/From outside the box
Graphic by Anna Grace Askelson

From outside the box

By Rose Davis

It’s a problem I have at least twice a week. I look left, right, left again. One door has an image of a human form with a dress. The other is the same without. Typically, it’s in the library, Farmer Hall or at McDonald’s. Regardless, it’s the same result. I have no idea which bathroom to go into. Either one will make me feel anxious and uncomfortable. Both will end up with a fear I’ll be called out for not belonging. Afterall, we’re in the south.  

I’m a nonbinary person. There’s no stepping around it; I’m outside the boxes of male or female. Whenever I go to the bathroom, I have to self-analyze how I appear to other people. Do I look more feminine today? More masculine? Even when I’m wearing nothing but a t-shirt and jeans, it’s a necessity for me. 

I never know for sure anyway – I’m rather androgynous looking much of the time when I’m not wearing an overtly feminine dress. Even then, my hairy legs, my deep voice or my facial hair when I pull down my mask make people take a second look. 

We’re in the midstream of the transgender bathroom movement and these arguments against or for the inclusion of transgender individuals in the right bathroom tend to leave me out of the equation. The arguments working on the binary system, or a modified version, after all, to no fault of either side, perhaps some fault to one specific side. I don’t necessarily feel insulted by this exclusion, more so just confused. Where does one go when neither side correctly defines them?  

I tend to run to the singular bathrooms, whether on the first floor of Humanities Hall, Hill House, the single room bathroom by Einstein’s in Farmer, or to my dorm in Ramsey Hall. However, I use to have to live in Napier, the freshman men’s dorm, where the bathrooms are communal. Simply put, I would need a whole other article to describe how I felt there. 

The experience of being nonbinary is an odd one. I’m in a society ruled by the binary gender system with ideas that they need to be divided and separated. I don’t really exist in that system as a nonbinary person. Even when I do find a singular room bathroom, it’s typically a handicap-accessible one, the special case where all genders are allowed to use the same bathroom.  

It doesn’t matter how new or old something is. I run down three flights of stairs to use the first-floor bathroom in Humanities Hall, I stand before two gendered doors in the new Center of Fine Arts building and I try to ignore the fact the bathroom by Einstein’s has a male sign. 

I’m not explicitly asking for “other” bathrooms to pop up across campus. I’m simply asking a question. Where the hell do I pee? 

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“Rose Davis is a non-binary writer for the Alabamian. Outside of the paper, they enjoy writing fiction about mice, looking at the squirrels, and art”