I’m a Trans woman and I don’t want gender neutral toilets

They aren’t the solution

I’m here, I’m trans, get used to it.

So it doesn’t rhyme as well as the gay version but it’s my motto in pretty much everything. It’s no less effective in this gender neutral toilet fracas. It exploded with the growth of awareness on transgender issues and universities up and down the country began wrestling with LGBT societies. “It’s only right that people have a safe place to tinkle” were the arguments.

Is this the right door?!

Is this the right door?

But is it? Yes of course it is. I won’t argue trans people should be subjected to verbal or physical abuse because they can’t cross their legs any longer. But gender neutral toilets are not the way to go.

I get why you’re begging the faculty to have somewhere we can feel safe and in a way, it is really very sweet of you. You think it’s awful trans people should have to put up with the stares and the whispers, let alone the pointing, laughing or aggression right? That is admirable! We do face hostility in a lot of areas and public loos? Yes, they can be tiny clusters of hell.

I refuse to accept the best way to deal with bigots is by expelling us from our toilets. Like it or not, I identify as a woman and it doesn’t take a genius to work out which toilets are the normal option for me: I go for the stick figure in a dress every time.

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, as you can probably imagine, I used to have to put up with the awful smells and vile sounds which accompany a trip to the everyday men’s bogs. Then I transitioned. I donned my dresses, painted my nails and scurried into uni as Rebecca, for the first time, in September 2014. When that terrifying moment came, when I could no longer hold it until I got home, I darted into the women’s loos with my eyes firmly fixed to the floor.

The terrified of being noticed Rebecca

The ‘terrified of being noticed’ Rebecca

I was shaking. I’d been wishing all summer the pro-neutral camp in Northumbria would be successful, so that when the time came I could feel relaxed about using the toilet. It was a moment of great anxiety for me. It is a troublesome feature of many trans-people’s lives while they’re at work or studying, at the cinema or drinking in a bar. I’m with you, hard-core gender neutral warriors. That’s awful and we should do all we can to stamp out prejudice and hostility towards us trans folk.

But gender neutral toilets aren’t the solution. I want to feel comfortable and I definitely don’t want to be singled out when I wander into the women’s loos. Sometimes I get looks and I often get whispers but really, do I care anymore? I have as much right to be in those toilets as anyone who identifies as female. I won’t let the haters push me out so I’m damn sure the LGBT pro-neutral movement isn’t going to do it.

Within a couple of months of my initial transition I grew into myself. I became comfortable with who I am. Now I’m not up for being belittled or questioned over my identity. My insistence at being able to use neutral toilets when I first transitioned was my anxiety, my desperate need for acceptance as a woman, crying out for a security blanket.

I didn’t need them. It’s likely using gender neutral toilets would have pushed back my own acceptance of my identity. Would they have been a stepping stone? Would I have never wanted to use the women’s toilets?

Right where I should be; Roisin knows me better than I know myself!

Right where I should be: Roisin knows me better than I know myself

My anxiety was about being uncomfortable with who I am, with not wanting to be “outed” as trans. I was desperate to not have women point me out as someone who shouldn’t be there. I sure as hell trembled at the thought of being assaulted or abused for using the girls’. I soon came to realise though, that isn’t my problem.

Anger in Bristol University at trans women using the ladies'

Anger oat Bristol at trans women using the ladies’

I’m a trans woman and as long as there are gendered toilets I belong in the female loos.

Fight the prejudice and combat the hatred. Do it with normalisation, acceptance and exposure. Trans people are entitled to use the toilets matching their gender identity. Those with the problem should be ejected from the loo. Let’s have a gender bigot toilet instead. They can be the special case.

I accept gendered toilets in general cause problems. You might be A-Gender or gender fluid and that’s great. It is also a completely separate issue. Perhaps we should move forward with getting rid of gendered loos altogether. But you can’t fight discrimination against trans people by removing them from toilets.

Finally the 'now I'm shouting about being trans' me!

Finally the ‘now I’m shouting about being trans’ me

So then, my motto really does ring true. I’m not going anywhere. I’m a trans woman and I am more than happy to piss wherever there’s a girl on the door.

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