My husband was with me, so I left him to watch the cart and wait for me outside the ladies room and went in to do my thing. As soon as I got in there, a lady confronted me.
"EXCUSE ME SIR!"
I looked around a moment, and then realized she was talking to me. It's not first time I've been misgendered by any means - but I'm surprised by it in the context, as I am in the ladies room.
"Hm?" I say, not bothering to correct her.
"This is a LADIES RESTROOM."
"OKay." Yes, statement of fact. Point?
"You're a man! You can't be in here."
"... first off, I'm not a man, thanks. But even if I had male parts- I could be a trans woman, using the restroom I feel most comfortable in. That's not a bad thing."
"OH yes it is! And you ARE a man. You ain't fooling me--"
And then she starts listing the reasons she KNOWS I am a guy. According to the sage wisdom of some random lady in Wal-Mart, here are the compelling reasons that I am a guy:
-- Too tall to be a woman (I'm six foot)
-- Too fat to be a woman (I weigh 350 lbs)
-- Wearing MAN CLOTHES (a t-shirt, jeans, flip-flops)
-- Unpainted short nails
-- No makeup
--- Short MAN HAIRCUT (in purple no less!)
At this point I was incredulous, but really had to pee so I said "OKay-- now you're just being a weirdo. Can you work out your issues elsewhere, because I really have to pee." and ducked into a stall.
She started yelling how I was the weirdo, and then harrumphed off.
This isn't the first time by any means I've been misgendered, and I've been fat shamed, height shamed, and clothing / makeup / hair shamed all before too. It's the first time they've all come together, and been used as evidence that I didn't belong in the space I was occupying.
I spent most of yesterday feeling bad about myself. Maybe I could put up with the terrible sensory issues that come from having long nails and wearing makeup to make myself more feminine. Maybe I should go back to wearing my hair long even though it's way more comfortable for me to have it short. Maybe I shouldn't have worn a twenty-year old t-shirt that belonged to my deceased father out in public. Maybe my comfortable flip flops should be exchanged for girly ones. I could try harder to lose weight. Slouch like I did in high school to try and fit in better with the height of those around me. I don't try very hard to fit in with society.
Last night, I had the dreams that come after such incidents thanks to my PTSD. I dreamed that I was alone, that I couldn't find my husband or any of our friends, and that I was walking through an unfamiliar place. I tried to stop people to ask where I was, and where I could find those I was looking for, but no one would talk to me- only point and laugh.
This morning I woke up feeling angry. Angry at that lady in the bathroom for her judgment. Angry at myself for falling into old habits of thinking (It must be my fault. I have to fix me. I'm wrong. I'm bad.) Angry that there are so many people in this country facing worse than this just for trying to be who they are.
Writing about this has helped alleviate some of that anger, and I am trying to root out those last bits of shame and fear that I am not ever going to fit in with society. Why would I want to? I want to be me. I like being me. I like my short purple hair. I like being tall. My health is getting better all the time and my weight doesn't hold me back. I like wearing soft, comfortable old clothes. My dad's t-shirt reminds me of my dad. I like keeping my nails short and out of the way because it helps my sensory issues. If anyone doesn't understand that-- well, that's on THEM, not on me.