When you gotta go, you gotta go.
Except when you can’t. Whenever I am in a new public place, I scour the facility for restrooms, keeping my fingers crossed for a family restroom or a single occupancy bathroom. No I don’t have an overactive bladder. I get stared at. I get laughed at. I get whispered at. I get told I’m in the wrong restroom. Almost every day.
“Excuse me sir, you are in the wrong bathroom.”
Public restrooms are a huge source of anxiety for me. The reality is sometimes I’m terrified to go to the bathroom alone. So I make my wife come with me. I make her talk to me so that my voice can be an indication to others that I am a woman. I am careful to remove my hat so people can see my face. I remove my jacket or sweatshirt so others can see my breasts.
Recently my fears and anxiety intensified.
On my way to work the other day an ad came on. My heart sunk, my hands got clammy, and I got a pit in my stomach. The 1-minute ad argued that a Houston ordinance would allow men to use women’s bathrooms. The spot ended with a call to action urging moms, sisters, and daughters to take a stand.
I’m a mom. I’m a daughter. I’m a wife. And I’m a masculine woman. It has taken me years to become comfortable in my own body. But my body seems to make others uncomfortable. My body has become a political battleground.
I’m not going to hash out the arguments or sides of the issue here. Many have written about it already. This isn’t a political issue for me. This is a matter of survival. The reality is, I just have to pee. And I’m scared.