Saturday, May 30, 2009

bathroom issue

what the hell is wrong with girls like us using comfort rooms that are and should be for us? i really can't think why some women are insecure and think we don't belong in that facility.

in a related incident, i was given a verbal warning by the HR of my company, they said someone reported that i had been using the female restroom. our dialogue went something like this:

HR: we have received a report that you have been using the female restroom... we know this is a delicate issue to discuss but we hope you understand (company's name)'s position in this matter.

ME: yes, i am aware of what you are saying, however, i also hope YOU understand my condition. i am transgendered and is transitioning. even though my papers indicate that i am MALE, that does not constitute my being female or not. i am living as a woman, that is why i use the comfort room for women. and even if my papers say male, it can still be otherwise, given my condition and situation. if you ask me to prove to you that i am female that would be against some rights at some level.

HR: yes, we know about your condition, however, technically speaking, we still have to follow company policies.

ME: i know it's a norm that if you are born male, you have to use the male restroom and if you are born female, the female restroom, but referring to policies, i just read here in the contract, and there is nothing saying that it is not allowed. i also don't know of any regulations forbidding such.

HR: just to be on the safe side, we are requesting you to use the male restroom.

ME: i thank you for the suggestion, but my using the male restroom defeats the whole purpose of my transition and my expression that i am a woman. i would prefer NOT to use any restrooms whatsoever.

HR: but of course we consider your health and we understand that you need to relieve yourself from time to time...

ME: then i would go out of the office and find a public restroom.

HR: but that would be inconvenient on your part.

ME: using the male restroom is inconvenient for me. i know it is inconvenient for male users as well, and personally, i don't feel comfortable using the male restroom because i might get affronted.

HR: we understand that, as for the users, we can let it be known that you are still considered as male

ME: excuse me? i prefer that you do not. i just told you that i am in the process of transitioning, and that means i am working on changing my gender and sex on my papers.

HR: if you can provide any proof or documentations saying such, we may consider on giving you special privileges.

ME: then we'll have to see. i again thank you for the suggestion and concern for my health, but again i would be stressing that i will not use the male restroom.

what gets me is that i make it a point that when i use the female restroom, no one is inside and no one sees me. if there is someone in one of the stalls, i quickly get inside and wait for her to finish and get out after her. i feel someone other than other agents, female agents to be exact reported me.

i have been a victim of harassment from a guard in the building. the first incident was when i was about to enter the production floor, he scanned me using the scanner and then asked me what i was holding in my hand (i was trying to get my phone inside, it was hidden inside my pashmina shawl) but what was shocking was he referred to me as 'SIR'! i asked him to repeat his question and he did and i told him that i was not a 'sir' and that i was a 'ma'am' and i was holding tissue and my shawl. he then asked loud enough for the other people to hear, 'ma'am ka?' i shouted yes and stormed off. my supervisor was kind enough to reprimand the guard because i felt discriminated and harassed.

i thought he would learn his lesson but another time when i just got to the office, he inspected my bag and before he did so he asked me, 'pacheck ng bag, sir.' so i asked him, AGAIN, 'ano po yun?', to which he answered, 'pacheck ng bag.'

i swear, the third time he harasses and discriminates me and insults me, i will report him and bring it to whoever so he will be removed from our floor. i also feel it was him that reported me because before i was given the verbal warning, he saw me get out of the female restroom.

this is my dilemma now: it seems the hr is not sensitive to my situation, we also don't have an hr director as of the moment. my supervisor, who is very open-minded and supportive, gave me options: one, use the restroom at the first flloor, i just have to tell him so i can get a five minute break; two, use the female restroom and if someone reports me again, he will help me with the consequence. he also offered to talk with the site manager about it, however, since we have a chain of command, we have to go through with the operations manager, and that person is not that reliable. he said as well if i can provide any documentation saying why i need to use the female restroom or anything about my condition, he will back me up.

so, transpinays, some may think this is just a small insignificant thing, but as we discussed time and again, why not start small, right? i now need your help. please give me suggestions on what i can do so i can get my issue with the restroom resolved. as for the guard, i am waiting for one more incident just to give him the benefit of the doubt, but one more slip and i will report him.

waiting and hoping,

*~this was my post in our yahoogroup. i unfortunately experienced discrimination from ignorant people in my office. i have talked about this with pau and dee about this and i am prepared to fight, however, recent domestic changes forced me to put this on hold. once i get back, or if i get back, i'll forward this to the appropriate people so that my voice can be heard and that girls that will follow my footsteps will not be afraid to stand up. stand up!

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