Based on true events, this story follows a tomboy who just needed to wash her hands – only to be harassed by a man in the women’s restroom.
A situation that is becoming all too common for trans, gender non-conforming, and masculine women.
“Are you supposed to be in here?” A man’s voice asks as I stand at the sink. I’d come into the restroom to wash my hands since I got dirt everywhere after one of my plants had tipped over in my cart.
I look up and stare at him through the mirror, seeing him standing behind me. “Yes? I’m just washing my hands… Why are you in here?”
“Well, because you don’t look like you belong in here,” he scoffs.
I pull out a paper towel from the dispenser, drying my hands. Then, before turning to look at him directly, I grab my phone from my coat pocket and press record. “You’re in a place where you don’t belong, checking if I belong here?”
His blank face turns irritated within a second as he closes the gap between us. “You look like a threat, and my wife needs to use the facilities. Do you honestly think I’d let her come in here to check if you’re a predator?”
I begin to shake as my blood begins to boil – anger and fear taking over in an instant. “So, you’re coming in here – where you do not belong – to check if I’m the predator? And how are you going to check?”
He frowns, his brows pulling together – making it clear that he’d not got that far into his plan. “Show me what you have,” he yells.
What? “Why do I need to show you what’s in my bag?”
“I don’t need to see what’s in your bag! I need to know what you have down there!” He roars, gesturing to my body.
I freeze. He continues shouting, and after what feels like an eternity goes by, a security guard and a staff member rush into the restroom.
The guard immediately gets between us, and the staff member puts her hands on my shoulders, asking if I’m okay. But I just stand there.
I ask to leave, and the employee walks out with me. Still shaking as I hear the security guard shouting at the man before he escorts him out.
“Get off my husband!” A woman cries, standing outside the restroom. “What are you doing?”
“You reported a man preying on women in the restroom; he’s the only man in there,” the security guard announces. Bystanders watch as the scene goes down.
“That’s the man!” The woman bellows, pointing at me.
The security guard and employee look at me, confused by her statement.
“I’m a girl, I’m just a tomboy,” I stammer.
“You don’t have to explain, sweetheart,” the employee announces, rubbing my back as she tries to soothe me. My eyes welling up, and my bottom lip shaking.
“He asked to see my genitals…” I scream. “He followed me into the restroom, and asked to see my genitals to make sure I’m not a predator.“
“No, I didn’t!” He roars, clenching his fists and taking a few steps toward me. The guard stops him.
I pull my phone out of my coat pocket. “I have the recording.” I continue shaking.
The employee takes my phone, looking at the device. “It’s been recording for five minutes.” She stops the recording, opens the gallery and rolls it back.
The man’s voice echoes around the store as people watch in horror as the video is played: “I don’t need to see what’s in your bag! I need to know what you have down there!”
The guard radios for backup before looking at me with a soft smile. “Would you like me to call the police?” The guard asks as two more security guards arrive swiftly.
“For what?” The man’s wife screams. “He did nothing wrong!”
“He followed someone into a restroom and harassed them! If we’d not gotten in there, would he have taken their No for an answer or would he have taken a look by force?” The employee shouts.
I nod at the guard. The two new guards take the husband and wife away, the pair screaming uncontrollably.
“Is there anything I can do for you, sweetheart?” The employee asks – my phone still in her hand.
I bob my head as tears stream down my face. “Can you call my mum, please? She’s waiting in the car outside. I just needed to buy some plants for my new garden trough that I got for my birthday,” I sob.
She nods and proceeds to call my mum.
“Is it your birthday today?” The guard asks.
“Yeah,” I whisper, still shaking and breathing unevenly.
“How old are you?” He asks, smiling. Trying to distract me from the situation that’s just unfurled.
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