I didn't know if I was going to write this blog or not. A part of me was scared it'd be shared as some transgender hot piece about yet another homophobic mom lashing out at Disney and then I'd have to deal with the wrath of the internet telling me to kill myself. So let me be clear. This isn’t that story. This is a story about a biological man in the women’s restroom, but we need to discuss some gender issues.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over a decade and have seen my fair share of transgender/gender fluid people. They in no way offend me. I'd consider myself pretty progressive and tolerant of most things...except maybe people who identify as a person wearing socks with sandals. We all have our line in the sand and that's totally mine. But how transgender people feel, how they choose to dress or any surgeries they get, don't infringe on any parts of my life, so I support their decision to live as they see fit. I've also seen my fair share of transgender women in the women's restroom before. Not ALL the time. But over the past few years, I'd say 4-5 that I noticed. Men...who were in some stage of transition and making every attempt to be a woman from mascara to heels. Transgenders who certainly felt comfortable in the women's room and probably frightened to go into the men's. At these times, I smiled…I peed...and life went on. But 2 weeks ago something very different happened.
I was at Disneyland with my son, my friend and her son. We were over in California Adventure in the food court area. We’d just finished eating and decided to pee before we headed out to The Little Mermaid. I went to the bathroom while she watched our boys in their strollers, and then I did the same. (For anyone who’s tried to fit a stroller in a bathroom stall, you get it).
I was off to the side waiting with the two boys, when I noticed a man walk into the restroom. My first thought was “Oh shit, he’s walked in the wrong restroom by mistake. lol” He took a few more steps, at which point he would’ve definitely noticed all the women lined up and still kept walking. My next thought was, “Maybe he’s looking for his wife…or child and they’ve been in here a while.” But he didn’t call out any names or look around. He just stood off to the side and leaned up against the wall. At this point I’m like, “WTF? Ok there is definitely a very large, burly man in a Lakers jersey who just walked in here. Am I the only one seeing this?" I surveyed the room and saw roughly 12 women, children in tow, staring at him with the exact same look on their faces. Everyone was visibly uncomfortable. We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him…like "What is he doing in here?” Yet every single one of us was silent. And this is the reason I wrote this blog.
If this had been 5 years ago, you bet your ass every woman in there would’ve been like, “Ummm what are you doing in here?”, but in 2017? The mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him...said nothing. And why? B/c I and I’m sure all the others were scared of that “what if”. What if I say something and he says he "identifies as a woman" and then I come off as the intolerant asshole at the happiest place on earth? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me out loud, “What is he doing in here?” I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know." She immediately walked out, from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.
So there lingered this unspoken doubt everyone had….that .00001% chance this wasn’t a man. Let me be clear. This was totally a man. If this wasn’t a man, this was a woman who had fully transitioned via surgery and hormones into a man and had also gotten an Adam’s apple implant, chest hair and size 9-10 shoes ....and at that point, wtf are you doing in the women’s restroom? And let me be clear, my problem wasn’t JUST that there was a man in the restroom. Its that he wasn’t even peeing, washing his hands or doing anything else that you’d do in a restroom. He was just standing off to the side looking smug…untouchable... doing absolutely nothing. He had to have noticed that every woman in the long line was staring at him. He didn’t care. He then did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone with their pants around their ankles and vagina clear as day.
And just as a side note….can we stop making bathroom doors with built in peep holes? I don’t particularly want to see people wiping their asses or changing tampons. Why is this even a thing?
So yes... there were women and small children using the restroom and this man was walking around knowing no one would say anything. So here I am…writing this blog, because honestly I need answers. We can’t leave this situation ambiguous any more. The gender debate needs to be addressed... and quickly. There have to be guidelines. It can’t just be a feeling. I’m sorry. I wish it could, but it can’t. I’m fine going by “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it’s a duck." Even if that means he/she put on a beak and glued feathers…I get it, you’re trying to be a duck so you’re cool. But this notion that we’re shamed into silence b/c we might offend someone, has gone too far. There was a man in the bathroom. Not transgender. There was a man who felt entitled to be in the woman restroom, because he knew no one would say anything. There were 20-25 people by the time I left, who were scared and uncomfortable by his ominous presence. And the only thing stopping us, was our fear of political correctness and that the media has told us we don’t know what gender is anymore. I never want to be in the position again. Im not asking for permission to tell transgender people to get out my bathroom. I need to know it’s ok to tell a man, who looks like a man, to get the f*&% out. Gender just can't be a feeling. There has to be science to it. DNA, genitals, amount of Sephora make up on your face, pick your poison, but as a very progressive woman...I'm sorry it can't just be a feeling when theres but a mere suggestion of a door with a peep hole separating your eyes from my vagina or my children's genitals.
SINCE THE SAME QUESTIONS KEEP GETTING ASKED OF ME I THOUGHT I'D CLARIFY WITH AN UPDATE:
*Why didn't you just leave? A big reason I didn't leave the restroom was because maneuvering two separate strollers anywhere isn't exactly an easy feat. In fact, it's nearly impossible. If you've ever tried, when you push them, they move in opposite directions. It's a shitshow. Had I felt like my life was in imminent danger, obviously I would not have just stood there, I would've figured something out. We all would've.
*"It's your own fault for not saying anything. I would have spoken up." Sure. Don't we all wish we could always do and say the perfect thing? lol Well unfortunately in the real world, it doesn't always work out that way. And like many of you, I thought of the perfect thing to say around 11pm that night when I was running it over and over again in my mind trying to fall asleep. Funny how it always works that way, eh? I've thought long and hard about everything that happened since then and found that I would probably reacted the same way if I had to do it over. I wasn't in the position to say something, standing there manning two toddlers. I couldn't risk putting them in the middle of that situation should he have reacted poorly. But I didn't write this blog only because of how I reacted. I take full responsibility for MY actions whether you think I was right or wrong. I wrote this blog not just because of my reaction, but because of how every. single. woman. reacted. As some have suggested, I had no way of knowing what was in their minds or why no one said anything. And you're right, but they didn't. Not one. For one reason or another none of us spoke up, women of all walks of life and some without children. Not one spoke. I froze. We all froze. If you don't think that's important, then I'm not sure what to tell you.
*"He was clearly a perv, you're stupid for not kicking him out" He wasn't being overtly "pervy" or aggressive towards anyone. It wasn't apparent what he was doing anything at all besides standing there. He wasn't drunk and stumbling around acting aggressive or taunting anyone. That would've been clear. Yes he did a lap around, but he wasn't lingering over a particular stall with his hands in his pants. It felt like he was looking for someone, so my gut kept saying he was waiting for someone. Still not ok, but also not a life or death situation. He was just there. I should also note that although my story is long, this all transpired in about a minute...minute and a half.
*"This isn't a trans issue, so why did you bring them up at all?" I believe trans women issues ARE women's issues. Situations like this are the very reason trans women have fought for bathroom rights to begin with. To pee, not in the presence of men. If we continue down this path, I do worry that the backlash could strip them of their rights. Perhaps I went overboard on explaining how my problem wasn't with the new trans bathroom rules...calling attention to it as if it was. But lets be honest...I'd of been damned if I did and damned if I didn't. If I hadn't mentioned them, people would've accused me of being transphobic and disingenuous with my intent.
*Why did you even write this? What are you asking for besides clicks to your dumb mom blog?" Gender must be clearly defined to keep women safe. We can not tell women they don't know what a man is anymore. We can not coddle this small fraction of people (people who are men, "identify as women", but have made no external attempt to show that) at the risk of women and children everywhere. The wrong men will take advantage of this loophole and put others in danger. My situation wasn't dire, but for others it could be. We can not put doubt in women's minds regarding their ability to recognize and identify a man. In a world where 99.9% of sexual assault is done by men, we must to have the right to "assume someone's gender". And I will not waiver in that stance.