America, the land of the pee... er, free
Just when we thought we were past this issue from the end of July two years ago, it's seemingly made it's way back. Time.com had released an article on the subject, stating then that "Bathrooms and fights for Civil Rights go hand-in-hand".
I couldn't agree more.
As time has passed, it sort-of felt like this issue was swept under the rug, or possibly that the media had found something else to divert the attention of the masses with for the time being. Just because no one heard about this, didn't mean that it had gone away.
I'm very blessed to say that I've not (yet) been assaulted or harassed for using the "incorrect" restroom. In fact, I received more backlash for using the women's restroom when I identified and presented as a female than I have since identifying and presenting as male and using the men's restroom.
It's pretty simple, I'm not a woman.
I know that I live in a pretty open-minded bubble and surround myself with individuals of the same mindset. I was raised to be accepting of someone if they were different than myself, to embrace the differences. I also know that there are people out there in this world who were taught the exact opposite.
In my 28 years of life, I have experienced the world living as a straight female, as a lesbian, as a straight male, and as a queer male. I took the 'trans' out of this statement, because in my mind, I was transgender the entire time, I just hadn't identified that within myself or addressed it.
it's a medically diagnosed 'Disorder'
Merriam-Webster defines the word transgender as "Of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth;" and medically defines it as "of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or a transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth".
When I first realized that I wasn't Dana and I wasn't my brother's twin sister or my parent's middle daughter, I was scared. I was raised in a broken home filled with religion and rules. I was sheltered. I didn't and the slightest idea what being transgender was, but I knew that I wasn't female.
Finally, at the ripe age of 24, I had learned that an old friend was starting his transition so I scheduled a coffee date with him to talk about it.
Every single word that came out of his mouth was exactly everything I had been waiting my whole life to hear. The more he described his feeling and what transitioning would do for him, I had already felt like I was free. There was a solution to what I was feeling for my entire life.
let the work begin
First thing's first: going to see the Gender Dysphoria Therapist. going to this therapist 3 times was certainly not an easy thing ($125/visit- no insurance) but I did it. From there, it was time for my first shot! Man, what a great day that was. August 28, 2013, This was the first day of the rest of my life.
During all of this, all of the early days of my transition with my voice changing, hairline changing, chest changing, entire body structure changing, I never once was questioned for using the men's restroom.
A restroom is simply a bathroom in a public setting. Sure, we have them separated by "Men" and "Women", but we do that for those who identify with being a woman and those who identify with being a man.
A School is a place for educating
Think back to when you were a teenager. Making new friends, trying out new things, trying to fit into your body and what's changing.
For transgender teens who are in school, this is the most crucial point in their life. It's not that they want attention, they need attention. They need someone to see them and understand them. Who they actually are and not who their school file says they are. This is when they are supposed to start succeeding and planning their lives, not ending it because the world and society that they live in has completely stamped out who they are as null and void.
I am human. I am a person. I am transgender and being myself is not disgusting, I do not have an illness.
These teens and these youth are out there and they are fighting for their right to be a human. To have the same civil right as everyone else which is to use the restroom in public. Transgender people need safe restrooms. 54% of transgender individuals reported adverse health effects in 2013 and I can guarantee you that this number has gotten higher.
Please, just let us pee in peace.
YOU CAN CALL ME DANISH
Writing about my life and experiences as a white, transgender, queer male.