My freshman and sophomore year of high school, my mom sent me to a knee socks and kilts boarding school. I didn’t really fit in… but I had a side business altering kilts for people… if you sew the buttons on the outside of the waistband, it looks like the kilt is buttoned as intended… but then you can sew Velcro on the inside of the waistband, making the kilt instantly and endlessly adjustable… so it could be shortened up around the waist, and then quick-changed down to the hips to make it look longer when you see a staff member with a ruler, like a DUI checkpoint for slut-shaming kids. 

Anyway. My sophomore year, the school was gonna replace them kilts with some uuuuuugly ass jumpers that were one piece bib bullshit that couldn’t be hemmed… so, I started a petition. I got about two-hundred & fifty parents, faculty, staff, and students to sign the petition that we should get to keep our kilts or democratically vote on the replacement. My dorm counselor refused to sign it, and tried to laugh me out of her office. “Your husband signed it.” …”He WHAT?!” (Her husband taught history.)

So I had an appointment with the Dean of Girls because I was being disciplined for eating someone’s bagel out of the community refrigerator. She handed down my punishment for the bagel, and asked me if I had anything else I’d like to say, and I pulled out the petition and signatures and handed it to her. She was forced to acknowledge the petition at the next all school assembly, and the girls still wear kilts to this day. 

We need safe, sane, and legal menstrual hygiene products disposals in all of the bathrooms. The Church ain’t got nothin’ on Dean with a ruler. After sophomore year, I moved out on my own, bounced around a few public schools, and then dropped out and got my GED… not entirely unlike my organized Church Building journey.

“…

we’ve covered a wide variety of topics; and I appreciate your help with all of those questions. I have another important question to ask you which will take us in a vastly different direction from our previous messages, and I’m going to dive deeply, quickly into some information for context.

My Missouri driver’s license identifies my body as legally male. My Missouri birth certificate assigned my body as legally female at birth. The difference is the gender transition I have journeyed through in the forty-years time that those two legal documents were printed.

Everyone’s gender transition is different. I’m sure that your personal journey from youth, to your experience as a legal adult male, was very different from mine. Many people I’ve spoken with, who were also assigned female at birth (AFAB), have taken similar but different steps in the process of transitioning. It’s a wide and varied spectrum of what’s possible (sometimes it’s an accessibility issue: having the financial access, or having care providers who are willing and able to help, or physically being somewhere it isn’t a life-threatening risk) and what’s necessary (just like cisgender men, Transmasculine & Non-binary people don’t have a uniform set of requirements for feeling comfortable in our bodies). 

During my medical transition, I have taken testosterone, but have declined surgical intervention. This summer, I have been slowing my testosterone injections to ween my body off the prescribed dose. After several years of HRT, my physical presentation has reached a point that I feel more comfortable when I look in the mirror & the way the world communicates with me feels more authentic, and I no longer have access to a medical provider, so I’m at a pause point on pursuing more treatment. 

This brings me to the reason I’m contacting you, and the reason for providing so much personal information to give you the context. Since I have declined surgical intervention, I still have a fully functional menstrual system; however, I use the men’s restroom, and I will no longer have the medically heightened testosterone which halted my menstrual cycle in recent years.

I have spent the summer in Arkansas, but I’m often within driving distance of the [Church Building] campus. I have had a hankering to go to the Wednesday night service more than once, but I have an important safety concern when I think about that attendance. 

There are typically small waste disposal bins in the stalls in women’s restrooms, but I didn’t see similar receptacles when I used the men’s room at [Church Building]. I am concerned that if I am menstruating when I attend Wednesday night service at [Church Building], there isn’t a way to dispose of menstrual hygiene products which would be in keeping with health codes, and basic decency. 

My personal experience in similar situations, early in my transition, before I started testosterone, didn’t leave a lot of great options. Typically, I had to wrap the biohazard in an excessive amount of toilet paper, wait until the restroom was empty (which often required a very long wait, made me late to university classes and meetings), hide the biohazard somewhere up my sleeve or in my pocket—in case anyone walked in—and then quickly use the trash can in the main area between the sink and the door which is most often used for paper towels. The large congregation who attends [Church Building] doesn’t leave a lot of breaks in foot traffic in the bathroom, so that undesirable option doesn’t even seem possible, and would likely mean I would spend the entire worship service sitting on the toilet. It’s also not a great solution in the first place. 

My son is 17. As a parent, I would not be thrilled with him being exposed to improperly disposed biohazard while he was in youth group, just because I had to use the bathroom when The Chapel was the designated overflow seating during the height of the pandemic social distancing… or simply because a parent might need to use the restroom when picking kids up from youth group.

I’m not entirely sure how to condense all of that information, and those concerns, into a specific question. But the large head count in the auditorium during any service at [Church Building] says it’s statistically impossible that I’m the only person with this safety concern, and I guess I’m just asking if you might be able to help, please. 

Thanks again for all of your kindness and help thus far,

….”

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

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