A 22-year-old Connecticut woman says she was harassed in a Walmart bathroom by a woman who thought she was transgender.
Aimee Toms posted a video on Facebook last week talking about her experience at the Walmart store in Danbury.
Toms, who lives in Naugatuck, told the Danbury News-Times she feels the incident occurred because of the North Carolina “bathroom bill,” which requires a person to use the public bathroom for the gender they were born as, not what they identify as.
“If it really takes me pulling up my shirt and showing someone I grew these boobs myself for them to leave me alone in a restroom, I don’t want to live on this planet anymore,” Toms, who has a short hair cut and was wearing a hat, wrote on Facebook. “This really lit a fire under my ass today.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Says the Woman Flipped Her Off & Told Her She Is ‘Disgusting’
Aimee Toms says in the video, which you can watch above, that she was at first confused when she was confronted in the Danbury Walmart bathroom on May 13.
Toms said the woman said, “you are not supposed to be here, you need to leave.”
The 22-year-old Naugatuck, Connecticut, resident said she replied, “Yes I do.” Toms said the woman then flipped her off, called her “disgusting” and stormed out of the bathroom.
“I realized when I was washing my hands, ‘holy s**t she just thought I was somebody who was transgender,” Toms says in the video.
“I don’t know if many of you know this, but you’ve probably used the bathroom with somebody who is transgender before,” Toms said in the video. “And there’s this really crazy idea that transgender people deserve equal rights as anyone else and that they should be able to use the bathroom that makes them feel comfortable with their gender identity.”
Toms did not report the incident. Walmart has not commented about it.
2. She Has Short Hair Because She Donates Her Locks to Help Make Wigs for Cancer Patients
Toms has a short pixie-style haircut. She recently donated her hair for a third time to a charity organization that makes wigs for cancer patients, she told the Danbury News-Times.
“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 told the newspaper. :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.”
3. She Says the North Carolina Law Has Caused a Fear of Transgender People
Toms told the Danbury News-Times that the North Carolina “bathroom bill” has created a fear of transgender people.
“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.”
“This same thing happened in the 1960s when black people wanted to use the same bathrooms as white people,” Toms said in the video. “This is nothing different. History repeats itself.”
4. There Have Been Other Incidents of Harassment of Women Since the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Was Passed
The North Carolina “bathroom bill” has led to other incidents of harassment around the country.
A Texas woman, Jessica Rush, posted a video to Facebook on April 28, showing a man follow her into the bathroom because the man thought she was transgender.
You can watch the video above.
“This guy came in the girls bathroom and followed me with his mother because he thought I was a male and wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to do anything to his mom,” Rush wrote. “Welcome to my world .. Trust me it’s not just a transgender problem.. This is just the first time I got video … Do you actually think I would choose this life?”
5. North Carolina & the Department of Justice Are Battling Over the Legality of the ‘Bathroom Bill’
The “bathroom bill,” formally known as House Bill 2 or HB2, battle is just beginning. The Department of Justice has claimed North Carolina is violating the Civil Rights Act, and is suing the state.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy has in turn sued the Justice Department, asking a judge to rule on the legality of the “bathroom bill.”
House Bill 2 was passed after the Charlotte city council adopted an ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom according to their gender identity. HB2 blocks Charlotte’s ordinance and any other local ordinances dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It also requires people in schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate, not their gender identity.