Tuesday, April 26, 2016
It happened to me again yesterday. While running the trails in Golden Gate Park, I stopped in at the public restroom at the Beach Chalet. Whew! -- no line out the door. On weekend afternoons sometimes these facilities are overwhelmed by restaurant and brew pub customers. But not this time ...
I step inside and a small blonde woman pipes up: "You're in the wrong restroom."
"No, I am not!" Fortunately a stall opened up just then and that's the end of it.
Often I'm a little more communicative when I encounter this gender anxiety. But hey, I was running. I was wearing nondescript, non-gendered running clothes. I look like a tall, old lesbian who doesn't give a damn what the world thinks about her appearance when she is trotting about outside. I look that way, because that's who I am, which I think is quite good enough, thank you very much.
All this to say, these stupid, vicious bathroom bills like the one in North Carolina are not only an attack on transpeople, although they are certainly a direct attack on the humanity of transpeople.
These measures are an attempt to shore up crumbling rules about gender presentation which seek to constrain many of us. But human beings are almost infinitely variable. If we were free to notice, most of us would not exactly fit conventional social definitions or what is a "man" or what is a "woman." Gender is a spectrum -- and some people aren't even on it, experiencing themselves as "non-binary." We can get over enforcing gender rules on other people ... or on ourselves.