The restroom door tried to warn me off, with an overly stiff hydraulic arm, that nearly made me think the door was locked. I really needed to pee, though, so I pushed through the door and quickly stepped toward the stalls.
“Hey, you can’t come in here!” a woman at the sinks shouted at me.
I froze halfway to the stalls and turned to look into the mirror at the woman, looking into the mirror, looking at me. “Why not?” I asked, while edging toward the stalls.
“This is the women’s restroom,” she said pointedly, while turning to facing me.
I wanted to laugh but was afraid I’d have a not-happy-accident if I did. “Yes. Yes, it is. You’re a woman. She’s a woman,” I gestured at the woman who had just exited a stall, which I hoped to claim very soon, “And I’m a woman. Now that we’ve cleared that up, you will have to excuse me, I really must pee.” I took three more quick steps and I closed the stall door.
Skirt up. Panties down. Sit. Ahhhh. Wipe. Resettle everything. Exit stall. Be confronted by yelling woman. “You can’t just come in here.”
“Why not?” I asked again as I walked passed her to the sinks. Ugh, no motion activated faucets, not even twist-turn faucets, just the kind you press down to get ten seconds of dribbling water before having to press down again. Barbaric devices from a time, I thought, long past. Well, we make do with what we are given sometimes.
“You’re not a woman.” She was almost yelling at me but kept her distance. Much nicer than most guys who yelled inches away from your face.
“What makes you say that?” I asked beginning my hand-washing routine. Wet hands, dispense soap, and lather for forty-five seconds.
“You think just because you wear a skirt that I can’t tell you have a penis?”
“So, do you imagine every woman you see in the restroom naked?” Five one thousand. Six one thousand.
“Of course not.” Her face scrunched uncomfortably.
“Then why are you imagining me naked?” Twelve one thousand. Thirteen one thousand.
“I’m not.” Eyes darting back and forth, confused at my lack of denial probably.
“Then why do you think I have a penis? Did I flash you when I came in? Did you peek over the stall door? Do you have x-ray vision?” Nineteen one thousand. Twenty one thousand.
“No, but I can tell,” she said confidently, back to the sure-footing of accusing me.
“You can tell,” I nodded, “You are the guardian of womanhood and only those deemed worthy by you can be called woman. Is that right?” Thirty-three one thousand. Thirty- eh close enough and rinse.
“Stop, just stop. I know a man when I see one. You haven’t even been denying it.” Paper towels to dry your hands? How un-green of them. I glanced around for a hand blower but none appeared, so I grabbed a couple of paper towels.
“Why should I deny something that isn’t offensive? Trans women are women. Period. I just wanted to pee. Period. Now, if you will excuse me I think I have spent enough time in your little fort against trans women. I have a better world to help build.”
I dropped the damp paper into the trash and turned to leave. Door handles on the inside of the bathroom? Might as well have left the hands alone. Still, we must push, or in this case pull, ever onward. I opened the door and walked out, leaving behind outdated faucet design and outdated ideas.
Author’s note: This was written a few years ago, before the current (2016) bathroom bills debacle. I wrote it for a contest but my email was never received and I shelved the story as not being very topical. This story is just a story. I’ve never been confronted in the bathroom and if ever am I will probably back out because I seriously don’t want to be beaten or arrested. Fighting against bigotry is important but surviving is important as well.