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Photos that Confront the Fear and Anxiety of Peeing While Trans

"I just want to pee, wash my hands, check if I have food in my teeth, and leave without being harassed."

Business as usual. Photos by Jackie Dives

It's 2016, and peeing while trans is still generally viewed as a political activity. If it's happening in a public washroom, legislators want to know it, schools are trying to rebrand it, and at least one Alberta mom attempted to rap about it.

All of this never-ending debate can feel pretty fucking strange, considering trans people are just doing the same things as everybody else in there. That there isn't competing outrage over sounds, smells and soap availability is anybody's guess.

It's frankly no wonder trans activist Jack Fox has spent a decade scouting out every non-gendered toilet in his city. Even though Fox says he "reads" as male, the the fear of harassment in the "men's room" still lingers. "I was so nervous to use a public washroom for fear of being attacked or verbally harassed, I would often wait all day until returning home to go," he told VICE of his early transition days. "Some days I waited up to 16 hours, being strategic as to what I drank or ate so I did not need to use the toilet."

Fox recently teamed up with Vancouver photographer Jackie Dives on a photo series that confronts those anxieties and the transphobia that causes them. It pairs photos of non-binary people having a chill time in public stalls with personal stories of dealing with assumptions and hate. To mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, we've publish a selection of them here.

"Nobody told me that once I 'passed,' I would still be searching for 'the ideal washroom,' mainly one that is loud enough so nobody can hear that I'm peeing in the stall."

"Before I transitioned, it was daunting. It's scary having all these men twice your size peering at you like an oddity."

"I just want to pee, wash my hands, check if I have food in my teeth and leave without being harassed."

"The best is having a complete stranger look over the cubicle just to see you have the right parts! Not to mention the times the door has been kicked in."

"Being told to use the handicapped washroom at my school made me feel like there was something wrong with me, that there needed to be something fixed, which there really wasn't."

"To this day despite passing 100 percent of the time I still prefer a gender neutral washroom."

"Growing up using the 'ladies room' I would repeatedly be asked 'are you in the right place?'"

"The hateful people of the world have certainly found a space to feel safe and be more visible than ever. Which means the rest of us need to come out and be equally as visible."

Follow Sarah Berman on Twitter.

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