Gender-neutral toilets already exist. Every home has one, (unless there are two and the ladies and gents of the house retire to different ones?). And anyone classed as ‘disabled’ might also feel that they’ve been de-sexed as well, since the wheelchair sign applies to mode of transport rather than genitalia.
Even so, when I go out cross-dressed I plan ahead a bit. I try not to eat or drink too much beforehand, to minimise any trips to the smallest room in the building. It can also depend on what I’ve chosen to wear for the evening; sometimes there might be a bit of structural engineering works to undo before I can -you know- do anything.
I like to have some idea of where I’m going – ideally, does it have a disabled toilet? I can justify this on the grounds that when cross-dressed, biology and presentation cancel each other out, making me gender-neutral. Also, if I can’t run in heels, breathe in a corset, or eat big meals (it might wreck my makeup), I’ll pretend that they all count as a disabilities.
Sometimes, I don’t have that option. As always, I think I have it easier than anyone who’s transitioning (and at the mercy of short-sighted local laws when caught short). I identify as a guy; I’m a bloke; a dude (but I refuse to think of myself as ‘manly’); it’s just that I’m wearing a skirt. So I’ll use the gents’ toilets, thank you.
These situations are where I get all brazen (I won’t say ‘cocky’…). At a restaurant with friends, I went to the gents to fix my lipstick after the meal. A guy walked in after me and immediately went into Embarrassed Brit Mode (imagine a young Hugh Grant doing his flustered-and-stuttering routine).
Gent: “Oh, christ! I’m terribly sorry! I thought this was the gents!”
Me: “Nah, you’re okay; this is the gents. I’m just doing my makeup.”
Gent: “Um… um… …” [leaves, unrelieved]
I don’t know if this would work for anyone else – there are some places I wouldn’t even dare – but acting like what you’re doing is nothing out of the ordinary is a great way to convince people that it really isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Mind you, there was another meal where I attended in a red Star Trek dress, and it took about thirty seconds to convince the diners who came in after me that they were actually in the right toilet. I think the trick is to take advantage of the awkwardness and be proactive with it. If someone else feels awkward, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. You can’t show weakness when you look fabulous.
On the other hand, if I’m in a pub setting where I haven’t been before, and there isn’t a disabled toilet, I can either nurse my drinks very slowly, or rely on the goodwill of female friends to check the coast is clear in the ladies’ toilets (that’s happened before as well).
If any readers live in a jurisdiction where toilets have somehow become sexualised, I dearly hope things change soon. Apart from death and taxes, needing to have a pee is something else none of us can escape from, and I see no reason why this should be made difficult for anyone.
The best solution I’ve seen is this: