This year, DIT added 47 gender neutral bathrooms across its different campuses. As a transgender female, I believe that this development hasn’t come a moment too soon. It would be easy to disregard the need for gender neutral bathrooms and of course many people do. I have no doubt that this development has prompted a number of conversations between DIT students expressing their doubts about them. But for a gender nonconforming person, this simple action could be making a world of difference.
I’m in a nightclub doing my thing. Loud music. Dancing. A packed floor. Jumping in time to the music. Staring straight ahead or laughing with my friends. Taking sips from a long straw or a wine glass. Tossing my hair. Swaying my hips. Occasionally catching people’s eyes and smiling. Enjoying myself immensely.
A stranger will approach. Say something into my ear. I have really bad hearing so I’ll just nod as I try to figure out what they’re after. An arm around my waist. Their breath on my face. I lean in and kiss them.
Or at least I feel like a hypocrite.
As I’ve previously mentioned, the fact that I present as quite feminine, but identify as male is a source of confusion for a lot of people. And even though I constantly say that I think it’s important that I be allowed to identify how I want to, regardless of how I look, I don’t always put that principle into action in my life.
The sad thing is, I could probably name a ton of incidents that have happened to me over the years where I felt blatantly disrespected. I don’t generally like to focus on things like this but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting recently and when I do this, I can’t help but encounter incidents where I was blatantly disrespected. So I’m going to share some of them.
My friends and I step off the bus outside my building. When we get to the door, I can’t seem to find my keys anywhere. I can be something of a disaster when it comes to misplacing my keys. I live over a pub, so I’m lucky in that I’m always able to get in when I’m locked out.
I say it all the time. You never really realise how often we encounter the issue of gender until you’ve stepped outside of the “traditional” gender roles. Simple mind-sets and actions can actually make a gender non-conforming person feel extremely uncomfortable or unwelcome. Here are some of those situations.