I doubt there is ever a more controversial subject than using the ladies room when dressed. Volumes have been written pro and con on the subject and it seems to be at the center of conservative legislation to deny transgender rights. Business establishments seem to largely have taken the position to use the bathroom of the gender you are presenting. Still there are courtesies to be observed as a crossdresser or transgender person if you are to avoid unpleasant or unintended consequences, bearing in mind that while you may have the right to pee in the ladies room, you need to do so as a lady.
Using the Ladies Room
MellissaLynn has written the following short piece on the subject which I have supplemented with some sage advice from Vicki Danielle at Trans Beauty Network.
So you’re out and about en femme, and the need to use the restroom hits. Obviously, you can’t use the men’s room in the pretty sundress you’re wearing, and you don’t see a unisex or family restroom anywhere, So suck it up, sugar, you’re going to the ladies’ room.
The first thing to remember is this: you have the right to be there. You have to learn to own that right. When you tense up and act nervous in front of the other women in the ladies room, you will be clocked. So relax and walk in like you own the place. Don’t stop and gawk at the place, take a stall and prepare to do what you came. And don’t be chivalrous (sure giveaway) by opening a door for another woman to walk thru first. You can hold a door for another woman, AFTER you go thru first.
When you go into the stall, check the seat for dribbles as some women will squat over a seat without touching, sometimes leaving dribbles or spray. Wipe it off then put down barrier if you use them and the stall is so equipped. Turn to face the door before lifting your skirt/dress or taking down your pants & panties, then back onto the seat.
The first step to doing that is to turn around and face the stall door. Raise your skirt and lower your undies, and SIT DOWN! Feet pointing toward the toilet bowl is an absolute dead giveaway that you’re not what you appear to be.
OK, this part takes a little more practice. When a woman urinates, it sounds different from a male doing so. When a girl pees, the urine is almost all in the water and with more pressure because they are closer to the water. When a guy pees while sitting, he hits the bowl first so it sounds different and is quieter. This is how you make it sound like a girl urinating. Push your penis under you so that your urine strikes the water loudly. For those little after-shots, release your penis or hold it forward to that it hits the bowl for those last little squirts.
Don’t get up yet! Get some toilet paper and wipe yourself, or at least get some toilet paper, in such a fashion that it’s audible. Women expect to hear this sound and will ping on it if they don’t. Flush, grab your purse if you have taken it in with you (you should) and open the door to exit the stall.
This is the tricky part. A quick check in the mirror is a must, but at the same time, don’t stand and gawk. Wash your hands (a must), touch up your makeup if you’re wearing some, maybe run a brush through your hair if you feel the need. If another woman talks to you, don’t be afraid to reply. Turn to her and smile as you do so.
Some ladies rooms also have small lounge areas with chairs and/or couch that you can sit on to check makeup in your compact mirror. If you don’t carry a compact with a mirror, START.
As an aside, if you are not of an age where menopause is likely, you should carry a feminine hygiene product or two in your purse. It’s possible you will be asked if you have one another woman may use because Aunt Flo caught her out of the house unprepared. Having one will add believability to your feminine presentation.
And when exiting, again do not open and hold a door for another woman. Hold open after you’ve passed thru if you like. Always take your time in there. Ladies are expected to always have themselves put together, so don’t like you old male self be a “wham bam thank you” in the ladies room.
Now least you think this is an involved process, it’s not compared to all the problems that women face when using the restroom. Ever wonder why women go to the restroom in pairs? Well, read this somewhat humorous situation that I suspect is more true than most of us would believe.
Suzanne and Leigh of Transline Hollywood discuss the fear of using the ladies room for the first time and how it differs from the men’s.
Well, now that you are prepared, there may still be problems and not necessarily because you are “T”. Psychology, gender roles, and design explain the distinctive way we behave in the world’s stalls. This article on the Private Lives of Public Bathrooms shines a light on what it means for men and women to be exclusively in the company of their own sex. It comes down to boundaries—the stalls and dividers that physically separate us, and the social boundaries we create when those don’t feel like enough. Public toilets…frequently instantiate the most literal and entrenched social division—the division of people into two unchanging sexes
The Legal Ramifications
That’s the short but not the long of it. This is indeed a complex issue and the Transgender Law Center has addressed this complexity in their paper “Peeing In Peace Resource Guide“. This is a MUST READ for all of us.
This Resource Guide is a first of its kind publication combining basic information about how someone (or some group of someones) can protect themselves with common sense steps that can be taken to change the way in which an employer, school administrator, business owner, or government official handles bathroom access issues. It provides basic tools you can use to affect how someone sees the issue of bathroom access and safety by questioning who should be able to access which bathroom and why we divide most public bathrooms into Men’s and Women’s facilities in the first place.
I Have a V-A-G-I-N-A
Riki Wilchins, a transitioned trans activist, wrote this op-ed piece on navigating the social mores of the public restroom entitled “It’s The Womens Room And Other Bathroom Complications“. Despite all our advances in trans-liberation, simply taking a public leak remains a bitch-and-a-half. Read how Riki deals with the issues and be amused or not.
And finally, Hannah Taylor from the Tennssee Vals support group, herself a transwoman, lays it on the line in her piece on Sitting to Pee Is Not an Option. Let’s all learn to do it right.
Now, you may not always be some place where there is a restroom, and frankly, if you can’t hold it, then here is………..
How to Pee Outside Discreetly
Well, if there was ever a reason to wear a skirt, this is it, as it’s generally considered that a skirt is easier than pants when you have to pee outside. One woman said she thought skirts were invented to allow women to pee easily. If however one is wearing pants/ tight shorts than she would likely pull them down to her ankles, spread your legs and squat. One must be very careful to pull the pants away from the stream as peeing on one’s shoes and pants is somewhat to be expected but we try not to. Loose fitting shorts can sometimes be similar to a skirt for in a skirt you simply gather it to one side and squat or in loose shorts one could pull the shorts to the side to expose blah, blah…
It’s probably best to find a bush (or go into the woods), but if that is not an option and there’s no cover, hold it, or if you must, let people see the rear instead of the front. Everyone knows what a bum looks like, but a lady is much more likely to get catcalls and such if she shows her front. I hope you have been enlightened
Susan explains how women pee outside, but frankly, this woman has far too good an aim to make it realistic.
Toilets Around the World
Whether appealing or appalling, toilets around the world serve the same purpose, and there’s no avoiding them. So just how much is there to say about using the toilet as you travel? You’d be surprised.
Did you know, for example, that you can’t flush toilet paper in many countries’ toilets? And you’ll have to flush some toilets by throwing an entire bucket of water into the bowl? Or that people in many countries use a water spray to clean themselves rather than toilet paper? And the squat toilet rules supreme in many countries outside of the United States.
A squat toilet is just how it sounds. It’s essentially a hole at floor level over which you’ll squat and into which you’ll aim. Despite travel horror stories, the vast majority of them are clean, easy to use, and even come with a flush.
The first time you encounter them they can be a little shocking, but after that, you’ll be a pro. Like many widely-traveled folks, you may find that you prefer squat toilets to the Western style after repeat use.
Something interesting to note about squat toilets in many countries is the clean up (of you). The water in that bucket near the toilet is meant to clean yourself with (using your left hand) after you do your thing (Factoid: this is one reason the custom of shaking hands with the right hand developed—one never knows where someone’s left hand has been). If you’re headed for toilet-paperless places and feeling squeamish, carry your own wet wipes (like those used for babies’ butts) and/or antibacterial gel.
Something else you can expect to come across while traveling is poor plumbing. Many countries’ septic system cannot handle toilet paper, and doing so can cause blockages. The easiest way to tell if you should be careful is if there is a small wastebasket of tissues beside the toilet. If that’s the case, you should wipe and place yours in there along with everyone else’s.
Many countries around the world don’t use toilet paper. Instead, they use something that works like a bidet and is a small hose attached to the side of the toilet. You detach it, hold it into the toilet, aim, and then fire. It actually gets you much cleaner than using paper and most travelers miss them when they leave, even if they do find them weird to use at first.
Toilets Around the World
If you’re heading to a particular destination and want to know what lies in wait for you, here are some helpful examples of what the toilets are like there:
- China toilets
- Mexico toilets
- Russia toilets
- Finding clean bathrooms in New York City
- Toilets in France
- American Restroom Association
- What’s a bidet?
The squirts, trots, Montezuma’s Revenge—whatever you call it, diarrhea’s a drag. Common travel wisdom is to let it run its course; plugging up the source with Imodium keeps the bad bacteria in and keeps you sicker for longer. E-coli, which lives in fecal matter and developing countries’ tap water, is a major source of cramp-causing traveler’s trots, as are bacteria Salmonella and parasite Giardia. Prevention ideas include not drinking the tap water being careful of the food.
If you get the runs, your best bet may be to drink, drink, drink (bottled water!) and wash those little bugs away.
Because diseases like dysentery spread through contact with infected feces, lack of handwashing by waiters and cooks is a common cause of many unpleasant maladies. Flies carry dysentery, so avoiding fly-festooned street food carts is easy enough. When eating street food, be sure to pick a cart with one of the longest queues—high turnover means fresh food and the locals wouldn’t choose to eat anywhere that would make them sick.
The American Restroom Association has a number of apps to help you locate restrooms as well as other useful information on using the toilet. Learning to squat and using a bidet will prepare you for overseas travel.
This is a new locator by creator Teagan Widmir and their team could use some help