Saturday, April 4, 2009
I didn't realize until a couple years ago, how much of a big deal bathrooms were for Anneke. Since s/he cut her hair short, and was old enough not to be accompanied all the time, s/he had negative experiences going into the women's washroom. Her coping strategy was to ask her little sister M. to come with her, as her entry pass into the washroom. Instintively M. seemed to understand and always come along. She still will when asked
We gravitate towards restaurants, swimming pools, and venues that have universal changerooms and family bathrooms. Most families don't worry about such things.
In most places now A. goes into the men's washroom. I am occasionally worried about this. S/he and I went to a Cannucks game recently, and s/he left to go to the bathroom. Hockey crowds, men and lots of beer, does not make a mom warm and fuzzy about sending thier kid alone into the washroom. It was fine, but it reminded me of safety issues and the need for more family friendly washrooms.
At school A. confesses that s/he only uses that bathroom when parents aren't around to comment, and s/he makes sure the kids there all know her. If s/he can s/he holds it until s/he gets home. I was relieved to learn that familes of other gender non-conforming kids face this issue all the time as well. It makes you wonder why we separate the bathrooms anyway, and who are these women policing the washroom making kids feel bad for chosing a bathroom they feel comfortable in. My "mama bear" instincts just want to slap them. When I've said that to A., s/he is the voice of restraint. "They don't know mom, just be nice," s/he'd say.
M. her little sister (pictured above with A.) sees it the clearest. "That's just stupid" she states when we explain why some people comment on A. using the women's bathroom. "Who cares?" she says. Who cares indeed.