I was immediately surprised by what I saw. Her strong hands, her shaved head, and her broad shoulders. She stood before me in line, this handsome dyke.
I watched, unconcerned with who was looking at me, judging my presence in their sacred space. I belonged here. I was no longer the boy in the girl's bathroom. I was a part of a community. I stood proud; in admiration that she stood even prouder.
And then I noticed the others in line. They weren't staring at me or whispering about me. A welcome change. But everyone there was staring, staring at the handsome dyke in front of me in line. She absorbed the stares, protecting me by her very existence.
I felt I stood next to her, but really, I remained behind her; unreachable to the women ahead. I wish I could deflect the stares, that people would see me, and free her from this silent war. But I stood silently, enjoying my moment of peace. I relaxed, and mentally prepared myself for my next visit to the woman's restroom.
Because maybe next time, a girl will have just cut her hair, or just worn her first guy's outfit, and will be afraid to walk in the women's restroom, unable to handle the stares and the questioning. And I will stand proudly, so I can be that handsome dyke in front of her in line.
Jordan Rubenstein is Communications Associate at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York City. A nonprofit advocate and freelance writer, Jordan is passionate about social justice and equality. Jordan identifies as queer and genderqueer, and strongly believes in the fluidity of gender and sexuality.