This past weekend we loaded up the car for a trip to Phoenix. My girlfriend, Katie, and I were off to visit my daughter. We decided to drive the 1,100-plus miles instead of flying because it is a heck of a lot cheaper. And with all of the TSA hoops at the airport, combined with common flight delays; I’m not convinced that in some cases, it’s not actually faster to drive.
Besides, when you get there, you have your car! Awesome!
So, off we went. We left at 2 a.m. Friday morning and ran into all sorts of bad weather. Just outside of Abilene, we hit snow and for the next 300 miles, I20 was a slip-and-slide.
We stopped often enough to get coffee and gas and to get rid of coffee, if you catch my drift.
Things cleared up after 300 miles or so, and we made it to my daughter’s house by 9 p.m. It was an 18-hour drive.
We had a really good visit. My daughter is a cosmetologist, and Katie and I had scheduled appointments to have our hair done on Saturday. Chrissy did a wonderful job, and then we went to dinner and took in a comedy show.
Sunday, Chrissy made us eggs benedict. After breakfast we all went shopping: to Victoria’s Secret then on to Sephora and up and down a mall or two. We even hit a Starbucks.
Sunday night we found a really good barbecue place.
Over the course of four days, we stopped and used the ladies restroom facilities in bars, restaurants, a comedy club, a shopping mall, department stores, road-side rest stops, gas stations, truck stops and … . You get the idea. If we needed to go, we went.
I know that the readership of Dallas Voice is composed of people who overwhelmingly support transgender equality. But if I could reach those who would deny us this most basic of rights, simply because they are afraid of the unknown or have had fear of us instilled by right wing religious extremists, I would let them know that in all of these various visits to gender segregated spaces, neither Katie nor I attacked anyone. We didn’t harass anyone.
We just did what the other women were doing in there — we used the bathroom, washed up and then maybe bought some coffee and got back on the road.
Perhaps the most amusing visit to the women’s room was at a truck stop in New Mexico. Katie was filling the car with gas and I went inside the truck stop to use the bathroom and get a candy bar. This was a fairly large restroom with maybe six stalls in it. As I entered the women’s room I saw two other women at the sink and we made a little idle chit-chat before I stepped into the stall and began to pee.
While I was in the stall, I heard the bathroom door open and a woman say, “Hey, you’re in the wrong bathroom!” Then a male voice offered profuse apologies as he quickly left.
After the interloper made his exit, the women in the bathroom began talking about it. “What is the world coming to?” one mused. “Men, in the women’s bathroom!”
One feared that this would someday soon be commonplace.
I finished up and buttoned my pants and stepped out of the stall to wash my hands and run a brush through my hair. Two women engaged me, seeking my opinion on just how awful things were becoming.
I said I figured he just made a mistake and that he sounded rather embarrassed. I agreed that men have no place in there and I left.
The unmistakable taste of irony came when I imagined for a moment if an interviewer or survey-taker were to meet those women outside that restroom and ask their opinion about a bill such as Texas HBs 1747 and 1748, legislation introduced by Rep. Debbie Riddle that would criminalize the use of public gender-segregated facilities by transgender folks.
I’m fairly certain that they would express all sorts of righteous indignation and fear about sharing a restroom facility with someone like me. They just didn’t know that they just had shared a restroom with someone with a “Y” chromosome (I’m presuming, as I have never had mine checked) even though I have a vagina, just like they do.
Nobody got hurt. We all had a good laugh. What’s the big deal?
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 6, 2015.