Ivan E. Coyote writes about difficulties experienced by the transgendered in an intolerant world. The provocatively titled essay, "Fear and Loathing in Public Bathrooms, or How I Learned to Hold My Pee," from her book Gender Failure, reminds us that things we take for granted in society are freighted with shame and fraught with danger for some.
Read the essay on Slate.com | Learn more about Ivan E. Coyote.
I don’t see cisgendered women who want to feel safe in a public washroom as my adversaries, though; what I see is the potential for many built-in comrades in the fight for gender-neutral, single-stall locking washrooms in all public places. Because the space they seek and the safety I dream of can be accomplished with the very same hammer and nails. Because what I do know for sure is that every single trans person I have ever spoken to, every single tomboy or woman who wears coveralls for her job or woman with short hair or recovering from chemo, or effeminate boy, or man who likes wearing dresses, or man with long hair that I have ever met is hassled or confronted or challenged nearly every other time they use a public washroom, anywhere. Always. Often. Every day. All the time. Incessantly. Repeatedly. Without mercy or respite. Every thing from staring to pointing to screaming to physical violence.