Paris Lees

What It Feels Like for a Girl

Did Paris tell you how she lost her virginity?

Did I tell you how I lost my virginity to an old man in a public toilet on my 14th birthday? It sounds awful, doesn’t it? Like I was being taken advantage of? I suppose I was. I was also determined, though, to enter the adult world – and I’d worked out that men who lingered around public toilets were up to no good. In I’d go, school uniform on, and, err… out I eventually came, smelly and with a smile on my face. I discovered power in toilets. Having something the grown ups wanted, the dirty old buggers. I liked it. I liked boys. Toilets and rent boys – my introduction to all things queer.

I have no idea if the baby gays of today still meet in public lavatories because everyone and their pug seems to be online now. We had Gaydar when I was a tween but it hadn’t quite replaced the joys of urinal love. It would be a shame if it did. You see I had lots of fun in loos, as a chicken – but less so as a chick with a... well, less so as a trans woman. I remember feeling uncomfortable in ladies’ loos, early in my transition. Did those women mind me peeing in the cubicle next door; did they suspect that I was born male? Luckily it’s never been a problem for me though I have friends who’ve been bounced out of loos by bigoted club security. It boils my piss – but then shit happens, in toilets.

In February a trans woman was attacked in the toilets at Leeds University. A year earlier, Chrissy Lee Polis was dragged from the ladies’ in McDonalds, Baltimore, and beaten by two girls (in plain view of McDonald’s staff) until she had a seizure. You can see why trans people might avoid public toilets... why I have a female-to-male friend who only feels safe using disabled facilities... why, if you see a trans person in the street, they’re probably walking around with a painful, piss-filled bladder. No one told you about that, did they?

Photo Paris by Ryan Harding

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