Target. Various religious organizations. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The (entire?) state of North Carolina. Differing opinions on the subject of transgender restroom access is in the news. It’s hard to believe that this is such a big deal. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see this storm coming.
I bet a lot of transgender people knew it was possible, though.
The proponents for restrooms separation by genitalia (and who would’ve ever predicted that those words could be strung together in a sentence) would like us to think that somehow transgender people are doing strange things in public restrooms. This, of course, begs the question “Whatthefuckareyoutalkingabout?” or something along those lines.
If it makes the genitalia-not-gender camp feel any better, the fear is even more prevalent on the other side. From what I understand, many transgender people have a large amount of anxiety and fear about public restrooms, especially during or soon after transitioning.
The difference is that their fears are justified.
Entering a public restroom for the first time following transition is just one of the subjects in a book I recently read called Taking the Scenic Route to Manhood by Jeremy L. Wallace.
In fact, there’s a whole chapter on bathrooms and concerns surrounding public restrooms.
Imagine walking into a public restroom for the first time and wondering if you’ve transitioned “enough” as your correct gender. Hoping you’re alone in there so you won’t have to worry about being outed, harassed, attacked or who knows what. This is the kind of heartfelt honesty Jeremy details in his book.
I was going to paraphrase the author here, but I think he said it perfectly. This is a more recent quote, post-publishing of the book:
“There has never been an instance of a trans person harming anyone in a public restroom in the US…ever. And that can be backed up by HRC, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), and many other organizations. However, the opposite can’t be said. Instances of trans men and women being harmed in bathrooms happens frequently. It’s just sad that this is what people are focused on, especially when there are actual problems in the world.”
To say that most people are unaware of transgender struggles is stating the obvious. This book offers an opportunity for a perspective that most of us would not otherwise be privy to.
Written in an easy to relate format that tugs at the humanity in all of us, the reader is enlightened, unaware that they are growing and learning in the process. This book should be included as required reading in every diversity studies course, in every university across the country.
Jeremy’s book details the pain and confusion of being housed in the wrong body as he shares this journey to come to terms with the changes he needed to make to be his authentic self. I have enough trouble living my truth without adding being born into the wrong gender – much less restroom fears – into the mix.
That’s the other reason this is a great read. Jeremy’s story is a narrative testament that reminds the reader that it’s never too late to live life to the fullest, no matter what challenges we face or what changes we must undertake.
From childhood to adulthood, from female to male, from adversities to triumphs, Taking the Scenic Route to Manhood reaffirms that life is meant to be lived in the fullest way possible.
You can check out the website and book here: www.jeremylwallace.com
P.S. Jeremy recently did a TEDx talk about his journey and is on the speaker circuit. If you get a chance to see him, do so. He’s also fabulous live and in-person.