The woman's restroom...

For millennia humanity has sought to explore the outer limits of what is known. Travelling across continents and oceans, through the sky and into space. Each new frontier brings with it a yearning to search for the boundary to the next. As each frontier has been pushed we’ve discovered new and strange civilizations living there. Our journey across land found an unfamiliar Asian peoples. Across the sea we discovered the native American Indian. And on completion of our voyage through space to land on the moon we found the strangest of all species: Hollywood set designers, cameramen and key grips.

As foreign travelers to the land of the feminine we are faced with similar frontiers and strange new experiences. Whether we journey as immigrants or for a short time as vacationers we can all savor the joys and confront the bastions of womanhood.

For those just beginning their discovery the world is surrounded with tantalizing and anxiety induced firsts. From the odd sizings at the clothing rack, the curious color and pattern combinations and the intimidating make up counter. Each barrier is crossed with determination and the fortitude of practice fueled by an inner calling within us. Walking in heels, putting on makeup, styling your hair – each comes with their own unique codes and customs.

Makeup Magic

Yet for all the frontiers we push into the feminine one stands alone in vexing even the most secure transgendered women. This fortress of femininity – adorned with warning signs to deter all would be intruders – is otherwise known as the Women’s Restroom. The frocked defender placed on the door seems to peer within our soul, testing our femininity.

Until quite recently the women’s bathroom was the one place I was unwilling to go. It wasn’t just the potential for an embarrassing outing in what could quickly become the most hostile place on earth. After hearing all the hooha about the ‘Bathroom Issue’ from conservative critics I was actually worried that it could be illegal. Of course, my intentions of being in such a place would only be honorable – at least as honorable as peeing can be – but I wasn’t quite convinced a judge would see it the same way.

As a quick disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. For more information on the legality of using the women’s restroom I encourage you to review this web page from the Transgender Law and Policy Center. They have information for some states, though right now it doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list.

One valuable piece of information I discovered at Esprit is that – at least in Washington State – it is not illegal for a transgender women to use the women’s restroom. Though if the restroom is in a private business such as a restaurant, the owner has the right to tell you to find another place to relieve yourself. This discovery fortified my courage, and the frustration at limiting excursions to a few hours finally convinced me…

To boldy go where few transgender women have gone before…

And then write about these interesting and terrifying experiences in the women’s restroom – stay tuned for all the details in an upcoming post.

Have you been in the women’s restroom? In a fit of terrible imagery I must ask… do you have any juicy bathroom stories to share?

P.S. If you’re looking for more bathroom reading, I’ve shared some of my thoughts before about transgender bathrooms and the innovative but still somewhat controversial solution in Thailand schools.

P.P.S. Sometimes the written word can be a poor medium with which to express humor. In case you’re wondering I don’t think the moon landing was faked – Hollywood would have done a much better job with the production quality, not to mention character development.

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Dedicated to creating a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for everyone in the transgender community.
  1. Petra Bellejambes 9 years ago

    Looking forward to your posts on this topic Vanessa. Of the 14 Stations of the Crossdresser I outlined for myself at the real start of my own journey, the loo remains the only shrine I have not genuflected at. Still a very daunting step for me, not so much out of fear for my experience, but out of respect the women who might (more) rightly deserve a measure of privacy, or at least women who are not expecting a surprise emerging from the next stall.

    Thankfully, I have the bladder of a camel, which I would happily trade for J-Lo's hips.

    Cheers – Petra

  2. Racquel_Lynn 9 years ago

    At a couple of jobs I would use the womens restroom when I was dressed female, but they were single restrooms and not multi-stall.
    At a few gay night clubs I have used the womens room many times, but, of course, it is never an issue there and some of the restrooms there are multi-stall unisex anyway.
    At the straight bar I worked in, men were not allowed in the womens room or women allowed in the mens room, but if a man was dressed as a woman, they were respected and were allowed to use the appropriate restroom, so I wasn't getting special treatment just because I worked there. lol
    I usually go to LGBT Pride Night at Kings Island Amusement park in Ohio every year (which is coming up again September 10th) The first time I went there dressed as female, it was the first time it was the OFFICIAL pride night. They had pride night there for years, but it was not official, it was called "Red shirt day" because people just spread the word to be there on a certain day and if you were LGBT you wore a red shirt to identify yourself to other LGBT. So the first year that the Cinci LGBT community center bought out the park for the day and held the first official event, I went dressed as female but when it came time to use the restroom, I used the male facilities because I was not sure what the parks rules were even for that night, or if anyone had possibly educated the park staff on issues of gender identity and use of restroom facilities. So I simply decided to play it safe just in case.
    The last time I went, I did use the womens restrooms as I was told that it had been discussed with the staff and security and the all clear had been given to use the restrooms that were appropriate for how you were dressed.
    Most places in public, I try to use womens single restrooms as much as possible.
    I have been out with my girlfriends who were going into the womens multi stall restrooms a couple of times and when I said I would wait for them outside, or would go to the "other" restroom and meet them back outside, they said "No, you're coming with us" and pulled me in with them. Surprisingly, when they have done that, most of the other women in there are not bothered by it, but I have seen a couple of women that seemed to not be comfortable with me being there as they looked nervous and made a hasty retreat. lol
    That is the one big thing, other than legal issues, is that I don't want to make anyone else uncomfortable.

  3. Stephanie Mitchell 9 years ago

    Just got back from a fantastic week at a Music Camp. I and my family were camping, so it was campground washrooms. Since I'm living fulltime (in my year-long "real-life experience") my only choice was the women's side. Absolutely no issues at all. It is, after all, where I now belong.

    That said, I still have some, ah, secrets to keep. I was careful to shower well before anyone else was up and there was one sink and mirror set off from the rest by dividers so I used that for makeup. That only takes me 10 minutes now so there was no reason for anyone to give me a second glance. No-one was uncomfortable with me that I could see. I did get a round of applause when I fixed the paper towel dispenser, though!

    Interestingly, the whole experience underlined my need to proceed with GRS. I can't be honest with myself or others if I'm keeping a secret.

    Did I mention that this was a church music camp? Amazing. And incredibly affirming in my life.

    • Elly 9 years ago

      A church music camp? WOW!!! I'm not ready to go to an event like that just yet. I've just started going to a new church. I get to be the icebreaker if you will as I'm the first one like me attending. Most there know of my TG status. Right now the suggestion is that I use the pastor's washroom should the need arise. That hasn't happend yet. Hopefully that policy will change in the future, but I'm not there to create any issues. However, in the future, I know this could be an item of contention for some of my friends. I will be talking to my pastor about this.

    • carol 9 years ago

      I never really had any trouble in church. People are nice to me, and are eager to smile and offer a hug. I was in ft myers over easter. Went in church, and when the priest said to offer one another peace, I got a nice vibe from everybody, except ONE. Right behind me was some old codger, who kept his arms folded and ignored me. i was kinda put off. After church as we went out he wouldnt even look at me, or maybe anyone else for that matter. the priest was greeting folks at the door and I said he had a well crafted sermon, he replied with "have a nice day young lady" I was proud. Moral is dont let some jerk ruin your day. If they cant appreciate you, let them walk down the other side of the street.

  4. Leslee 9 years ago

    At first going to the womans reat room felt so strange. Now it just feels normal and I think little of it. Have I come that far??

  5. rogina garter 9 years ago

    Get in,get out,do what you went to do…..If you don't make a scene,no none else will. Highly overated issue.

  6. Emily 9 years ago

    I've gone into the ladies toilets in male attire by mistake a few times, where I've mis-read the signs, in my experience nobody cared.
    I didn't make a scene just did what I needed to do, then left

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