A guest post from Ash Whipple, an Oakland student and one of Oakland’s Energy Converters.
I’m sure when you’re out in public, or at work, all you worry about when going to the bathroom is if it’s clean or not. Nobody likes public bathrooms, they’re dirty, and you never know who you’re going to come across in them, though usually it’s okay.
I want you to pause and think about that for a moment, every time you’ve been uncomfortable going into a public bathroom or have just decided to wait until you get home. Now I want you to imagine that doubled, tripled, quadrupled even. Imagine you need to go to the bathroom and you only come across one for the opposite gender. Compound that anxiety and imagine fearing for your life when doing something as simple but as necessary as going to the bathroom because you know you don’t belong.
That’s what it’s like for me when I try to go to the bathroom. I am transgender. I am neither male nor female. There is no bathroom for me. To be safe, I have to go to the bathroom that matches the gender people think I am. People give me looks, and I feel unsafe.
It’s a miserable experience. Sometimes at school, I wait all day until I get home because I don’t want to have to pick male or female. I am neither, and I shouldn’t be forced into one.
It’s a conversation no one wants to have, but we must discuss.
Transgender students need to feel safe going to the correct bathroom and not feeling alienated over such a simple necessity. This is a struggle I face everyday of my life. I look forward to being able to make educating others on this issue as well as helping the world become more inclusive for people like me.