azurelunatic: (Queer as a) $3 bill in pink/purple/blue rainbow.  (queer as a three dollar bill)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺 ([personal profile] azurelunatic) wrote2013-11-12 11:52 pm
Entry tags:

Latest stuff in California: bathroom laws.

So there's a law that goes into effect shortly, in California, which will allow kids in California schools to choose which bathroom/locker room is right for them, whether or not the school would have allowed it without the law. This law pleases me.

Because some people are either horrible or have a fundamental misunderstanding of these things, or both, there are efforts to repeal it, which sounds like a complete shitshow and I am seriously ready to write BIGOT on people's faces with a sharpie. One of the big ones.

The other day at work, I saw a flyer about "bathroom privacy". I instantly knew what it was, and started to see red. I stalked up to the bulletin board and examined the flyer. I felt around in my pocket for a sharpie. My first angry impulse was to deface the poster, writing "BIGOT" in the largest letters the marker could muster. My second impulse was that I shouldn't, that I would be behaving inappropriately, that my co-workers surely had deeply felt beliefs, and I would be angry if someone defaced a controversial poster of mine, the way people had defaced and ripped down the GSA posters in college. My third impulse was that my second impulse was BULLSHIT, and this was hurtful and harmful and had to go, and had to go NOW. I untacked it and shoved it straight in the nearest locked shredder bin. Shortly thereafter I started a very angry conversation with HR, who happily took it seriously. I also took a good hearty stomp around campus to vent my spleen and check other possible locations that might have been bigoted upon, and yelled with one of the co-workers off in another building.

HR won't be able to update me with any further information, such as whether they found the culprit or the action that would be taken upon said culprit, due to privacy stuff.

The bigots are framing it as "bathroom privacy", which is all kinds of bullshit. You wanna know how I came to feel that way very personally?

Let's go back to when I was but a wee Lunatic, in the third grade or so. I was a tomboy and often dressed accordingly, sometimes in direct contrast with my abiding love for lace and frills. My shoes were running shoes, sturdy flip flops, mud boots, or snow boots. At various points I also owned recital shoes, but those were saved for special occasions, when I would be sure to not wade into any frog ponds or play soccer while wearing them. As a concession to my love of frills, I did have approximately two pairs of dainty pastel socks with lace, meant to be worn turned down to display the lace. Most of my socks were long white sport socks with colorful bands at the top of the calf. My favorite was the blue. Sometimes I wore them with shorts and a t-shirt. Sometimes I wore them with one of my cute ruffled dresses, particularly the blue one, because they matched so well.

That day, I was wearing my favorite blue striped socks. I went to the bathroom. While I was in there, two girls from a lower grade walked in. They saw my scuffed-up sneakers and stripey socks.

They started to make all sorts of comments about there being a BOY in the girls' bathroom. Now, while my relationship to gender has become immensely more complicated of late, back then it was amazingly uncomplicated. My gender identity was: NOT A BOY. I didn't necessarily feel "like" a girl, because girls (in theory and also in the person of all of my classmates) were a whole lot of things that I was not, but I knew one thing damn sure: I WAS NOT A BOY. So that was insulting.

I can't remember whether I was just taking my time, or whether I decided that I could wait for the little beasts to clear out, but I was in no hurry to leave the nice secure stall.

Then it happened. A head popped over the side of the wall. The little terrors had decided to climb the cubicle wall in order to peek at me and make sure that I was REALLY A GIRL AND NOT A BOY, when I had every expectation of privacy in the bathroom. I was hurt and furious. I can't remember how exactly I reacted. It can't have been well. It can't have been fully socially appropriate. I was too nonviolently trained to up and hit them. I was too well-adjusted and shocked to scream. I may have been too angry to be articulate. I possibly started crying.

The little terrors never got in any trouble that I was aware of. It has been over twenty years. I am still angry with them. I am still angry with the society that thinks that it is appropriate to question a child's expressed gender identity or attempt to beat a child into a coercive and damaging mold that suits only a rare few, even those who identify as that actual gender. I am still angry with the society that thinks a gender-non-conforming kid peeing quietly in the corner stall is some sort of threat to other children in that bathroom. I am furious with the societal expectations that allowed those kids to think that their behavior was in any way appropriate.

That was the only time I had an abusive encounter in a bathroom as a child, and it stuck with me. To my recollection, that's also the only time that gender, specifically, was used to bully me. I am mad on behalf of the kids who had it much worse than I did, fightin' mad.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2013-11-13 05:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I am not on your access list, but would like to be, if you are comfortable having me there.

Thank you for sharing your story. My partner, who is FAAB and genderqueer, was harassed recently in a library women's bathroom by a woman who called in library staff to say, "There's a BOY in this bathroom!" Now my partner is sometimes wary about going to that library.
karlht: (Default)

[personal profile] karlht 2013-11-14 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
Not on your access list yet, but would like to read those entries, if you're comfortable with that.

Also, thank you for your fury and your clarity around this issue. You are not alone.
devon: from LARP attack - see 08jul2005 on my LJ (Default)

[personal profile] devon 2013-11-14 07:31 am (UTC)(link)
I'm not on your access list, either, but I follow all your non-locked posts. I don't post very often, so if you don't feel comfortable adding me, that's okay. I suspect we share a lot of LJ/DW friends.
auguris: (Vulgar) Text: All this bullshit made me strong, motherfucker. (so pucker up and kiss it)

[personal profile] auguris 2013-11-13 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Don't really have anything to say you haven't already said so just. Spittin' mad right along with you, here.
mmegaera: (Default)

[personal profile] mmegaera 2013-11-14 12:50 am (UTC)(link)
I find this amazing and appalling.
devon: from LARP attack - see 08jul2005 on my LJ (Default)

[personal profile] devon 2013-11-14 07:40 am (UTC)(link)
I'm angry but not surprised that someone posted a note. I am really glad that your HR department took it seriously. They can't do anything about it if they don't hear your complaints. I think that was brave of you.

I'm sorry that the girls were so mean to you when you were young. I lived as a man for about 5 years in my 30's (10 years ago), and I always was nervous that someone would say something, but it turns out that men are much more cowardly about calling someone out in the bathroom. I didn't dare try a women's bathroom, except at this one truly horrible nightclub where the men's stalls were beyond disgusting. I think the drag queens used the men's room there, but now I can't actually remember. That place was an exception, despite being mostly straight.

I hope the new bathroom rule goes through and doesn't get challenged very much. Things are hard enough for people who are transgender or differently gendered. In all my support groups, the thing that scared people the most was alway the public bathroom. :<