Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Response Do You Want?

One time today I went to the ladies' room at work, and a tall, rawboned woman stood at the lavatory cleaning herself. She looked homeless, and it was a bit of a shock for me to see her there, as the restrooms at work have coded door locks and are for employees and clients only. Uncomfortable, I scampered to a stall instead of greeting her cheerfully as I usually do when I see someone there.

"This is the women's, you know?" she said.

"Yes, I know," I replied from the stall. "That's why I'm here."

She passed by, grabbed her bags from the handicapped stall, and said, "If I see you in here again, I'm gonna get a summons on you." And she left.

It's not a big deal, but I felt a little uncomfortable, wondering what's going on with her. I was thinking about it on my way home when I saw my neighbor biking ahead of me. I sped up and caught her, and we chatted as we pedaled along. She asked me about my day, and I told her about this woman.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Seda," she said, sympathy in her voice.

I felt a little annoyed, mixed with gratitude for her support. "That's not the response I wanted," I thought, but I didn't really know what response I did want. Maybe I didn't want any. Maybe I just wanted to share.

We stopped in front of my house and chatted some more, until Kristin came out, late for her music lesson. I rushed in then, and didn't say much beyond the necessary kid-hand-off info-share until she sat for one last pee before leaving. Since she was immobilized, I told her about the woman, too.

She laughed.

It was perfect. I cracked up, too, and I knew that was the response I wanted!


David Carrel said...

Laughter is the best medicine.
Thanks for the add on your blogroll. I didn't know how to do that until today and I figured it out, not that it was that hard.
So you ride a bike to work? That is pretty cool. My brother does that I am kind of jealous. Would be much better than a twenty minute car ride.

Anonymous said...


I started laughing at "lavatory"... I didn't know people actually used that word anymore... Of course, I was just laughing at you, so...

...that must count for something?

I kid. I kid.

All jokes about your wording aside, it's still pretty interesting how complete strangers can get their panties in a wad over someone they don't even know.

And, now I'm about to sound lame because I think you've told me this, but I forgot, but what it is that you do? Your work I mean?

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our