Using a Public Restroom as a Moderately Masculine Female

The following strategies were developed over the course of 20 years, after my first experience of being bathroom-shamed at a Pizza Hut in Idaho. A woman saw me enter, called me a pervert and told me to get out. I was eight years old.

Using a public restroom as a moderately masculine female:

1. Pretend like you’re going in to wash your hands. That way it doesn’t look weird if you decide to not go in.

2. Open door quietly, see if room is occupied. If yes, leave and come back in a few minutes. If not, go in quickly.

3. Pick a stall directly across from a sink (quickest exit).

4. Do the thing.

5. Feel the room. If someone else is leaving their stall, stay in yours until they’ve reached the door. If someone is just walking in, wait until they get a stall to leave yours. If unavoidable, wait until the sink directly across from you is available, so you can walk right to it.

6. Soap first. Rinsing hands before soap is a waste of time.

7. No eye contact. No chatter.

8. If there’s no one at the dryers/paper towels, go for it. If there’s a line, air-dry and move on.

9. If speaking is necessary, be polite. Use your higher voice.

10. Do as the Pizza Hut woman says, and get out.

Note: No matter who you are or how you identify, if you are in an LGBTQ bar/space/club: disregard all but #4. You’re safe.

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