I remember the trembling fear that engulfed my body. I would hold my pee for hours; I normalized lower belly pain because it was less uncomfortable than choosing a bathroom. It was a constant dance, one that consumed my mind and eclipsed my lessons: how to be able to pee, when to pee and where.
There was a boys’ bathroom on a lower floor, for second graders, that I figured was less risky than the fourth-grade one, because those kids wouldn’t know me, or think that I wasn’t supposed to be in there. I didn’t question why bathrooms were segregated, I just felt, in my tensed muscles, that being caught in the “wrong one” would be deeply shameful, humiliating, disgusting.