Amazing what a key can do

I commented some weeks ago how I used the boys’ bathroom for the first time. After that, I used them four more times, but then arrived to the conclusion that it was nearly as uncomfortable as using the girls’ toilets. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I wasn’t getting used to it. I had made sure nobody had seen me, but there were limited times in the day when the bathrooms are free to use.

I had been wondering about whether I should ask the school for a key to the teachers’ bathroom so I could do my business in peace, and after a couple of weeks of writing and re-writing an appropriate letter in which I could ask such a request, I finally gained enough courage to hand it in to the director. Between mumbling and stuttering I managed to give the letter to the subdirector, who I have as a teacher, as she promised to redirect it to the director (she didn’t seem to notice my nervousness). I tottled off to my next class while I tried to forget about what I had just done, but only an hour later the subdirector came to get me. I followed her into the meeting room meant for parents with troubled children (this is also the place where you phone your parents to come and take you home after you faint or vomit, so I was familiar with the place).

She dangled a key in front of my face, snapping me right out of my thoughts. She said she had no idea I was going through this and, should I have told them earlier, they would have happily given me the key. She also gave the letter back to me since somebody might read it if they kept it. I asked which bathroom door the key worked with. She said any and all bathrooms I wanted, and proceeded to tell me where all the staff toilets were located – I had already done my research though and, analyzing the situation, knew which ones I should use and when. I said thank you and that was the end of it.

I keep the letter under my cushion and re-read it every night before going to bed just to remind myself how great the world is. I fall asleep with a smile on my face, but am sad I can’t share the news with anyone other than my art teacher (“Hey, you wouldn’t guess what happened!”).

I crossed the director in the hallway the next day and thought that it would be good if I gave her a polite thank you smile in return for what she had done. As I did so, I realised the look on her face. Not a rude look, but an uncomfortable one. She knew my secret. I was a strange being in her eyes and she didn’t know what to do about it. Scared that I might ask for more. She had found herself in an unknown situation of which she had not been warned of. I knew that look. I was now the school transsexual in her eyes.

Thoughts from the balcony

After accidently locking myself out on the balcony, I found that I had plenty of time ahead of me to think, since nobody was coming to save me anytime soon. Basically I was wondering about what in the world I’d make a post about, since this is supposed to be my gender/sexuality ranting blog –not that I have any other blogs anyway- but, believe it or not, I really don’t have that much to say about it. Sure, I have the typical bathroom problems (which I wrote about here), or things like my gender suddenly changing halfway through the day; but other than that my life is pretty normal. And then I realised! My drawing teacher is the only one I have come out to in real life as non-binary (though I really don’t know how others haven’t picked up on my gender or sexuality yet, because I don’t really try hard to hide it) and only because he asked me which pronouns I preferred. As you may have guessed by the way he asked the question, he has some knowledge on the subject and so I didn’t really have to give him the whole “you see, gender and sex aren’t the same thing” talk.

My sister found out I liked girls and was trans* while using my computer (note to self: hide what you don’t want others to see), but she said, and I quote, “all of this stuff doesn’t exist. You’re just making it up”. She was actually my gateway to the rest of the family, being the person most open-minded. If I managed to make her understand, my parents would slide right into acceptance. But I soon gave up on her when I saw that she seriously didn’t care in the least. I told my father I was genderqueer, as well as carefully explaining the term and how I felt, but it soon became clear he didn’t believe me and was convinced I’d grow out of it once I got a boyfriend. I haven’t even mentioned anything to my mother because she insists on buying me female clothing every time she goes out to the shops –which is quite often since she works in one. I wear them once a month to keep her happy. My other sister is totally out of the wave. She has no idea of anything that is going on. Or maybe she is a shadow-lurker that knows all my secrets and I am the real clueless one.

I’ve decided to take baby steps and slowly people will catch on to what’s going on with me. I’m going to go to a lesbian meet-up in a few days (which will be totally awkward) and find myself some LGBT friends that will come in handy if I get into one of my dysphoria tantrums or need a shoulder to cry rainbow tears on. I’ll also be sending a letter to my school asking if I can use the disabled toilet as a neutral one.

Bathroom journey

Today I used the boy’s bathroom of my school for the first time. I have used boy’s bathrooms before, but always at places where I am highly unlikely to find anyone I might know. Ever since a group of girls saw me use the wrong bathroom according to my gender, the truth about me being female flew around the whole school like a kid with wings running away from a troll. It turns out that half of the school had no idea and since I pass well enough, nobody had suspected anything either. I have become the subject of laughter and humiliation; fourteen year olds queue up in line to catch a glimpse of me walk past as they try to confirm my sex. I’m sick of this treatment and, although I don’t think coming out as trans* is safe right now or anyone’s business, I want to get people to see me as male again. And what better way to do that than using the boy’s bathroom?

A lovely map of my school

A lovely map of my school

My school has two bathrooms for each sex (I did a lovely picture for you because I can’t be bothered explaining). I had managed to use the one upstairs once, but it didn’t feel like a boy’s bathroom. Everyone walked past in front of it and I had seen it lots of times since my class is just next to it. But the one downstairs was right in the corner, with only those who were going to use it walking towards it; it was placed in the middle of a boy-aura, as if yelling “Males, men and boys this way!”. Using that toilet was going to be a personal re-identification of my gender identity!

From my locker, you can’t see the inside of the toilets, so I had never even seen what they looked like inside. For the past weeks, ever since I decided I must take a go at them, I have been imagining how they would be inside (most of my options were highly unrealistic). By the way, the toilets were extremely ugly and not as dirty as I had expected them to be. I also had started having nightmares about all the bad things that could happen to me. What if while I’m doing my business, a guy walks in and questions my presence? What if I accidently lock myself in and am stuck there forever? What if a teacher sees me and tells me off? What if someone hits me? What if I meet someone from my class? What if I run out of toilet paper? What if somebody stole my computer? I knew I would be nervous, so I decided to find a time when it was likely for the bathroom to be empty, so I could walk in and out without having to face anyone. Unfortunately, I did have to bring my computer with me since I couldn’t leave it anywhere else, so my thoughts about me being hit and robbed were present the whole time.

Nothing happened. I took extra toilet paper with me (which I didn’t use up and now have the unused remains stuffed in my bag – a reminder of my success, maybe?) and chose carefully with stool I would use. I entered. I peed. I flushed the toilet. I washed my hands. I checked my manliness in the mirror. I exited. I breathed.