Last week, I shared about my bra incident, and this week, one featuring the bathroom. Yikes, this is what happens when you haven't scheduled a trip to your therapist in a while. Anyways, I hope you enjoy reading this.
So, something happened very recently. Some days ago, I was making my way hurriedly into the bathroom with a singular mission - to alleviate the burden I had been carrying in my bladder all morning - no thanks to the cup of coffee I had embraced over my lips earlier on.
So here I was in the girls' room to do my business but was interrupted suddenly by what my brain interpreted as an aberration. Because my stride was now being interrupted by someone who just came out of the stalls and almost bumped into me on their way to the wash station. For the almost-bump incident, I probably would not have noticed them.
Standing in front of me was a man, or what looked like a man in the girls' room. For a moment, I stopped dead in my tracks thinking I had mistakenly entered the gents, but I knew that could not have been a possibility because I double-checked the signs at the door before entering.
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It took a second or two of awkward stares and pauses to realize that this person standing in front of me was probably a trans person (in this case, a man who identified as a woman). And I softened my gaze because it dawned on me that the look on my face, while I was trying to figure things out, may have embarrassed them. And that made me a bit sorry.
So I spent some time doing some introspection about this. Some reading this might be quick to brand me as transphobic or intolerant, and that might seem fair, but perhaps, the fear I expressed was not of that person's identity but of now finding myself in a territory (read personal space) that I thought was alien. And that perhaps, for those who are labeled -phobic- it is worth first having a discussion with them to explore what their fear really is all about. And until such deductions are made, we should sheath our swords on mislabeling.
Also, please note that a lot of us, present company included, grew up in places where things were either black or white and when we see grey, especially in personal spaces, it takes a while for our primitive brains to do the blending. And while I don't consider myself an authority on issues like these, I am willing to listen, empathize, and with a mandate to love everyone as Jesus commanded.
And I did end up loving this person the moment I heard them wash their hands before they left the bathroom. Because at the end of the day, we all can agree that this is one side of the discussion, we all can get on – whether people wash their hands or not. Especially pending when we decide who gets to go where or not.
PS: Has anyone else had any similar experiences? If yes, what did you do?
Also, would you have done anything differently than I did?