Since coming out and beginning to present as a woman full-time, bathrooms have been a recurring issue. I am not comfortable using the men’s room at this point, especially if I feel like I am passing. However, I am too nervous to use the women’s room either, for fear of being harassed for doing so. In general, this means that I don’t use the restroom outside of my apartment. I either plan my days and trips around bathroom access or simply hold it in until I am back home. This is far from ideal, but I don’t have much choice at the moment.
To avoid any potential issues, I try to avoid using the restroom while I am out and about. This often requires that I plan my days around this limitation. I often stop back home between errands and try to set up my days so that I can return home if needed. I will use gender-neutral bathrooms, but very few places in my area seem to have them. If I cannot find a gender-neutral restroom, I will just avoid using the restroom until I can get back home. This is uncomfortable, but it is better for me than risking using a gendered restroom.
These restrictions were a pretty significant issue when I was traveling a few weeks ago. Since I was away from home, I could not avoid using other restrooms. I ended up using the men’s restroom during that trip, but it was incredibly uncomfortable for me to do so. It felt wrong to do so, especially while presenting as a woman.
The one significant exception to this bathroom situation is at work. My job has a single gender-neutral bathroom and I use it exclusively. This is quite nice, but it is not a perfect situation. I have nowhere else to go in the event that it is being cleaned or already in use. It is also pretty out of the way, sometimes a more than 5-minute walk from my current location. Technically, I am allowed to use the women’s restroom at work, however only technically. It was made clear to me that while I technically could use the women’s restroom, that it would be preferred if I used the gender-neutral one instead. It was presented as being easier for everyone if I did so.
These struggles with restroom access are a pretty significant burden. I am constantly inconvenienced by the need to either find a rare gender-neutral bathroom or avoid using the restroom until I can get back home. This often requires that I plan my outings around bathroom access and avoid getting too far from my apartment. So far, lack of bathroom access hasn’t prevented me from doing anything, but it definitely impacts how I do plan and do things.