What cis people feel when first confronted with the bathroom question I *think* feels very similar to how I as a trans person felt when I was first confronted with no longer able to use the men’s room (because let me tell you, the stares were getting really bad). The feeling is one of anxiety and panic, the world feeling like it’s turning upside down, the fear is real. It is scary to confront our societies rules around “where girls and boys are allowed”.
I understand that fear. I don’t want ANYONE to have to feel it. Cis, Trans, whoever.
Cis people fear: “If I can’t reliably tell men from women then how to we enforce gender segregation and keep women safe from men seeking to harm?”
Trans people fear: “I need to use the bathroom where I feel the safest and I can’t reliably tell which restroom that is.”
So how do we alleviate these fears for *everyone*?
Well, we need to break it down a little.
The fear we *all* feel is abstracted to: “I can’t reliably tell x from y anymore, I just want to feel safe”.
That means both cis AND trans are experiencing a very similar feeling around the bathrooms, a fear that I would say is transnormative, because for trans people that fear goes WAY WAY WAY beyond just the freaking damn restroom. Trans people feel that *EVERYWHERE*. Because that fear of the gendered and sexed world breaking down is baked into the trans experience, it is IMO a large part of what makes “the trans experience”. Ergo, bathroom panic is a transnormative experience that cis people are having to confront and feel. So cis people who have “the bathroom fear”, welcome to trans personhood.
So what the in the ever loving fuck do we do about this?
My preference is that *NO ONE* feels bathroom fear. I don’t want cis people to have to live with the bathroom fear and I don’t want trans people to have to worry about cis people who have the bathroom fear acting rudely or violently towards trans people just trying to get by in the world.
I believe the best way to accomplish this is for cis people to stop thinking about “what if I can’t tell x from y anymore” and just go back to the firmer ground of cis personhood. Trans people will probably never feel all that secure navigating sex and gender in the world because the biological dominance of the cis majority, so I feel that if cis people remain on firm ground at least the transnormative panic and anxiety is not magnifying in the world.
So why do cis people need to stop being afraid then?
Here’s the deal: Cisnormativity is a *HUGE MASSIVE* force, like, cis people, you can’t even begin to realize just how much force and power cisnormativity exerts on *literally everything we do as a species*. That’s why a single issue where the gendered and sexed rules go into liminiality can cause what looks like to me an almost segregationist split in this country. Cisnormativity demands SO FUCKING MUCH. Trust me please, it’s like a crushing atmosphere you can’t escape when your gender “slips out” of cisnormativity.
Since cisnormativity is such a huge overwhelming force, NO ONE is going to go traipse through transnormativity for the larfs. There’s a reason why gender nonconforming (trans incl.) people worry so much and struggle about all this, because it’s not just some random ass thing you up and decide one day. Cisnormativity DOMINATES. Cis people, the gender construct you live in *crushes* gender NC ppl. Literally no one is going to just one day decide to be one gender and the next day decide to be another. Cisnormativity will never allow that.
So basically that means cis people, you can just forget about the bathroom thing and go back into cisnormativity. You can literally stop worrying about it. Cisnormativity protects you.
Once you all stop worrying about it, trans people can have one less thing to worry about as well! And one basic part of our overall life anxiety “because trans” is lessened because now the anxiety of “which bathroom best suits my gender” does not have the additional fear of worrying about wether or not cis people are having a similar gender liminal freakout.
So to wrap it all up: cis people, get out of my trans experience and go back to being cis.