I never cut the hair on my head. It’s a Sikh tradition but if I think about why, it’s a lot more simple. There are good reasons. There is Oak Creek. There is the tradition of Guru Gobind Singh. There are religious reasons. But for me, I just made a choice a long time ago.
“You know what we do to girls in here, “ the grown man said. “This is the men’s room,” another added. “Ladies room is on the other side,” added a third. I didn’t I was 7.
With my long curly hair, soft blue eyes, and high-pitched voice, who knew where I stood. I just looked into the mirror. I tried to adjust my turban for the 2nd hour. I was stuck. My limited mobility made it hard to get the hair out of my face. The week before, I broke my wrist . The doctor made a little more coin by running the caste to my bicep. It made it impossible to bend at the elbow which was important to tying my hair back.
I had been in the airport for 6 hours. Maybe the harassment was more preferable to the boredom.
I am not sure why they left me there but I was happy. Whatever toilet these animals belonged in, it certainly wasn’t for me. I resolved to camp out there until I figured it out. I thought about just going into the ladies room “where I belonged” but that was a cop out. I wasn’t quite wise enough to sneaker monkey yet.
So I just stayed right there. Trying to tie my hair back in some way.
I got a few lessons from that day. First, don’t discriminate based on what you see. Second, if you are going to not meet expectations, you better fight for your place. Third, every rejection can make you wiser.
When the transgender bills popped up over the last few years, I couldn’t help but remember the experience. What it all boils down to is don’t be a jerk. You don’t know whats really going on with people, so just leave them alone.
People came and went and eventually some stranger stopped and tied my turban for me. It looked so ridiculous. I learned two more things that day. One, eventually a good person will show up if you wait long enough. Two, most people have no idea what a turban should look like, so it doesn’t much matter if it looks ridiculous.