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Hey Girl Hey! 

I'm Javonne Crumby, creator of Lesbionyx-- A space for queer women of color. As a Black woman who loves women, I grew tired of the lack of representation and resources for women like me. So I created a platform for us and by us, because no one tells our stories like us! 

To Pee or Not to Pee?: Why Gender Neutral Bathrooms Matter

To Pee or Not to Pee?: Why Gender Neutral Bathrooms Matter

When I was in elementary school, I traveled across the country to visit my family in Norfolk, Virginia for the first time. During the trip, I had anxiety about moving through new places so I would often hold my pee when we were in public.  I had no idea this skill will be utilized often in my life.  

 

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If I don’t feel safe in your establishment, I won’t use your restroom. If I feel like your restrooms are disgusting, I won’t use your restroom. Safety and cleanliness are my main priority when using the restroom. I must admit, often, I don’t feel safe peeing in public spaces. 

Once on my way from Los Angeles to Atlanta, I had a layover in Dallas, Texas. I entered the women’s restroom and instantly, felt the gaze of several white women and white children. Before I could take a deep breath, one of the kids yelled, “Is that a boy or a girl?” I ran into the stall in embarrassment and heard several chuckles in the bathroom. When I got to the sink to wash my hands, a white woman asked me, “Where are you headed?” I said, “Atlanta.” She responded,“Oh a short flight. You couldn’t have waited to pee, instead of making people uncomfortable?” Before I could say something back, the woman exited the restroom.

 

Bathroom Picture

Imagine the countless times I’ve been called "sir", been told to “get out”, asked “What are you doing here?” or been stared at by women in wonder. I know some of you are thinking, why not just use the men's restroom since I pass for a male.  That doesn’t work either. Once, I was out at a bar in Boston with a few friends. One of my friends, Marcus, attempted to use the men’s restroom and the bouncer tried to escort him to women’s restroom because “he looked like he belonged there.”

This battle of bathrooms is so intersectional for me as black, queer person. My ancestor’s fought for the opportunity to utilize the same nasty ass public bathrooms as everyone else. This fight to pee is complicated and apart of the generational trauma that I have personally experienced.

Here are four tips to make your bathroom facilities more inclusive to all bodies and also some tips on how to support the GNC/trans folks in your life access bathrooms safely.

1.  Convert all single stall restrooms to gender inclusive bathrooms

Here are some of my favorite signs:

*Did you know you have gender inclusive restrooms at home?

 

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2.  Connect your policy to education

Don’t set up gender inclusive restrooms without contacting the facilities and staff of your organization to do some education around speaking and engaging with GNC and Transgender folks. Be open to challenges and hire a professional. (Side note: I’m a professional that is for hire.) 

 

3.  Be a bathroom buddy

Nothing makes me feel more seen than when someone accompanies me to the restroom in spaces where there aren’t single stalls or there’s obvious discomfort from staff regarding my gender expression. Thanks to everyone who has ever checked on me when I was away at the restroom or walked with me to take a piss. You are appreciated. 

 

4.  Put down your badge

I understand that restrooms and anything to do with genitalia is pretty personal but stop policing restrooms and locker rooms. Unless someone is bothering you, engaging in conversation on whether or not they should be in the restroom is wrong. Also, control those eyes, stop gazing at us Bois, we are just trying to pee!

 

Check out my poetry visual BOI to learn more about my personal experience with restrooms and life as a masculine of center person. 

The Fitting Room Experience

The Fitting Room Experience

Black Bois to Look Out For in 2018

Black Bois to Look Out For in 2018