The great bathroom debate of 2016 — that’s the one where people are waaaaaaay too concerned with where transgender people pee — has gotten out of hand. From people posting fake photos to stoke the fires of hatred to a family marching through Target to call the company out for being “sinners,” to actual assaults on people just trying to use the restroom, the issue has become a cultural battleground. This week, cancer survivor Christy Salcedo stepped up to offer her own view on the matter. She shed light on how people who don’t possess the “body type” most-often associated with womanhood might get caught in the crossfire.
In a post that’s received a massive outpouring of support, Christi Salcedo posted a picture of her chest and invited everyone to look at it, not just to show the general public how cancer attacks the body, but to make clear that what’s going on in bathrooms — the suspicion, the anger, and the assaults — is not okay for any of us.
Here’s the photo Salcedo posted:
And here are the accompanying words (which you can also read by going to her Facebook page):
It’s time I said this. Take a good hard look at my chest. Don’t feel weird doing it. There is nothing sacred or sexual left to see.
What is there for you to see is a hollowed arm pit. Breast cancer spreads first to your underarm lymph nodes. Seeing as mine was under my left arm, they removed all of my lymph nodes & a lot of tissue. You may also note an incision that is disfigured as this kept opening up post surgery.
While I can see that the pink ribbon brings comfort to some… I want you to know that breast cancer is ugly. It’s not an easy or a glam cancer to have. In fact cancers are one & the same to me. Cells run wild. Immune system compromised.
It robbed me of a precious part of myself that I once nourished my children with. It took away part of my sexual identity. Now that’s if we’re just talking about my breasts or my former breasts I’ll say.
When I chose to not have reconstruction it was for many reasons but most importantly it was because my children had seen me down enough. I wanted them to see me strong again. I wanted them to have their Mother they knew.
Until recently I have been very comfortable with my decision. However… The great bathroom debate of 2016 has hurt more than just the transgender community.
It has hurt us survivors. Recently I notice more eyes trying to figure me out. At the grocery store, restaurants … Walmart was the worst. I want to scream, YES! You are seeing it right! This is Breast Cancer… Please check yourself!’ But instead I let my eyes meet theirs in an almost plea for a change in what has become our society.
I am personally of the belief that no transgender person wants to cause trouble in a bathroom. People just want to use the restroom. There have been terrible acts happening in public restrooms long before this. This is why my children never use a public restroom without me. You don’t have to agree with me & I don’t have to agree with you. It’s ok.
Persons undergoing cancer treatment or post cancer treatment may lack hair & wear a baseball hat. They may have undergone a mastectomy like myself. Please consider these things. Rant over.
Salcedo’s message is especially important as the debate grows nastier by the day. People have been applauded for threatening to injure those going into restrooms that “they don’t look like they belong in” and a woman was harassed in a Walmart restroom because she had short hair and was wearing a baseball cap. The reason her hair had been shaved off? She had just donated it to to a charity that makes wigs for people suffering from cancer.
Will Salcedo’s post inspire a change in thinking? We can certainly hope so. If nothing else, let her powerful words remind you that judging others, especially in a public bathroom at Target (an unlikely place for an assault) is not the way to show peace, love, and goodwill towards your fellow humans.