|Are you sure there aren't other problems that demand more attention?|
Public restrooms are, as a rule, disgusting. Landfills are more sanitary and have better upkeep, no matter what the sign says about how often the employees clean. Most people (congressmen aside) don’t seek out a public bathroom unless the need is real—even the fine and elegant bathrooms at Target.
But there’s the rub. When you gotta go, ya gotta go.
As a man who suffers through a chronic illness (Crohn's disease), I know all about “ya gotta go”. Missing two feet of intestinal tract means that often don’t have the option of waiting for a better bathroom to come along. This has led to some unfortunate moments where need outweighed reason, and the stall was devoid of toilet paper. A few years back, I turned left into a bathroom when I should have turned right, and ended up in the Women’s restroom. I only realized my error when three ladies walked in—parents at a high school function.
Friday, during a four mile run, a serious problem hit me—I needed a bathroom. The way my post-surgery body has worked for nearly twenty years now, it’s not a request, it’s a demand. I can stall (haha) for maybe ten or fifteen minutes sometimes twenty minutes, but I’m in near-constant pain that entire time. As most Crohn’s sufferers will tell you, we’ve never passed a bathroom without going in.
Which really brought home the transgender bathroom issue for me. Following the debates and even engaging in some light discussion is one thing. Absolutely, positively having to find a toilet or suffer an ungodly accident of Biblical proportions really shines a light on this whole question.
When do transgender people need to use a public bathroom? The same as everyone else—when they damn well feel like it. And just like you and me, transgenders are using the public bathroom exactly as it was intended—because who wants to spend any more time in there than they absolutely have to?