IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
“During my transition one of the more challenging, new obstacles I had to learn to overcome were the nuances of the men’s room. My initial hesitancy and discomfort entering the restroom at work was a feeling I took the time to evaluate and come to terms with in ways that I think would be valuable to share with others. In this article I would like to address some rules of thumb I have found out through friends and experience in a variety of bathrooms ranging from office life to crowded public events.” – Elias Diestler
- No one’s paying as much attention to you as you think. At first, I was very weary of sitting to pee and the sounds I was making (e.g. unrolling toilet paper when only going #1 or a “female” pee sound. Unfortunately, and I have heard this from male friends, there is a slight discernible difference between pee exiting from people who are AFAB or AMAB (Assigned female/male at birth, respectively). A YouTube video I watched led me to realize that no one cares or is paying as much attention to your bathroom experience as you are. No one cares enough to monitor your sounds and behaviors.
- Walk in like you own the place. Confidence makes you feel better about using the Men’s room. Don’t walk in looking lost, especially if it’s a public restroom and if you’re maybe a little early on in your journey of change when you don’t feel like you are recognized as male as often as you may wish. I find that I garner no odd looks when I walk in with a confident stride and head straight for my destination.
- Knock: Men will fail to close stall doors when using one. I have found this out the hard way a few times. If the urinals are occupied, men will simply use a stall just like a urinal and not bother closing the door. If you’re unsure or don’t check for feet on the bottom before entering a stall, try opening the door slowly to make sure or even give a gentle knock.
- Be polite and patient when exiting a stall near a urinal. If you are in a bathroom where there isn’t a lot of space between a urinal and a stall, it is good courtesy to wait for the urinal user to finish their business before exiting a stall that may have direct visibility of said urinal. Also, it can be awkward to squeeze by someone who’s in the middle of a vulnerable situation.
- Take your time. Whether you use an STP or not, take your time using the restroom. There is no need to rush because other men certainly aren’t. If you’re uncomfortable exiting while others are present, just wait. Like I mentioned in the first point, no one is monitoring you even though you may feel pressured to hurry. When you go to large public events, don’t be afraid to wait for a stall. I have never been questioned about waiting. At large events such as conventions or sporting events, it is even polite while waiting in a line to inform those behind you that you are not waiting for a urinal.
- They can smell fear…. (Just kidding) – What has been most important to me, is to not feel ashamed. I have had struggles finding the right STP to use and sit to pee 99% of the time. I have come to terms with the fact that I am a man with a vagina and that’s just how it is. That may not always be the case someday but no one will ever notice or care enough to comment on it. I originally felt embarrassed even about my feet facing the wrong way when using a stall to pee. Just relax and do what you have to do. Another male friend told me once that some men also simply prefer to sit to pee. You really aren’t as different as you think!
- Know Your Rights. “If you are confronted with a particularly hostile brand of transphobe, whether at a public restroom or at work, being able to confidently assert your rights can often shut down the opposition. Lambda Legal has some great resources for you. While some men may feel uneasy about you using the men’s room at work, know that it is your employer that must accommodate your bathroom needs.”
There is a natural order of things inside of the Men’s Room when it comes to spacing. If there are a number of gentlemen in the restroom at once, if this can’t be obeyed, it’s okay. However, as the second or third guy entering, when you choose your stall or urinal, do it with some respect towards your pee-mates. PLAY THE URINAL GAME
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