We waited, at first, to see if someone would come by to take our order. Finally, the owner came by and queried as to what we wanted. As I spoke, I asked myself what was passing through his mind. Maybe he hadn't known I was transgender before I opened my mouth. It was certainly possible. I was quite certain he would after hearing me talk, though.
As they chatted, I passed to and from the conversation as I checked my phone compulsively. The world was changing around us as we sat there, and unlike them, I didn't have the privilege to ignore it.
I tried to stay engaged in the moment. There was nothing I could do, anyway. Still, as the musing continued, I finished my drink, and then the water in front of me. A 45 minute ride back to the city would follow, and one of my medications is a diuretic. Even though I knew what I needed to do, the burden had increased.
Finally, though, I steeled my resolve and walked away to void my bladder. I still had that option.
The state of North Carolina last evening passed HB2 of 2015, an act which in addition to some collateral damage of minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws would make it illegal for me to use the proper lavatory facilities in any state or school facility in their borders. More broadly, though, the local anti-discrimination laws which were struck would have also protected my ability to use the correct bathrooms in other public places.
The laws codify the gender on a birth certificate, so my Pennsylvania birth means that the surgery I plan to have when I figure out which rock I left the money under will entitle me again to the right facilities there. In that vein, my privilege shows again: I'm rather certain I'll eventually find a way to pay.
But the trend is now evident, and it points at an ugly future. It beckons the way to a world where I am expected to put myself in harm's way, in the path of people who would molest me because I am, and have been forced to be, accessible to them in moments where they might not otherwise be controlling their urges and impulses. It's not unique to me, either: a conservative estimate places the transgender population of just this country at over a million people.
Two interstates and a simple path of surface roads separated me from the bed I planned to end the night in, but the truth of the world weighed on me far more during the ride than the full bladder I'd traded for it had.