One of the reasons I most fear being trans (yes, I’m using that label now) is because of reactions. Reactions that will punish me or reactions that are violent. Reactions that punish me or reactions that punish those I love. It isn’t my gender identity I’m afraid of. It’s the reactions to it.

But I also don’t want the reaction of discomfort. I don’t want other people to be uncomfortable with me or being around me. I can’t make that affectation for them, but it’s part of why I respond to any pronouns, why I don’t care if I’m called ma’am or sir. And, I think, it’s the heart of the matter when it comes to bathroom bills.

I don’t know a ton of trans people, but no one I know flips their gender just for the fun of it. It’s a matter of being as comfortable with you on the outside as you on the inside. That same thing is true for anyone, from goths and punks to business people or what have you: you are trying to present a reflection. Some are (for now) outside of our cultural norms, and so we react.

That’s the case with bathrooms. With where I am now and where I would be likely to be over the next year or two, I still fit just a bit better in the men’s room, but I get a lot of odd looks over it. Which is a shame: I don’t want those men to be uncomfortable with me. I just want to pee. If you gave me a single-stall bathroom that was clear from the outside when it was occupied, I would never use anything else. No one would have to be uncomfortable.

I don’t want people to have discomfort because I carry a purse or wear makeup or fucking rock these heels. Part of why I’m coming out rather noticeably is because, especially after the most recent election, people who are in good positions like me need to push to make trans more normal. If I can help those more vulnerable than me, then the looks and glares and comments are all worth it.

I don’t want discomfort. I can’t control it, though, and all I can do is work to make this normal. To make it a conversation our kids think is as dumb as separate water fountains.

And, of course, I’m going to do so stylishly.