Locker rooms & anxiety

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
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Locker rooms & anxiety

Unread post by confusedhuman »

I got my second shot a little over 2 weeks ago, so things are slowly starting to return to normal. I have a younger sibling who's not yet fully vaccinated so still not completely back to normal (and also just I'm definitely going to be more cautious and try to limit any sort of close encounters with people I don't know well more than I would have pre-covid).
I'm just worried about how gender is going to function for me when I'm out in the world again. In an ideal world, there would be gender-neutral options for everything, but we don't live in an ideal world, so I'd like to go with women's bathrooms and the like because they make me less uncomfortable. One thing in particular that's been bothering me is what to do locker-room wise at the pool because it being a locker room and with the way that specific one is designed (at least the men's one idk why the women's would be different) you're naked in front of other people. I'm not really worried about people seeing my junk because my attitude is more or less "it's just a part of my body", but I am kinda worried about how people might react. I worry about playing into the conservative fabrication of the man who's going to go in women's bathrooms in an attempt to see them naked, especially being alloaro and past issues with that. I'm not really that worried about somebody saying that I might have wandered into the wrong bathroom or someone knowing I'm trans saying I need to leave, both of those would suck but I could handle them. The thing I really am worried about is the performative liberal type, because where I am there are quite a lot of them. I've run into a lot of them at school, they're the ones who think they're all open and progressive because they got your pronouns right on only the fourth try and kinda hesitate whenever they're around you and always give you weird looks.
I'm also kinda large down there which really doesn't help, it kinda adds to my nerves about being seen as doing this for sex (I'm fine with my body I just worry about others not sharing that). I can't think of any really good solutions because you can't exactly make it less conspicuous when it's just there. So yeah, any suggestions?
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Re: Locker rooms & anxiety

Unread post by Elise »

Hi confusedhuman, firstly, congratulations on being vaccinated! Secondly, I'd just like to say that I'm sorry that we still live in a society where trans and gender diverse people have to manage other's discomfort around accessing facilities that conform to their gender identity, despite this access being their right! You're right that gender neutral bathrooms and changing facilities should be the norm everywhere. It is not fair that this is not yet our reality, I'm sorry this is something that you have to deal with.

You have obviously been thinking about your safety, and the scenarios that unfortunately may arise, which is important part of looking after yourself. Hopefully we can provide some useful and practical tips that can assist. Here are some ideas below, noting I am answering from Australia (and I think you are in the US?), where the usual layout of public change rooms etc. might be a bit different, so just let me know if some of these wouldn't really apply.

1) Does your swimming pool have a separate accessible locker room/bathroom designed for wheelchair users and people living with disabilities? As these spaces are already gender neutral (as they are usually designed to be used by one person at a time) and often contain all the facilities offered in gendered the bathrooms/changing areas combined, many places are using these spaces as a gender neutral option as an interim measure. You could speak to the front desk or their general contact email address if you feel comfortable to ask to find out what their policy is on this, and if this is something they haven't thought of, then encourage them to do so. The room should not require a key to enter (although some do) so you should be able to just walk in and use it.

2) Do the locker rooms contain cubicles for showers and/or toilets? The women's locker rooms I've been in tend to have both and at least always the toilet ones, and many people get changed in there because they aren't comfortable with being naked in front of other people for various reasons.

3) A trick I learned from being in spaces where nudity in front of each other in changing rooms wasn't normalised (change rooms at a very conservative school) and where time was of the essence for getting changed - wearing your bathers/swim trunks etc. under your clothes as your underwear makes it quite easy for the getting into the pool, as you just remove the clothes on top and go.

Getting changed back depends on clothing, if you're wearing jeans or similar then the shower or toilet cubical is best here. If you like to wear skirts or dresses, they come into their fore here, as you can put them on over your bather bottoms, then change the bathers out.

4) You mentioned in this thread and others that the size of your penis causes you discomfort. Is this more about how you personally feel or about other's perception? We can chat about gender expression gear here that can assist with tucking and smoothing the area, but only if this is something you would want for yourself in terms of gender expression.

Finally, I'd just like to emphasise the importance of self care and having the opportunity to decompress in spaces where you can feel like you can be your authentic self. Changing the way you'd usually go about doing things in public spaces for the comfort of others and feeling worried about other's reactions can be stressful, even if it is the safest thing for yourself. If you'd like some tips on this, we'd also be very happy to help.
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