A friend of mine has a toilet-problem that I would never be able to bear. He is a trans-man currently living partly in stealth. He is passing 100%, but still doesn’t feel entitled to use the men’s toilets in public places. He is not entitled to use the women’s either, and that’s the problem. He rather holds it in than go to a gendered toilet and depending on where you are, non-gendered toilets can be hard to find. My bladder is way too small for such exercises and it is filled with sympathy every time I leave him outside a toilet. When I feel the urge to take a leak, I really have to go. My body is NOT concerned with what type of picture there is on the door – if there’s a toilet, I will use it.
I recognize that the issue is easier for me as I’m not passing as a male at all at the moment and can use the women’s toilets with ease. But if I’m ever passing more and start to get funny looks in the women’s, I still don’t think that it would be a problem for me. I use the men’s toilets from time to time, but I try to avoid it if there’s a lot of people in there or if there’s a queue because I’m still very obviously a woman (not that I think men actually would question someone’s gender in a toilet like some women do). If I knew that I could pass as a man I wouldn’t be so concerned about who were in the toilet area, and that’s why I feel so sad when my passing friend are. He doesn’t realize how lucky he is…
A totally different toilet-concern of mine is the difference in toilet-layout between men’s and women’s. By experience, I know what to expect in the women’s side. But the layout in the men’s side can be anything from individual stalls to just a urinal. And you never know how clean it will be… No matter how or if the toilets are gendered, I prefer mine to be clean and private. It is also hard to know how many people there are, how many stalls there is or if you have to pass the urinal in order to come to the toilet booth. When I decide to use the men’s room, I’m usually on my own. Maybe because I’m always with my wife otherwise and am so used to go with her. I also feel more “safe” using the men’s room on my own, as if being with other people would make it more obvious that I’m biologically female. A bonus is that IF someone would question my gender, I can always claim I made a mistake.
I wish that my friend would feel entitled to go to the men’s toilets, and I would love to join him if it would help, but unfortunately I think it’s much more complicated than that.