January 26, 2006

And sometimes it just hits you.

I was having a cup of coffee today with a friend; we were bringing each other up to date on the state of trans activism on campus, and also catching up on each others' lives. (We hadn't really seen each other since before winter break.) At one point, I excused myself to dash to the ladies' room, then came back to continue chatting as before.

Finally, it was time for us to head our separate ways - me to my office, she to class. She asked me if I was going to the Big Humanities Building, which is across campus from the coffee shop and pretty far from where her class was. I said no, but my office was right next door, so I'd be heading in roughly that direction; why?

She replied, "Oh, because I have to go to the bathroom before class, and that's where the bathroom is."

I paused a second, confused; there was a bathroom in the campus coffee shop. I'd just used it.

Then I realized - she meant "the safe bathroom."

The ladies' room I had just used may or may not have been a good place to test the waters of trans-friendliness - not with so little time to spare before class. Better to avoid the question altogether by cutting across campus to the nearest gender-neutral bathroom, then cutting back across, and get to class a minute or two late but entirely intact. The ladies' room is only there, according to some people, for ladies like me: for wimmyn-born-wombyn. Of course. How could I have forgotten?

I nodded, all matter-of-fact clued-in nonchalance, and my friend and I walked together toward the bathroom in Big Humanities Building, so we could keep chatting as long as possible...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You two were in the coffee shop in the library, right? Just so that you know for future reference, there is a gender neutral bathroom in the library. It's on the A Level. (This is not to contradict the main point of your post, of course, which I absolutely agree with- navigating gendered bathrooms on campus is generally atrocious. But I thought you and your friend might find the A-Level info helpful.)
- The Estimat

Word of the day: owrqzn The pained sound made by someone who's been holding it for hours, rather than deal with a gendered bathroom. :(

maudite entendante said...

Hey sweetie!

I know about that bathroom; I assume she does, too, although I'll mention it next time the situation arises. However, A Level is under construction right now, and last time I checked the only way to access the bathroom was by going through construction-ness and/or the back offices of Special Collections. Yarr.

I mentioned at a discussion group meeting Tuesday night that our university had a generally pathetic number of gender-neutral bathrooms; one of the attendees said, "there are gender-neutral bathrooms??" Neither numerous *nor* well publicized, it seems.

nxybfaqk: I love you/thanks for commenting/see you soon.

the spinster said...

(awww)