Comedian Uses Her Personal Experience To Perfectly Show How We Take Choosing Our Own Restroom For Granted
Many of us might not realize the importance of the ‘bathroom issue’. You will after reading this.
The so-called “bathroom issue” has dominated the news for the better part of a year now. Recent outrage and fear upon the removal of transgender protections allowing students to choose the bathroom they identify most closely with has turned a very personal issue (going to the bathroom) into a political one.
But it’s a practical one, too. While much of the nation may just now be getting familiar with the issue, it’s a matter that’s plagued the identity of non-binary citizens their whole lives.
Recently, comedian Rhea Butcher issued her thoughts on the matter via her Twitter account. Her personal experience, though not necessarily universal, offer a perspective that escapes the trappings of states’ rights and legislation in order to explain why something as how you’re told can go to the bathroom can affect how you value yourself.
I've spent my entire life terrified of public bathrooms 1/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487874847.0
I've had people threaten me, harrass me, etc in the women's public restroom 2/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487874885.0
My parents were always divorced. My dad never took me to the bathroom, I had to go alone. Most visits, I held it 3/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487874935.0
I was scared as a kid to go to the bathroom alone, mostly because of kidnapping scares (I watched too much tv without supervision) 4/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487874988.0
When I was 5 I went camping w/ my dad and went to a public bathroom alone, while he waited in his truck 5/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875025.0
I had a chin length bob hair cut and a too big Batman shirt and some "surf" shorts my mom made for me. Slip on fake Vans 6/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875062.0
I went into the restroom and as I entered, a furious voice bellowed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?!" 7/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875112.0
I was terrified. I didn't know what to do. I can't remember if I said "I'm a girl" or if I stayed silent. I can't even remember if I left 8/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875179.0
I don't know if I told my dad. I told him a bout instances later on in my life and his response was always "well, what'd you expect?" 9/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875454.0
In addition to being the first time I was harassed and assaulted for being in a pub restroom, this incident sticks with me 10/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875512.0
It hurt me and changed me so deeply, it engrained in me a fear of adults that I still have to this day 11/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875553.0
And this person who assaulted me for being what they thought was the wrong gender in the women's bathroom? This person was a man. 12/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875598.0
This man was cleaning the women's bathroom and told me I was wrong. Incorrect. I shouldn't be there, I shouldn't be me. He was "Right." 13/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487875821.0
The bathroom fight is about so much more than peeing. It's about the right to exist. To be. /14— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876066.0
Public bathrooms are a concentrated version of gender conformity. Not only are literally forced through a "woman" door or "man" door 15/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876311.0
We then have to fit through an even narrower understanding of what SOMEONE else thinks is visually appropriate for that gender 16/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876361.0
I am serving jury duty right now. Moments ago, I had to reassure a confused woman that she was, indeed, in the women's restroom 18/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876658.0
This happens everyday to trans, nonbinary, genderqueer folks. We have to hide or edit or confront. Eyes everywhere. Every. Single. Day. 19/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876756.0
And this law is about KIDS. Children. Little tiny people. Forced to enter a space that scares them. Told by adults they are wrong. 20/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487876933.0
My mom was always supportive. This was 1987, she did her best. Told me to ask where the women's restroom was instead of just restroom 21/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487877528.0
She told me I was perfect and I could do and be whatever I wanted. 22/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487877628.0
She's a seamstress and made me dresses. She never once made me feel bad for not wanting her dresses, for actively despising them 23/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487877674.0
My mom works at a convenience pharmacy in Akron, Ohio. She wears a safety pin to work every day. 24/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487877736.0
In conclusion: we need your help. Kids need your help. See them, love them. It's more than just needing to pee. It's about being. 25/— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487880607.0
And if you need someone to talk to, @Translifeline and @TrevorProject are there for you.— rhea butcher (@rhea butcher)1487880962.0