The Gleaner

Finding community in womanhood

It’s been a hard, and at times really scary year to be a woman or AFAB (assigned female at birth) person. From the overturning of Roe v Wade sparking new conversations about access to reproductive healthcare, to trans women being banned from bathrooms, to the fact that once every two days a woman is killed in an act of femicide in this country, it all feels quite heavy.

In moments like these, I am reminded that to be a woman or AFAB person is to be born into a community of people who have had to support each other for generations. Who show up and hold space for each other when others won’t.

One of the places I feel most connected to this community is within the walls of a woman’s bathroom. I’ve heard all the jokes. Why do you always go in packs? Is it furnished in there? You’re only really going to gossip, right? But I promise you, it is a truly magical place. A place where I’ve hidden from threats from outside. Laughed with strangers and felt a kind of connection that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. Saved someone and been saved from an unexpected menstrual attack. There’s nothing more intimate.

And to clarify, because unfortunately we have to women’s bathrooms are welcome to trans women and non-binary/gender non-conforming people who feel safest using them.

On International Women’s Day, I want to remember the people we have lost along the way. And,in particular, highlight that women whose identities live at the intersection of womanhood and queerness, disability, racial marginalization, class, etc, have had an even heavier load to carry. But I also want to express gratitude for the women in my life, and celebrate the community we can find in places as common as a public washroom.

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