In the wake of North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2 (HB2) and Target's new inclusive bathroom policy, the use of public restrooms by transgender people has become a topic of national discussion.
From local business practices to celebrity Instagrams to sarcastic billboards, many have channeled both their outrage against the discriminatory bill and their support of the LGBTQ community into creative and meaningful forms of expression.
One of the latest to join their ranks is Joey Allison Sayers, a cartoonist whose work has appeared in MAD Magazine, Best American Comics 2011, and Best American Non-Required Reading 2005. She's also a trans woman who wishes her fellow bathroom goers would worry more about washing their hands than the biological sex of the person standing at the sink next to them.
"I felt compelled to make fun of the baseless fears that are being fed to people about trans folks," Sayers told A Plus via email. "It's completely ridiculous... Trans people and our allies have to speak louder than those trying to vilify us."
It's important to note that in this cartoon the transgender woman and the cisgender woman are drawn exactly the same. They both look like women because they both are women.
The trans woman also just happens to be Sayers' cartoon self. "I drew the trans woman like that because that's how I look — beautiful and badass," she said.
She also makes a beautiful and bad ass statement. "Trans women are women and trans men are men. We don't look any different than cisgender people," she said. "If we start policing how closely people conform to gender stereotypes, a lot more cisgender people are going to get caught in that net for not looking 'male enough' or 'female enough.'"
So there's a good chance you won't even need to wonder what you should do when a trans person enters a public bathroom — because you won't even know it.
It should be noted that a person transitioning to their desired gendered is not the same thing as someone dressing in drag. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either; they're just different. While many people dress in drag because they want to explore another gender, those who transition want to make a permanent change to the gender they were meant to be since birth.
However, when a transgender person has been identified in a public restroom, they're at a far greater risk of harassment than the cisgender person who identified them.
"I'm lucky in that I've never been harassed in a bathroom," Sayers said, "But far too many of us have."
In a poll of 93 trans people conducted by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 70 percent of respondents "reported experiencing being denied access to restrooms, being harassed while using restrooms and even experiencing some forms of physical assault."
But, as Sayers' comic proves, it doesn't have to be that way. A trans person is — first and foremost — a person.
And a bathroom is — first and foremost — just a bathroom. We all gotta go, which means that, occasionally, we all gotta go together.
"Bathrooms are places to go to the bathroom, that's it," Sayers told A Plus. "That's all the vast majority of us, whether transgender or cisgender, are trying to do."
"Trans people are not sexual predators or weirdos," she added. "We just want to pee, get out, and go back to whatever it was that we were doing that was definitely more interesting than being in a bathroom."
Maybe, if we can be as kind to each other as our cartoon counterparts, we can all pee in peace.