Bathroom Laws (by sarah)
I've been thinking about the bathroom law thingy in the US and I'm starting to think I actually wont be able to visit the US because as any who's known me for a while will know... I kind of sometimes end up in the mens loos - mainly due to being completely ditzy. We've tracked it down to the signs - it doesn't happen when there are written signs but does when there are the figures - I have to stop and think - I tend to not wear skirts. This started at nursery/pre-school because I remember getting into trouble over it and my little friend giving me a scooter and informing me it could be my willy so there wasn't a problem - it was the 80's I wore dungerees, my infant school had no uniform so skirts outside of party dresses came late though my track suits were often "girly".
I still get teased by family because I would cry as I didn't have tail-all (penis - I thought it was a tail you weed out of).
Roll forward to sixth form college where I spent a whole term using the boys toilets to be fair this is because I thought they were unisex loos because that made sense to me. University being male heavy had more boys loos than girls... car workshops had one loo for everyone which was frustratingly why I wasn't allowed to go and have work experience there because I'd have to share a loo with guys :/
There are countless examples the most recent being a pub here in Gloucester - I spent an entire arts festival using the guys loos without realising - everyone thought it was hilarious. And now because they are wedged in my mind as the loos to use I wonder in every flipping time I go to that pub... "oh I'm in the wrong loos again!" and general then turn and trip over the doorway step thing straight into confused looking drunk guy who then panic and check they are going in the right loos.
Of course having been a cleaner and a steward doesn't help - you shout you are going in and then you go in - to ALL bathrooms/toilets and you clean them or restrain the attacker or help the sick person depending. I'm kind of notorious for this now. But from what I understand this is now a crime in the US?
I don't really understand why - they are saying it's to stop attacks on girls?!
But as you may have caught above I have stewarded a lot of events and venues, I have been clubbing and...
a) as a teen/early 20's person I and my friends got barred from a series of clubs because the staff had a sex assault thing going on, they didn't care what loo was what - they drugged drinks and then followed the girls into the loos - we stopped this happening to one of us and had the audacity to call the police and take it further - bathroom laws are not going to protect from that, nor being dragged into a bathroom at random (in this case a female (me) being dragged into a college toilet people saw it happen so came and stopped what ever was about to happen however my left arm didn't like being squeezed so hard and took 3 months to heal)
b) most of the responses to the panic alarm I attended as staff where women attacking women, a few where men being the victims of sexual assualt and yes they were put in to stop rapes (as in unofficially they were called the rape alarms) but mainly we broke up fights and did first aid on drunk people who'd passed out and hit their head on the sink.
c) I've been told women wont be able to ask for period help if there are people who were born men in the bathroom... ???? you see this really makes no sense to me as someone who has had many many "womens problems" with bleeding etc... I will ask the nearest avalible person for help reguardless of gender.
One of the things working at the campsite taught me was that boys have period stuff mostly hidden from them - they are scared of it, it is foo, it is DARK MARGIC... the campsite was brilliant with this sort of thing and stamped out any notion of sani-bin emptying being a women only job, infact everyone had to clean everything and yes this means I was scrubbing urinals and clearing the poo-bergs but it also meant the boys had to empty-sani bins, deal with messes left by 8-18 yr old girls being caught out by their first periods whilst staying with us ie blood covered climbing harnesses, ruined matraces in the sleeping dorms, little girls complaining of stomach cramps.
And that's the way it should be, they in the most part have mothers and sisters and quiet a lot will end up with daughters and wives and... well ok transwomen do not have wombs so can't bleed but you know med tech is moving on and that is only a matter of time and even if they don't go for body alteration/modification/transition... where is the problem? Humans have this thing called empathy, humans help other humans out when they are in distress.
Menstruation is just one more thing used by society to make women feel dirty and isolated so breaking down that barrier is a good thing. Personally due to queuing etc... I would get rid of toilet gender completely, in fact when I was having gut issues the clinic told me... "if theres a cue for the women's use the disabled loo if there is no disabled loo just use the mens. Better that than pooing myself in public - I mean you weigh that one up and see what you would do!!!
So yeah America - I want to come and visit you and see your fab cities but I'm kind of concerned I'll get arrested for accidently wondering into the wrong loos.