Go To The Bathroom
Going to the bathroom in public makes Payton McGarry nervous now. He’s worried somebody will confront him. Or, worse, attack him. So before he leaves his apartment, he asks himself: “Have I drunk too much water today?”That’s because McGarry, a 20-year-old student at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, is a transgender man. But because his birth certificate says he’s female, North Carolina law says it’s illegal for him to use the men’s room at school. “I really try not to go to the bathroom at all,” McGarry said. “When I was still in school for the semester, I literally had to walk two buildings down to legally use the restroom, and that’s the kind of situation transgender people are being put in all over the place now.”See the most-read stories this hour >> On March 23, North Carolina became the first state in the country to ban people from using government-owned restrooms and locker rooms that don’t match the gender written on their birth certificates.Since then, transgender North Carolinians interviewed by the Los Angeles Times say that going to public bathrooms has become an inconvenience and a conundrum, a daily choice between risking their personal safety or breaking the law. Transgender women seem to have largely ignored the law for fear of being attacked or sexually assaulted in the men’s room. Some transgender men have gone into women’s rooms to avoid prosecution, or as a protest — to create the kind of awkward situations that conservative lawmakers had intended to avoid. Sara D. Davis / Getty Images A private men’s bathroom in Bull McCabes Irish Pub in Durham, N.C. A private men’s bathroom in Bull McCabes Irish Pub in Durham, N.C. (Sara D. Davis / Getty Images) Some transgender North Carolinians even plan their entire days around future bathroom trips or avoid public restrooms altogether, like McGarry, saying debate around House Bill 2 has brought a new climate of fear to the state. McGarry, who is suing the state and the University of North Carolina system over the bathroom bill, wants to be a lawyer someday, so he wants to follow the law. But between going to the men’s room where he fits in or going to the women’s room where he sticks out, the choice is clear.”This is a situation where I’m choosing between safety or breaking the law, and I’m going to choose my safety every time,” McGarry said. “So I go to the male restroom.”Join the conversation on Facebook >>North Carolina has become the epicenter of a national battle over transgender rights since the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance in February barring discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. State Republican lawmakers immediately recoiled — claiming Charlotte’s law allowed men and potential sexual predators into women’s bathrooms — and responded by passing House Bill 2, which also overrides local nondiscrimination packages like Charlotte’s.Bathrooms have long been a source of anxiety for transgender men and women whose gender transitions are in progress. As their appearances change, it can be difficult to know when it’s best to stop using one gender’s bathroom and start using another.Restrooms can even be dangerous. Seventy percent of transgender people have been attacked, harassed or denied access to a bathroom, according to a survey conducted in Washington, D.C., and published in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy in 2013.House Bill 2, which has drawn boycotts and lawsuits, has added institutional pressure to the mix. Chuck Liddy / News & Observer Lee Churchill shows her support for House Bill 2 during a rally behind the North Carolina General Assembly building in Raleigh in April. Lee Churchill shows her support for House Bill 2 during a rally behind the North Carolina General Assembly building in Raleigh in April. (Chuck Liddy / News & Observer) Ethan Mayo, 18, started his gender transition this year, and he struggled over the right time to switch bathrooms. He started using the men’s room at his Charlotte, N.C., high school when he started “getting more weird looks in the girls’ bathroom.””I didn’t want to feel out of place, I guess,” Mayo said.But House Bill 2 was passed not long after Mayo began using the men’s room, and he said another student complained. After a teacher quizzed him about his bathroom habits, Mayo said, the school’s administration quietly urged him to use a single-person restroom on campus. “I was just ticked off,” said Mayo, who was set to graduate Saturday. “I was kind of just hoping I could go as long as possible without getting caught. I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”The law has also been a source of worry for transgender North Carolinians who don’t have what’s often called “passing privilege” – the ability to not stick out as transgender. Before the law’s passage, using the men’s room came naturally to Joaquin Carcano, 27, an employee of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.Carcano has some facial hair. But, he said, “There’s definitely times I don’t pass.” Now, “there are times where I walk to the men’s restroom and before I went in, , ‘Oh, wait, this law exists, there are restrictions.’” Whitney Keller / Herald-Sun Protesters march against House Bill 2 in Chapel Hill, N.C., on March 29. Protesters march against House Bill 2 in Chapel Hill, N.C., on March 29. (Whitney Keller / Herald-Sun) Carcano didn’t want to risk losing his job, so he began using a gender-neutral bathroom in a hospital next to his workplace. He recently discovered that his building, which is six stories, has one single-use bathroom – in the basement, for maintenance staff.Carcano is now suing the state as part of the same lawsuit with McGarry. The head of the state’s university system, Margaret Spellings, said in May that she will not enforce the law until the lawsuit has been resolved.Schools aren’t the only danger zones. Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, uses the women’s restroom when he’s traveling in more conservative parts of the state because that’s the gender listed on his driver’s license.Many transgender people interviewed by The Times said they weren’t afraid of prosecution because House Bill 2 doesn’t specify a punishment for breaking the law. But Phoenix says that same ambiguity worried him.
Go To The Bathroom
Carcano didn’t want to risk losing his job, so he began using a gender-neutral bathroom in a hospital next to his workplace. He recently discovered that his building, which is six stories, has one single-use bathroom – in the basement, for maintenance staff.
Go To The Bathroom
But House Bill 2 was passed not long after Mayo began using the men’s room, and he said another student complained. After a teacher quizzed him about his bathroom habits, Mayo said, the school’s administration quietly urged him to use a single-person restroom on campus.
Go To The Bathroom
“I don’t pass well as a guy,” Phoenix said. What if a rural sheriff tried to arrest him for, say, indecent exposure at a public restroom? “If I get challenged, I need to be able to show that I have the correct driver’s license in order to be in the bathroom.”
August Branch, 25, of Greenville, has a full beard. But as a transgender man, he is legally supposed to use the women’s bathroom when he gives workshops on transgender issues at East Carolina University.
Word Origin & History bathroom 1780, from bath + room. Originally a room with apparatus for bathing, used 20c. in U.S. as a euphemism for a lavatory and often noted as a word that confused British travelers.
A video of an adorable snoring dormouse, deep in hibernation, has gone viral this week. English dormice sleep from October to April, and animals as diverse as squirrels, lemurs, and bears all hibernate for stretches of time during the year. Do hibernating animals wake up to go to the bathroom?
Hibernating bears, on the other hand, can go the whole winter without going to the bathroom. While bears are not the most serious of hibernators—they don’t sleep as deeply or lower their body temperature as many degrees as most other hibernating mammals—few animals can hold it in like bears. Many bears pass more than half of every year in hibernation, neither eating nor drinking any water. Hibernating mothers can even suckle their young without leaving their den for a drink. They obtain their water by metabolizing fat reserves, which does produce waste. However, instead of urinating and defecating, hibernating bears recycle that waste. Urea waste, which can be poisonous at high levels, is broken down to build proteins and used to maintain muscle and organ tissues during the long sleep. (While a bear may lose weight during the winter, it may also become more muscular.) The specific processes by which bears convert urea into muscle are still somewhat mysterious to researchers.
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