This is actually a crucial time to write this article, with the arguments about Transgender bathroom usage reaching an all-time high in the USA at both the local and state government levels; I felt it was time to write about our own bathroom struggles as well. How many times have you stopped at a gas station and had the attendant deny you usage of the restroom? How many times have you had a restaurant or fast food joint DEMAND that you buy something in order to use their restroom. How many times has a teacher ordered you to sit back down during a lecture/presentation when you REALLY need to go? I know about the pain of all these situations because I’ve been through every one of them; now I have no issue with private businesses doing what they wish, HOWEVER; if it is going to be against the law to discriminate against transgender people due to their gender identity and bathroom usage, why is it any different to discriminate against us for bathroom usage? Yes, I realize those arguments are not “the exact same thing”. However, it really is important to bring this up now, when another group (LGBTQ), is out there striving and fighting for their rights! I think we should be fighting for our rights on this too!
England has disabled restroom laws and I believe it’s either the CCFA or UOAA that gives cards that read “I have a condition, please let me use the bathroom!”. Why are we begging to use the restroom? We shouldn’t have to beg about using the restroom because of a disability/disease! That’s why I think we need to lobby for laws against bathroom discrimination to be passed, I mean either that or they can legally allow me to empty my Ostomy bag in public, I have no problem with it either way :D.
So many people don’t even know what an Ostomy is, I remember I once came out of a handicapped stall when I first got surgery and some twit demanded to know why “I was disabled” and “Using the handicapped stall”, I’m not sure which was worse; the fact that he was questioning me in the first place or that people still don’t realize that many disabilities are completely invisible to the naked eye (i.e. any kind of autoimmune disease).
I’ve also been turned down at a gas station restroom where I knew he had a bathroom for people to use but point blank refused to let me use it! I was on a date and really needed to empty my bag, luckily my date was pretty chill and I told her the issue and we dealt with it appropriately (we’re actually dating now :D). The guy was insanely rude too, even when I told him I had a disability and showed him my pouch his words were: (and I quote verbatim) “Sorry that’s not my problem”.
All I’m saying is, if we don’t stand up for ourselves and fight hard to raise awareness, who will? Let’s be the change we want to see in our communities! Let’s make things happen!
Oh my goodness, I literally had the same discussion with my family today regarding transgender toilets and how we as ostomates still fight for our right to use a disabled toilet. In Australia I am yet to see a sign like some in the UK that state not all disabilities are visible - it makes me feel a little more comfortable and less self conscious using the toilet if it makes others think about why I might be using it.