A cisgender woman from Connecticut says she experienced firsthand the discrimination that many transgender people face when she was verbally assaulted in a bathroom.
On Friday, 22-year-old Aimee Toms was in a Walmart bathroom when she says that a stranger asked her to leave.
"You are not supposed to be here. You have to leave," the woman said, according to Toms. "You're disgusting."
After the woman left the bathroom, Toms realized that she had been perceived as transgender because of her short hair. Toms previously donated some of her hair to a nonprofit organization that creates free wigs for cancer patients.
"I've had people call me all sorts of names for having short hair. I've had people call me a boy, I've had people call me a dyke, I've had people call me gay." Toms told local publication The Danbury News Times. "I'm grateful that that woman only called me disgusting and didn't physically attack me… I was a victim of transphobia today as a cisgender female because my hair is short."
She tied the woman's unexpected outburst to the ongoing national conversation regarding North Carolina's House Bill 2, which prohibits people from using the public restrooms intended for the gender they identify as.
Toms criticized North Carolina's bill in a Facebook video discussing the Walmart incident. She said that the law's actual purpose is not protecting children, as proponents suggest, but instead calls to mind the bathroom bigotry civil rights activists fought against decades ago.
"I don't care if you think it's unnatural," Toms said. "I don't care if you think it's a mental issue — which it isn't. I don't care if it makes you uncomfortable. These people are who they are, and they are not going to change themselves to make you comfortable."
After her video went viral, Toms wrote on Facebook that she was felt "absolutely amazed & humbled at the response I've received from this."