Presently there is a lot of talk in the news about bathrooms and the so-called threat that transgender people may pose to the general public…. Such paranoia!
People are often afraid of things that they don't understand and these fears seem to defy all logic. Still, it is a point of concern for both cisgender and transgender people. While "bathroom bills" are being debated on a national level, The danger to trans people in most areas is probably less than we think. But with the increased awareness of trans people and these laws the possibility of being challenged in or near a restroom is definitely greater now than before.
With these things in mind, at the May meeting of our Lehigh Valley transgender support group, we discussed some smart strategies and activities that can assist trans women and men can implement if they are challenged in a bathroom regarding their gender identity vs. their biology at birth. Here are a few of our conclusions.
What To Do If You Are Confronted About Being Transgender When Using The Bathroom
If You Are Challenged While Entering The Restroom:
If you are challenged by someone who does not appear to have any authority (customer or bystander): Ask them if they are an employee of that establishment. If they say yes, ask them for ID. If they don't have it, politely tell that person that you do not have to answer to them and ask to speak to a manager.
If you are challenged by a security guard or a police officer: Do what they tell you to do. If they tell you that you must use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on your driver's license, tell them that you will need an escort to insure your own personal safety.
If You Are Challenged While Using The Bathroom:
Finish your business and leave as quickly as is reasonable.
Don't argue. Keep your cool. Always treat the other person with respect, no matter how obnoxious they may be .
Eight Things To Consider If You Are Transgender And Using A Public Restroom
Go with confidence. Don't act embarrassed or nervous.
Use single use/family bathrooms if they are available.
If possible go to the bathroom in pairs as many genetic women do.
Don't linger in the restroom.
Sit when peeing - This might seem like a no-brainer but it is a dead give-away.
If you are not treated respectfully by an employee, get the person's name and speak to a manager.
If you are treated poorly by a person who is not an employee of the establishment, call security.
Places like malls, restaurants, etc. are not public areas. They are private property and you must comply with their policies.
Bonus Tip: Use situational awareness. Every location and establishment is different and nothing is more important than your personal safety so remember to be alert and observant while not calling undue attention to yourself when you use the facilities. The key is to…
ALWAYS USE YOUR BEST JUDGEMENT!
We hope you have found these tips to be helpful. If you would like to contribute to our transgender blog or learn more about our support group for transgender people in the Lehigh Valley and eastern Pennsylvania, please contact Lehigh Valley Renaissance!