There’s no delicate way to start a piece about bathrooms, but it seems like no one can stop talking about it lately. From Target’s public support of transgender rights, to the scaremongering some have chosen to indulge in, there’s never been in a time in my thirty (or so) years that people have been in such a snit where people go to…relieve themselves.
Just today, KSN TV ran a piece entitled “Transgender man fights to change Wichita restroom ordinance”, in which trans man Thomas Vitkus spoke out in city hall against the Wichita ordinance that states a person must use the restroom that is appropriate according to their birth certificate.
On their facebook page, many of the top comments on the article looked like this:
“Does she think she is a man just because she hates dresses and doing girly things? I dont [sic] like that either but that doesnt [sic] make me any less female.”
No, he thinks he is a man because he is a man. I do not experience body/gender dysphoria as markedly as some, so much so that I get some small enjoyment out of “doing girly things” like wearing makeup (although wearing a dress does make me feel like a lumberjack in a ballgown). But wait! There’s more!
“Gender dystrophia [sic] is a mental illness. Placating these people is not helping them. Even women should be insulted by her statements.”
“These people.” That’s nice. Also, deliberately misgendering someone is not a nice thing to do. Even statements in support of Vitkus accidentally call him “she” or place the male pronoun “he” in quotation marks, as if it isn’t really true. And women should be insulted because the majority of these commenters chose to spit “she” and “her” like they were epithets.
“I’m sure MEN will understand when she walks in on them, being on her period and needs to change her pad!”
I’m sure that they will, because it’s very unlikely that they would ever know that a transgender man was menstruating. Being trans requires a great deal of planning and foresight if one is to pass as the desired gender. It isn’t as though I wear a full-chest binder on hot days, or when I think it might rain and show through my clothes. Because this is our every day existence, we take steps to make sure we’re not embarrassed beyond the things we cannot change about ourselves, like feminine hips or small hands (like me).
I don’t know why I was surprised by the out-pouring of ignorance on this public venue regarding trans issues. I suppose that I like to think of Wichita as a good, accepting place like the First UU Church, but sadly, that’s not always the case.
“Why did it even matter?” asks another commenter. “So basically he just decided to look up an ordinance cause he trans gender and bring it to attention when he was already using a male restroom.”
As I mentioned in my last post, no one is transgender because they want to be. It took me twenty-two years to finally admit that to myself. What Vitkus did was incredibly brave, because I sure wouldn’t want to go on the news and up against city hall, or open myself up for this kind of abuse.
So, good on you, Thomas. You’re an inspiration to me, at least. Thank you for speaking on my behalf. I’ll close my bathroom piece with Vitkus’s very eloquent words:
“We are against the grain, but that doesn’t make us monsters, that doesn’t make us perverts, it just makes us people like everybody else and in this case I just want to use that room right there.”