I just want to know the laws
by Allison Blaylock
Transgender Advice Columnist
I want to know what are the laws and how do I go about using the restroom when out in public as a transwoman. I am not “passable” but I am living as much as I can of my life right now as a woman. I have seen places like Target and Starbucks say that trans people are welcome, but this is different as we will be in open areas that may cause issues.
In the five states that The Gayly is distributed in (Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma), none of these states have actual laws on the books. Many of these states have put forward laws this past year but none of them were passed. This means that legally you do not have to worry about a law stating that you cannot use a restroom that you identify as.
Many companies have open policies much like my article on where to go shopping at for the trans community; the same stores and companies apply. You can feel comfortable using restrooms that you identify with at stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Macy’s.
You will also find that to be so at restaurants like Starbucks and McDonalds. You will find that if you are out and about that these places will not be ones that you will have issues with on the corporate level.
One of the things that come into play when using restrooms is that you use the restroom that you identify as. The biggest worry is that when you walk into a restroom like you belong in that restroom; there is always the fear and unknown when you enter and use the restrooms.
What tends to be a spark that people see is when you enter restrooms and you are looking around like you are not supposed to be there. This will cause for people to second guess you when using the restroom and will also make for added unrest.
Using the restroom is a natural act and it is not something that you should hold against doing out of fear. Use the restroom, clean up, and leave is always a good way of using the restroom in places that you do not feel comfortable in.
In closing, bathroom bills are going to continue to surface and be a topic that we have to worry about as transgender people. It will be speaking, education, and hard work that will allow people to see us as people, not as something else. When you use the restroom, please do so with your eyes open and do not let others fear you.
Just because a place is a location that you have known to be friendly to the trans community for months or years, it is always a good thing to keep your eyes out and know your surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings and those who are there around you, only help you be comfortable and confident in being your authentic self.
We all have the right to be treated equally but that does not always mean it will happen; be yourself, do not judge others as we do not want to be judged ourselves.
The Gayly – July 17, 2016 @ 10:40 a.m.