Category Archives: Transgender Transition
In February I made an extended visit to my sister Linda in Texas. At one point, her husband made the comment, “Why don’t you just put some makeup and earrings on, get some feminine clothes and just be a woman? You are nice-looking. It shouldn’t be hard to find someone to be in relationship with. You’ve had relationships before as a woman with women. Why don’t you just stay as you are?”
I replied, “What would it feel like to you if you had to wear a dress every day because that’s what’s expected of you, even though you couldn’t stand how you looked or felt in it? Or if I said to you, ‘just put some makeup on and you’ll be pretty’? Would you be able to do that and feel good about yourself?”
He really didn’t get it until then. And he still may not understand. There have been others who have asked “why bother” types of questions. It’s a question I’ve considered many times, so let me explain why I’ve decided to change genders and live as a man.
First, I want to clarify that my years of living as a woman were a blessing. Yes, there were things in my life that I wish were different and choices that I wish I had been able to make without the gender influence. However, I also had many benefits from being a woman. I can also say that there are many things about living as a man that have their downsides. For example, the judgment of many women that men are not capable of emotions or even deep conversations.
So to start, I want to say that there are ups and downs to being either gender, so it’s NOT about a perceived advantage to being male. I’ve actually had that conversation with a couple of lesbians who wondered if I was turning against women and embracing men. Really? As lesbians, you’d think they would know better. Why would I choose something that is so difficult to do because I’ll get preferential treatment as a man? So let me get this right… I would go through hormone treatments, possible surgery, possible rejection by loved ones and society, etc., to be looked at as a man so I could have an advantage in the world. Don’t think so.
The most significant reason I am transitioning is that I would not be in integrity with my own beliefs about being authentic and true to myself if I continue to deny who I feel I truly am. I coach and teach the idea of living a full and truthful life. It would be disingenuous and hypocritical of me to choose to stay a woman when I feel like I am a man.
Another reason I’ve decided to transition is that it is so much easier with my appearance to just be a man. Earrings, makeup and feminine clothes didn’t prevent people from seeing me as a man. I no longer need to try to be something I’m not. That’s a tremendous relief.
There are probably other reasons if I searched for them, but those two reasons alone are compelling enough for me to make the change. It’s really that simple.
I know it’s hard for people who are living in a body that matches who they see themselves as to relate to my situation. On the flip side, until now, I have not known what it was to live in a body that matches how I see myself. In the last few months of passing as a man, I finally understand. And I LOVE IT!
That’s the bottom line… what makes me feel whole and in love with myself? I’ve finally found what that is… and there is no going back.
In the words of Sarah McLachlan’s song, Elsewhere:
I love the time and in between
The calm inside me
In the space where I can breathe
I believe there is a
Distance I have wandered
To touch upon the years of
Reaching out and reaching in
Holding out holding in
This is heaven to no one else but me
And I’ll defend it as long as I can be
Left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand?
Oh the quiet child awaits the day when she can break free
The mold that clings like desperation
Mother can’t you see I’ve got
To live my life the way I feel is right for me
Might not be right for you but it’s right for me
This is heaven to no one else but me
And I’ll defend it as long as
I can be left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
Would you try to understand it?
I would like to linger here in silence
If I choose to
Would you understand it?
I haven’t posted for awhile, but am back and ready to share my experiences.
There were several reasons why I didn’t write in the past few months. Last year, in addition to deciding to transition to live as a man, I also went through a devastating breakup with a heterosexual woman who had fallen in love with me, but couldn’t see herself being with me as a woman or as a transitioning man. Adding to the picture, a business partner embezzled tens of thousands of dollars, landing in prison and bankrupting the business. All three of these major events happened within weeks of each other.
Last year had its peaks and valleys, to say the least. As a result, I ended up in a depression, which I didn’t realize was as deep as it was until I recently came out of it. I’m very thankful to my support system and my experience with shamanism and energy work for helping me come out of the darkness.
Many times during those months, when people asked how the transition was going, my reply was that it was the easiest thing in my life. And that was the truth.
This morning, I told a dear friend from high school about my transition. She made the comment that it must have been a very hard decision for me to make. My reply was that it was actually the easiest decision I’ve made. There will undoubtedly be bumps along the way and not every person I tell will be as accepting and supportive as I’ve experienced so far. However, my choice to live as a man has so far been a natural, freeing, and expansive process. Finally understanding my true self has been an enormous blessing.
In the next few months I’ll be traveling quite a bit, so I might not be posting as frequently. However, I will drop in on occasion to update my progress. Stay tuned…
Realizing that I have lived a life behind a gender mask shed a light on so many of the decisions I made in my life, and the outcomes that followed. Not being in the “right” body informed many choices that I now see were influenced by a false belief that in order to be successful at the level I desired, I needed to look a certain way, either very feminine or very masculine. However, I didn’t fit either mold.
Our society has put so much emphasis on appearances that it permeates every part of our lives. And I fell into line, thinking that I couldn’t do what I wanted because my look and voice didn’t fit the expectations around gender.
In high school, my chorus teacher told me that I couldn’t try out for All-State chorus because my voice was too low for girls’ parts. I sang in the tenor/baritone range, and as he explained, there couldn’t be a girl in the boys’ section, so I didn’t need to even audition. I dropped out of chorus shortly after that, even though my dream was to become a singer/songwriter.
Although I longed to perform on stage, after that experience, I would look with envy at performers because I didn’t fit either reflection of gender. It wasn’t because of a lack of talent, but because of how I looked.
Another passion of mine was sports. I was good, a natural athlete who competed regularly with guys. However, until my freshman year in high school when Title 9 was instituted, my school had no organized sports for girls. There were also no role models, since there were no professional sports for women, either. What I wanted was to play football and baseball, but there was nothing there for me to choose from as a girl or a woman. And even though young girls tried to break into organized boys sports, after puberty, they were expected to seek other more “feminine” pursuits.
With my distinctively melodious voice, I have been told throughout my life that I would be great in radio. With my combined interests, it seemed like a perfect fit and so I decided to pursue a degree in Mass Communication emphasizing radio. I could perform without being seen and work in sports, which I loved. In my freshman year of college, I finished an assignment, handing in a half-hour recording of a radio show. When the professor’s assistant gave the tape back to me, he said, “You got an A for production, but you really don’t have a voice for radio.” Regardless of the number of times I had heard that I had a perfect voice for radio, I only heard that I wouldn’t be good enough for what I loved and changed direction again. What I realized later was that what he was really saying was that I didn’t have a woman’s voice for radio. Again, I didn’t fit the mold.
There are many other stories I could tell about my not fitting the picture society has established for genders. Despite my years of lesbian and feminist activism, I didn’t truly understand how much of my life experiences and choices have been influenced by those gender expectations until my transition.
What I see now, at the age of 52, is how much I fell into line with the beliefs and expectations around gender. Taking this mask off is peeling away layers of false conceptions of self.
Ironically, and most definitely divinely, what I have ended up choosing for my life’s path parallels my transition. As a writing coach specializing in personal development, spirituality, and human potential, I help others find their voice by breaking down false beliefs about themselves and the world around them.
Who would have guessed that what I have studied and taught most of my life is now helping me transition to a new me, a new gender, and a new outlook on life?
Light snow drifted across the road as I waited for my nephew and his wife at the Minneapolis airport arrival area. The temperature hovered at freezing, a winter storm developing. We had a five-hour drive ahead as I traveled back to South Dakota for the Thanksgiving holiday to tell my siblings that their sister was not who they thought she was — at least in appearance.
My plan was to meet individually with each of my siblings, but the timing wasn’t going to allow that. We were having the family gathering on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the only day all of us would be together. The plan was for all of us to meet in the morning, before everyone else arrived for the feast. Not my plan, but the plan, none-the-less. If it didn’t go well, it would be an awkward day.
Then everyone wanted to go to church before we met, and soon after that, the food was ready, and then the clean-up. By that time, I wanted to go out for a walk to get some air — and courage before I talked to everyone.
Several of us took off, but only my nieces, Danielle and Kelsey stayed with me. Kelsey was curious. Although my sister Carol didn’t know what I was going to share, she had told Kelsey I was making an announcement. As we walked by the elementary school we had all attended, she asked if I would tell her and Danielle my secret. I told her I wouldn’t feel right if I told them before my siblings. She said she would try to guess. Her first try was if I was adopting a child. Not sure where she got that idea, but I found out later, several people wondered that.
Then she said, “Are you having sexual reassignment surgery?” No lie. She used that term. A 20 year-old in South Dakota. I was taken by surprise. Then, when I said yes, she let out a cheer, partly because she had guessed it right, another part because she was truly happy for me. “Awesome!” was her first reaction. Then she gave me a big hug.
As we continued to walk, I described my transition, answering both their questions. As we approached the house they both hugged me and told me they were very happy and excited for me. It was a very good sign.
Getting back, we saw that everyone was playing games, a family pastime at gatherings. Danielle and Kelsey had promised not to say anything, so we joined in the games, their excitement barely concealed.
Finally, as families started to get ready to leave, I asked everyone to gather around the table. At that point, I couldn’t ask anyone to leave, so it was all the in-laws, nieces and nephews that were there, about 20 people in all. I sat at the head of the table and dove in.
One thing that has been apparent in my coming out as transgender, is that nearly everyone has seen that part of me my entire life, even though they weren’t consciously aware of it. That makes their acceptance of my news much easier.
As everyone settled in, Carol asked if I was going to adopt. My brother asked if I had decided I wasn’t a lesbian. To his surprise, I responded, “Yes. In fact I’m not, because I realize that I’m actually a heterosexual man in a woman’s body. The term is ‘transgender’ and I’ve decided to transition from living as a woman to live as a man.”
My brother’s wife responded first, saying, “The first time I saw you I thought to myself, ‘that girl should be a boy’. I’m so happy and excited for you!”
And then the questions: What name are you going to use? What does it mean to transition? Are you going to have surgeries? More discussion ensued, but not for long. It seemed everyone was good with the news, and ready to move on to something else. They would all have their own time to process and talk with me, if they needed to.
As the days passed, I saw how each has shown their acceptance of my transgender transition as a reflection of their own focus in life.
For example, my eldest sister Linda asked how it would affect my business? She also said that she was glad my mom wasn’t alive; that she wouldn’t have taken the news so well. We’ll never know, although after reflection, I believe she would have been okay. She was the first one to face my insistence that I was a boy. At some level, I think she knew.
Linda’s husband, Jerry was another curious response. A Latino, with a macho exterior on the outside, but a tender heart, when I told him, he asked the usual questions, then a few more about why I would want to do such a thing. And then suddenly, his energy shifted and he started to tell me what I would need to change physically to be a man. “You can’t color your hair and have it highlighted anymore, and you need to cut it short. You have to stop wearing bracelets and necklaces.”
Later, he gave me some of his men’s shirts and asked if I wanted to wear a Spanx, a tight-fitting undershirt that would keep my breasts flat. If I was going to be a man, he wanted me to look the part. I had become his project.
What I’ve noticed is that by steering the conversation to what they are comfortable with, it eases the conversation until they are ready to ask more in-depth questions.
I’ve also noticed that women are more apt to want to go deeper with their understanding, typically asking more questions and having longer conversations. Men tend to take it in, and then move on to other subjects. Whether that is because they are uneasy with the topic, or they truly don’t feel they need to know, I am not sure. When I am more comfortable asking, I’ll seek more answers.
I guess we are all getting used to talking about it!
Another famous couple’s child is stepping into the limelight, however reluctantly, to address concerns he has about his counterpart, Chaz Bono. Stephen Ira, formerly known as Kathlyn Beatty, the child of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening wrote in his blog that he disagreed with statements in an interview that Bono gave that Stephen felt were misogynistic and demeaning to transgenders.
Bono was born Chastity, the daughter of Cher and late singer Sonny Bono. In an interview Chaz said, “For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, it’s not a neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.”
But Ira has taken offense to the comparison and in his blog Super Mattachine wrote a post titled, Why Chaz Bono Is a Misogynist Who Does Not Represent Us. He wrote, “I do not have a birth defect. If you feel like you have a birth defect, fine. That’s how you feel. Go feel that. Do not put it onto me. Do not define me that way, and do not define other trans people that way unless they claim that label.
“Chaz has appointed himself as the representative of a group of people who are not all like him. He has said misogynistic and prescriptivist things about gender. I take particular issue with his comments on trans embodiment and on women.”
I can understand both views, so instead of saying one is right and the other wrong, I’ll give you my own thoughts, which interestingly was a post I was writing last week before all of the back and forth between the two celebrity sons.
While saying that Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a “defect” seems harsh (since I don’t view myself as being defective), there are days that I feel something must have gone horribly wrong at some point in the uterus. Either that, or the universe has a warped sense of humor. Or, my incarnation in this life is meant to correct some wrong that I did in a past life.
A friend of mine recently suggested that maybe in the progression of my lives, I am evolving from one gender to another and this life is where the shift is revealed on a physical level. Interestingly, he suggested I was evolving from lifetimes as a woman to a man. I countered that I felt like I was a man in all previous lifetimes and this was the life that I had to learn how to be a woman. And more significantly, to teach others how to accept both parts of each of us.
But I digress.
I agree with Ira that Bono should not give his personal views as being true for everyone. Being a visible activist, Bono has done a lot for transgenders by courageously stepping into the limelight. He has raised awareness in a very positive way, for the most part. However, as a de facto representative of a growing group of people, he must be careful about generalizing his own viewpoints.
We don’t know for sure the cause of GID. Is it a lack of hormones in the uterus (which could be viewed as a “defect”)? Is it that we are a minority gender type that has been here with other genders all along, but our presence has been buried under layers of perception of what is “normal”? M2F and F2M persons have been in recorded history throughout time, but for many reasons — Bono included — we are now becoming more visible.
In indigenous cultures, transpeople were often viewed as being closer to the spirits than medicine men and women, men and women shamans, and men or women clan leaders. They were revered for their ability to access the spirit realm, and for their ability to carry both genders in one body. Perhaps we transgenders are here in this time to help usher in a new human evolution that brings more of a balance of the feminine and masculine to our collective consciousness.
Through history, our world has swung from a matriarchal/feminine-led state to a patriarchal/masculine-led state, and now the pendulum is swinging back again. Perhaps it’s time for those who are experiencing being both genders to step into the picture and share their experience to bring true balance to the table.
For myself, I know that, although I’m transitioning to live as a man for many reasons, I will never lose the parts of me that are viewed as more “female” — sensitivity, intuition, desire to bring the collective together instead of coming from a place of competition and devisiveness that oftentimes drives men to make decisions that aren’t for the greater good.
So Stephen and Chaz, I suggest you have a conversation about your differences, find common ground on your views, and both of you, step forward in a cooperative way as visible leaders. What we don’t need is to have two transgender people at odds over how we came to be. Instead, let’s talk about who we are becoming.
In all my years living as a lesbian, until recently, I really didn’t have a concept of the differences between being homosexual and being transgender. The past 6 months have revealed a completely different understanding. Transgender is NOT about sexual orientation. It’s about identifying as a specific gender.
Here’s how I view gender… There are actually 6 gender types (I know there are transgenders out there who want to eliminate the idea of different genders, but in our world today, there is, unfortunately, still great importance attached to gender types):
• Male in a male body
• Female in a female body
• Male in a female body
• Female in a male body
• Intersex (having both sexual organs)
• Androgynous (fits the necessary gender at any given time)
What I’ve learned is that within each of the 6 genders there is a full spectrum of sexual orientation. I not only identify as a man, but specifically a heterosexual man in a woman’s body, and I am attracted to very feminine women, usually straight. However, I have met transgender men (Female-to-Male) who have been attracted to:
• Other transgender men
• Gay men
• Straight men
• Bisexual women/men
• Transgender women (male to female)
• Heterosexual women
It is unfortunate that we focus so much on gender and sexual orientation. We are not binary in nature. That has become more and more obvious as I travel this new path. Why can’t we just be, and love who we do, not because of body parts or how we appear in the world, but because we are good and love-able people, living authentically as we feel compelled to live?
What a different world we would live in if that were true for every human on earth.
There’s a reason changing genders is called a transition. Not just for me, but for everyone around me. And not just physical, but names, pronoun use, and mental constructs around who I am.
Maybe because I’m older, or because I identified as a lesbian and have come out before, or because I truly do look and have the essence of a man, or that I’m blessed with wonderful friends and family in my life (or all of the above), when I have told people about my transition, I have received nothing but encouragement, support, and on nearly every occasion, enthusiastic congratulations.
In fact, on several occasions, my friends have shared how they feel about me, not as a man or woman, but as a person — a very affirming and uplifting view of how they see me in the world. To a person, they have all said they would expect nothing less from me than to transition, now that I know this is who I am.
But despite their acceptance and love, it is not easy to shift gears and start calling me a new name or refer to me in the male pronoun.
The fact is, I’ve identified as a woman for so long, I fall into that character easily, even as I embrace myself as a man. While I have chosen a new name — MJ — I still automatically respond to my given name without blinking. And I still have to catch myself introducing myself with my given name.
And although I want people to refer to me in the male pronoun, I notice myself taking a few moments to respond when someone does get it right. Because getting it wrong causes problems and often discomfort.
Take this past weekend. I was at a 3-day workshop, and the first night, while standing in line to enter the room, a very lovely young woman came to stand by me. She immediately engaged in a conversation with me, and started to subtly flirt with me. I was in my man self, and started to flirt back. My friend was standing with us, and although he knew about my transition, after several minutes, he referred to me as she/her.
The woman looked at me, surprise registering in her eyes, and then completely shut down to any more interaction. She had obviously hoped for a different outcome than to find out I was not the man she had hoped for.
While my friend apologized profusely later, I have to admit, I still have miles to go before I see myself completely as a man. I still fall into that place of familiarity as a woman. Sometimes I find my mannerisms to be more womanly, sometimes I forget and start to say something that men wouldn’t say. Yes, it’s a transition, and I’m not militant about what I’m called — yet. But at some point, for my own safety and expansion, the correct pronouns will become essential.
For now, it’s a gradual change, and I completely understand and empathize with my loved ones. Changes are nearly always difficult. Even more so when the change is gender.
At a transgender support group meeting, I heard from many of the men that, even though they had beards and were obviously men on the exterior, many still carry an internalized fear of being revealed as a woman. I live with that every day, so what I’m writing might seem like I’m standing on a soap box preaching to the choir, then not walking my talk. But while I’m aware of my fear, I do not let that stop me from living in congruency with who I am at my deepest level.
As I move through this change, here’s what I keep in mind to stay in my power:
1. Come to an acceptance of self. Even though that seems obvious because we are in transition to become our true selves, I saw at the support group meeting that many of the men are still battling with the gender masks they had created to be women. Until I fully accept myself as a man, how can I expect others to accept me as one?
2. Really be the essence of who I am. When I walk in my truth, I exude a confidence and energy that people are attracted to. Fear attracts fear; confidence attracts confidence. What you put out to the universe, you will bring to you. It’s a universal law.
3. Be my authentic self. As I transition, there are many emotions that have arisen, especially with the hormones. But those are hormones; they are not me. Stay connected with that new being you have uncovered and let his (F2M) or her (M2F) energy radiate outward for all to see.
I know this sounds like positive mental attitude stuff. It is. However, whether or not you are in transition or it’s life in general, being your true self and allowing that essence to be in full engagement will bring good to you rather than bad.
There is real reason to have fear about being transgender. There have been many beatings and deaths because of other people’s fear of who we are. So, I’m not saying these things to deny the feelings of fear that anyone might have. But, in my experience, facing your fears, centering in your true self, and stepping forward with confidence and surety will go a long way to showing people that you are strong and capable in your gender, no matter what it is.
I’ve passed as a man for years, even when I didn’t try. About 90 percent of the time, I would be called “Sir” by strangers, even when I was wearing a dress, earrings, makeup, etc. In fact, several of my friends revealed that when they first met me, they thought I was a transgender male-to-female and wasn’t through transitioning. That was an eye opener, but it explained a lot about how I have been perceived in my life.
For many years in my teens and early twenties, I was mortified when someone would mistake my gender, and I would make every effort to correct the person. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t paying attention enough to see that I was a woman, especially when I was making a concerted effort to be feminine. Eventually, I convinced myself that they weren’t “aware” or paying enough attention, and they didn’t “deserve” to know that they were wrong.
On occasion, a person who made the mistake would catch it and apologize, but for the most part, I was rarely going to see the person again, and so I learned to let it go. However, if my siblings or friends were with me, they would often get very offended that someone could make such a huge mistake, and they would go to lengths to correct the person. It was often awkward and I would feel worse than if we had all just walked away.
Eventually, I got to the point where I was relieved that they thought I was a man. It just seemed so much easier than trying to make everyone see something they weren’t able to on their own.
At my first visit to a TransGuyz support group at our local (Portland, Oregon) Q Center (a community center for LGBT groups), as I walked in a man was talking about his experience with people’s first impression of his gender. He was saying, “What people register in their minds at first meeting you, is their lasting impression, even if you try to convince them otherwise.”
There have been many occasions where I have walked into a store and had a clerk ask, “Can I help you, sir?” What is interesting is that, even when I corrected them and said that I am, in fact, a woman, about 70 percent of the time, they responded with, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you, SIR.” The impression was already imbedded in their minds, and conveyed through their response.
With my already deep voice, it happened about 95 percent of the time on the phone. Now, it’s 100%.
So, unless there was a specific reason why I needed to be a woman (going into the women’s changing room, etc.), I finally got to the point where I didn’t see a need to correct them. They saw what they wanted to see.
I believe it gets back to that essence piece. If you relate it to energy and how a person carries themselves, when someone senses the essence, the outside appearance doesn’t seem to matter as much. I’ve seen it in non-gender instances, too, where I have an initial sense of a person’s nature — negative/positive, energy-giver/energy vampire, giver/taker, etc. — and no matter what their outer appearance is, that impression stays with me. I’ve found that I’m about 95% accurate once I get to know the person. In truth, that’s why other people were accurate, even if I still believed I was a woman on the exterior. They had sensed my essence of being male.
Yes, first impressions are lasting, and that is to my benefit as I transition. Because I know that most people think I’m a man, it takes much of the fear away from new situations where I feel a need for safety in my identity.
Ironically, my biggest fear in transitioning has been with me for most of my life. In fact, I thought it would be the thing that would be my biggest relief once I started to transition. Unfortunately, that was dispelled in my first transgender support group meeting. Turns out my fear wasn’t going to go away that easy.
It’s a scene that many lesbians are familiar with, and as I’m experiencing, transgenders as well — for entirely opposite reasons. What could it possibly be that strikes such fear in our hearts? Going to a public restroom — and being mistaken for the wrong gender.
As a tall — 6+ feet — woman with a deep and resonant voice and male essence and presence, I had been accosted in women’s bathrooms on many occasions. There have been hysterical women yelling at me for being in the wrong bathroom. I’ve had women stare at me as if I would disappear by their disgust that I would dare come in to their private domain, and others who literally turned around, opened the door, and checked to see that THEY were in the correct bathroom.
When it first happened in my early teens, I tried to explain that I was, in fact, a woman. However, my voice only made it worse, so I decided it was better to keep my mouth shut. In fact, if I was in a conversation upon entering the bathroom, I would purposefully raise my tone a few notes to make it seem more feminine. Sometimes that worked; more times it didn’t make a difference. I’ve stopped short of having to bare my breasts — literally — to prove my status that I was in the right place (many of my lesbian friends have felt compelled to do that).
No matter what I did, it didn’t seem to matter. So, I began to resort to waiting until I knew no one was in the bathroom. If I was already in an empty bathroom and someone came in, I would wait until they did their business and left, and then I would come out of the stall and make my escape. I’m not afraid of much, but a simple trip to the bathroom has been a huge ordeal in my life. I can’t tell you how many times I planned my activities and amount of liquid I drank around avoiding having to use the facilities.
In the past few weeks, as I have become more comfortable as a man, and my friends and family are now introducing me as MJ, my new identity, and referring to me with male pronouns, going into the women’s bathroom has become even more uncomfortable. A week ago, as I headed for the restroom of a restaurant, I came to that point where I was drawn to the men’s room, but still felt more at ease going to the women’s. Finally, two days ago at another restaurant, I saw that no one was in the hallway or the men’s bathroom, so I chose that door and used the facilities. On exiting, I ran into a beautiful woman, who not only didn’t seem to question my being in that restroom, she actually gave me the look of, “Hey, you’re cute.”
Passed that test.
But the big one was going into a high-traffic restroom with other men. That would be the true test.
Last night my friend Sam invited a couple he knew and me to go to a concert at a local casino (more about THAT experience in another blog post to come). After driving an hour and having several drinks as we waited for dinner, I finally admitted to Sam that I really needed his support in getting over my fear of going into a men’s room. He assured me that it would be no big deal. As he explained, because I was passing as a man, no one would really even know, because men didn’t look at each other in the restroom. They kept their eyes down, and rarely talked to each other, making a quick in-and-out and on with their lives.
So, after a quick discussion and assurances from him and his male friend, we made our way to the restroom. Taking a deep breath, I followed him in.
And wouldn’t you know it, both stalls were occupied. No quick in and out for me. There was a short line waiting for the urinals, but I was not going there, literally or figuratively.
I leaned against the wall and waited. And waited. You see, if a man is in a stall, it’s for the big dump. And that can take awhile. Just my luck, I thought to myself.
A couple of men came in and stood in line behind me until I waved them on to the urinals, explaining that I was waiting for the stalls. They didn’t blink, and headed for the far wall. Apparently, I was passing, and I sighed with relief. I was finally able to use a stall, and after a tense five minutes, came out of the restroom having passed another test.
But the best part came later.
After the concert, Sam asked if I wanted to try the restroom again before the drive home. As Sam, his friend, and I walked toward the restroom, I saw a nice-looking woman who had sat near us in the concert and who had given me the “you’re cute” eye (I’ve been told I make a handsome man), ask us if she could come in with us to use the bathroom, since the women’s had a line a mile long. We all said, “Sure, come on in. Doesn’t bother us,” as we all smirked, knowing there was already a “woman” going in.
She didn’t follow us, but kept asking each man as they came in if they could go in. I was just finished peeing when I heard a guy speaking to Sam at the sink. He said, “I think women and men should just use the same bathrooms.” And just as I opened the door to the stall, he continued, “Hell, I’ve been in restrooms a number of times when I turned around and out walked a woman from the stall.” He turned to face me, nodded, then looked down at the floor, and walked out.
The irony of it all.