I've begun volunteering for a queer organization and, for the most part, I really enjoy it. Except for the first event.
The event was simple enough. Show up, staff a table between the acts of a high school play, and talk about queer things. Pretty much old hat, really. As a gay trans man on the asexual spectrum, I spend a lot of my time explaining what the dependent clause of this sentence means.
Ultimately, my boss had to cancel, and sans table and pamphlets, I was on my own at the high school. That was rather unfortunate, as it took about five minutes for me to wonder if I ought to run for safety.
Trigger warning for anti-queer hate speech and what it does to your brain and body, regardless of the source.
When I graduated from college back in May, I had a sinus infection and a pretty bad one at that. Because my parents are incredibly loving people, they were willing to drive me all the way home from Massachusetts from Ohio as they had done every year, now without me in the driving rotation. That's about a 12 to 14 hour drive. Downing fluids until I could get home to my doctor, it was an incredibly long day of driving. The true eternities were the much needed pit-stops, of which there were about six.
I understand that a lot of people dislike public restrooms. Maybe it's sanitation reasons, maybe it's a shy bladder problem. For me, it's the fear of assault, outing, and the ridicule of my identity. Possibly rape as well. Y'know, the threats of basic life.
Each time, I would follow my father into the men's room, my pace matching his, my eyes on the floor, never looking to the urinals on the right. He would take a stall on the left after I did, making sure I didn't have to stand and wait. We would each do our business, wash our hands, and leave. Outside, we might wait a moment for my mother or find her already waiting for us, her anxious eyes always on me. Despite my years of experience as a martial arts instructor, she remains incredibly concerned for my personal safety. To be fair, I am too. It took a good five or ten minutes to for me to calm down each time, and I can only hope for her sake that I didn't let it show. Fortunately, exhausted from the congestion that had prevented me from breathing properly all week, I had rather the impassive face at the time.
When we finally returned to Massachusetts, it was with less happiness and more relief that I greeted my home. Not my home state, my actual home. Despite Massachusetts's liberal leanings and the passing of the Transgender Rights Bill to come in July, there was and remains a very distinct lack of public accommodations.