Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Toilet trouble

As an appendix to the last post, I thought I would add an incident that happened whilst out with the Walkeys last summer. I went to powder my nose – as the saying is – in the Chinese restaurant and when I came out of the little powder room a man was at the basin washing his hands. I didn’t think anything of it at first till he came out with “You’re the ugliest bloody woman I’ve ever seen”. “Thank you,” I said in reply to his silver-tongued charm. “Sure you’re a woman? Sure you should be in here?” I looked around and just to confirm to myself that I was in the ladies. His abuse continued so I dried my hands as best I could despite his shoving me and left. Of course, he followed me down the stairs shouting abuse. “Givsa kiss, ya bitch,” he sneered before finally clearing off into the night.

So not only was he not eating in the restaurant, he had evidently just popped in off the street to use the toilets, had selected the ladies not the gents, and decided to make an issue of that.

Not a scenario I’ve heard any other TGirl experience. This man was evidently innately antisocial and abusive (rather than specifically transphobic) and I imagine he would have been happy to abuse anyone given half a chance. I have needed to use ladies’ toilets all over the place – in shops, trains, pubs, restaurants, museums – and have never had a speck of trouble or bad comment at all. I think this was unique and although I was upset at the misfortune of happening to meet this beast at the wrong moment, it hasn’t put me off.

There is one thing guaranteed to get TGirls enraged and that is discussions of the law on the use of toilets. Nobody seems to know the exact answer on whether a venue may bar you from using the ladies (or the gents) at their discretion. The law is likely a grey area but the most intelligent interpretation I have seen from a TGirl with legal background is that matter is essentially one of convention, that there is actually nothing to debar anyone using any loo they choose, but that toilets in private establishments such as clubs may be selective on access, as they are on entry into the venue in the first place. The law on causing a nuisance is clearer, so how you use is more clear-cut than where. Nevertheless, Mr Abusive in my scenario was out of order despite now please washing his hands. Occasionally I have heard of TGirls being abused for just going for a pee, but I can say this is rare. In understand that in many other countries the public loos have no gender distinction and are free for all. Britain still has a rather antiquated view that ladies and gentlemen should be separated and our toilets still carry the quaint labels accordingly, but in some venues this is now relaxing, probably for the better.

Sue x

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