leave to go home fast enough. I never said a word though. I wasn’t about to ruin her trip because of this. I did tell her after we got back but that was it.

I share this memory as a look inside what it is like to travel as a trans person. To say the least I get nervous when the idea of traveling becomes an option. Thoughts of what the people are like, are they super judgmental? I do love to travel, but with the climate the way it is for LGBT people I cant see myself doing so that much. I am proud of the large companies who take stances against these barbaric laws. They have so far been the biggest road block for such bills.

All these fears happen every time I travel. I wish I had something more witty to end with but this cold hard truth is all I have. I may be brave and travel, but the truth is I am aware each state comes with its own set of rules and regulations for people like me. I can tell you this for sure. I have a list of states I will never set foot in again. At the top? Arizona.

Bathroom Use

I was going to wait till after the Easter break to bring up this particular issue, but it seems another state has used the same tired fear speeches to successfully create issues for their transgender people to not be allowed our basic human right.

North Carolina passed a bill in an emergency session that made it’s way to the governor just as quickly to be signed. He did so. The bill was the standard trans people must use the restroom of their gender marked on their birth certificate. In some tweets posted yesterday Governor Pat McCrory stated

“I signed bipartisan legislation to stop the breech of basic privacy and etiquette,ensure privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.”

It was followed immediately by another tweet.

“Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”

There are many scary things about this whole situation. The fact that the session was called quickly and under the radar of most of its people. The speed in which it made its way to the Governor to sign. Even what he kept calling the bill. He referred to it in both tweets as the bipartisan bill. Doesn’t that just scream we didn’t want you know know what we were doing? It is so vague.

House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act is what it is really called. It was designed to stop local governments from deciding if it is okay for transgender people to use the bathroom/ locker rooms of their true genders. In the end the state government took the rights of not only its people but the localized government and said this is how it will be.

I have seen more of these bills come and go over the last few years. They are on the rise and it doesn’t look like they will be slowing down any time soon. The same tired fears are used to scare people in to thinking they are in danger. After all you should never waste a good fear. The fear in question is that it will give sex offenders the ability to go in what is protected space to get after their targets.

I have said this every time one of these happens. This has nothing to do with transgender people. This is a straight issue involving very messed up people. Yet their only answer is to lump transgender people (this goes for both trans men and women) in to the category of sex offenders.

If you were to ask and trans person they would agree that such acts of violation are horrendous and have no place in a civilized culture. We are as susceptible to such crimes as any other person. As some one who has suffered from sexual assault and abuse I often scream the loudest when these events are reported. But to disgrace an entire community in the name of “protecting”other people is insane. We should be protecting everyone. So this bills logic is flawed. By the way. Where was my protection?

You want to fix the assault problem. That is fantastic. I stand behind trying to find ways to stop assaults whole heartedly. We need more harsh punishments for the committers. Punishing a group that has nothing to do with the problem is honestly just as vile as the offences they are trying to protect against. There are plenty of trans men and women out there who pass. We walk among the regular world all the time. You want some one who passes to be in the wrong rest room and feel the same fear that you are scared others will feel?

As I said earlier this bill is nothing new. The fact they pushed it through so fast and so head strong is. We have seen anti LGBT bills over the last few years cause major repercussions for their states. Indiana stands as a shining example that the modern world is tired of religious influence on bills. Religion does not dictate out country. We live in a country of religious freedom. Land of the free and the home of the brave. That is a wonderful thing and should be respected. But when we all have to go out in public and be civil. Neither side should be able to dictate to the other how to “properly” live.

I could go on and on with this subject. What it boils down to for me is two things. One. Strict punishments and repercussions for those who commit such deplorable acts. I personally am for the most severe punishments possible for those who violate the rights of other.

Two, own up to what you are really pushing. Bills designed to segregate and discriminate against groups of people you clearly know nothing about. I think I would be less angry if these people would just say I am anti LGBT and this is my concern. If some one wishes to dislike another then that is their prerogative. It should be known so others can judge you for who you are just as you secretly judge those you lie to.

First Time You Passed

Ok. An interesting question that not only reminded me of happy moments. We all have them. The first moments it happened were probably come of the happiest I ever got to experience. I attribute these three as the first and most defining moments for me.

This paragraph is for those who aren’t trans. A little explanation as to why this is such a huge thing. learning to dress yourself and understand make up can be grueling and scary. My sisters had make up and I knew other girls who did as well but I had no experience. Over the years I have learned to look at starting to come out and living full time as yourself as a form of second puberty. Everything is awkward and embarrassing again. After a while we start to understand it and grow with it just as any teenage girl would. We just have to deal with it later. (most of us. so many young trans kids nowadays but that is another topic.)

The first experience was such a simple moment. It wasn’t anything grand but most straight guys out there will understand its significance. When I was attending the local college I had to walk for 40 minutes to get to the closest bus stop. For some reason the walk never got any easier. My generic mp3 player kept me singing and walking happily as I made my way to the bus stop.

The bus stop was located right next to a 7/11. I would go in and get a bottled water to help my body relax from the long walk. On this day I was walking towards the door when a man in front of me saw me coming and stopped while holding the door open. I smiled happy and said thank you as I passed. He nodded and continued on with his shopping. While I am not a huge fan of the gender stereotypical roles I did find this moment quite endearing. A kind gesture was the beginning of my ability to try and relax in a world that scares me.

A second came as a little more embarrassing moment. Embarrassing but still welcome. I was going to the bank to deposit my check. This was right when they had just added in the debit card machines you swipe your card in to access your account as opposed to the old method of writing everything down on paper.

I swiped my card and thought nothing of it. After a moment the teller informed me I had swiped the wrong debit card. I looked at her a moment confused till she replied you swiped your husbands card. I couldn’t help but laugh a little at the misunderstanding. Even if I could feel my cheeks turning red with embarrassment. There was no way I was going to answer her vocally. Instead Held up my hand and rummaged through my purse for a pen.

Taking the pen out I also pulled the envelop I was still carrying that my check came in. On the envelope i simply wrote. This is my card. I am transgender. Her eyes widened as i smiled at the clear surprise in her face. Though it wasn’t a bad surprise. She smiled and went back to processing my check. Once done I gave my customary thank you. She smiled back and said have a great day.

The third was probably not only the funniest but also the most endearing. Right next to the bus stop was also a subway restaurant. I typically try to avoid spending extra money if I can, but this day I had not eaten and had three classes ahead of me. If I had to eat fast food I could imagine far worse than subway. A boy in his late teens stood behind the counter. I smiled and ordered one of the subs I like. When it came to checking out I gave him my debit card. As usual with most debit/credit cards he asked to see my i.d. card. Hesitant I pulled it out realizing this was one of those moments that could have been really rough. Much like with the bank attendant the boy looked at the card and then to me with a bit of a shock on his face.

What followed surely made me blush but not with embarrassment like before. The boy smiled at me and handed me back my card. You look much better now. Is what he said as he returned my card. Now that I think of it I think this was my first ever flattered moment. I could feel my smile go ear to ear as I said thank you. He nodded. I am sure he said more but I honestly cannot remember what it was. lol. I was so blown away by his comment I said thank you and left the store feeling like I had just been declared a beauty queen.

Silly to feel that way I am sure but when you doubt and are scared of the world around you this is the kind of information you need. Not so much the flattery and the reassurance but the acknowledgement that it is no big deal. These moments have helped define me and warm me to the world that I have grown ever so fond of since I decided to live full time.

If anyone would like to share their experience in the comments I would love to hear them. 🙂 After all it is better to share the happy moments. The bad have their place as well but we need to remember to smile and be happy.