Woman mistaken for transgender harassed in Walmart bathroom

From News Times:  http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Woman-mistaken-for-transgender-harassed-in-7471666.php#photo-10075102

By Matt DeRienzo
Monday, May 16, 2016

DANBURY – Aimee Toms was washing her hands in the women’s bathroom at Walmart in Danbury Friday when a stranger approached her and said, “You’re disgusting!” and “You don’t belong here!”

After momentary confusion, she realized that the woman next to her thought – because of her pixie-style haircut and baseball cap – that she was transgender.

 Toms believes the incident happened because of the national controversy sparked by a law that was passed in North Carolina attempting to force transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they were identified as at birth. Since then, religious conservatives have launched a boycott of Walmart competitor Target, which has said transgender people are welcome to use its bathrooms freely. Nationally, Walmart has been silent on the issue.

Toms, a 22-year-old from Naugatuck who works at a retail store in the Bethel-Danbury retail area around Walmart, posted a video “rant” about her experience on Facebook Friday that had been viewed more than 12,000 times by Sunday evening.

“After experiencing the discrimination they face firsthand, I cannot fathom the discrimination transgender people must face in a lifetime,” she said. “Can you imagine going out every day and having people tell you you should not be who you are or that people will not accept you as who you are?”

Toms said on Sunday that she isn’t embarrassed talking about someone mistaking her for male, just upset that the North Carolina law has emboldened people like the woman she encountered.

“I think this is all just a response. No one was telling these people to be scared of transgender people before. No one was telling them that they should be throwing people out of bathrooms,” Toms said. “As if it wasn’t scary enough for transgender people to use the bathroom before.”

Besides being a pretty normal choice of style for women, Toms’ has a short haircut because she recently donated hair – for the third time – to a program that makes wigs for child 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 said. “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.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Woman-mistaken-for-transgender-harassed-in-7471666.php#photo-10075102

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