After commenting here http://paula-paulasplace.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-should-read-my-own-blog.html that I had to use the ladies loo to make a quick change of hosiery a few people have commented on the "forbidden area" of the "Ladies" Now I know that for many of us this is a difficult area, should we use the restroom of our physical gender or match our presentation. I also know that in certain places (I am thinking initially of an incident in a MacDonalds in the US) where a girl like me could get into trouble just for using the loo.
When I first started to go out properly just over a year ago this was a big concern for me as well. I was gradually pushing my envelope of comfort, e.g. I was comfortable in the clothes I was wearing but not wearing them out. The persona that is now called Paula slowly emerged, initially she was very nervous, as her skills with makeup ad putting together an appropriate outfit improved, her confidence and her time out increased. At first I would try to find gender neutral loos when I needed one, but there is an increasing trend for the only gender neutral loos to be the disabled ones, I would use these and feel a little guilty, but then I started to find a lot of these were locked, and a member of staff had to be asked for a key!
I well remember the first time I had to use the Ladies, driving back from Cardiff I had stopped at a small Motorway service for a coffee. I was far enough from home that I would not make it that far without ruining my car seat, I had to pee. I was pretending that I was on my way to a party in London, that is I was dressed up to the nines, LBD, sparkly dangley earrings, high heels, and the full slap, I had noticed a couple of people checking me out, but the services were pretty quiet. I reasoned that I had to use either the Gents or the Ladies, who would be most freaked out any men in the Gents finding me standing next to them in a mini dress or a woman finding me washing my hands. With this reasoning it became a no brainer. I used the Ladies.
When I had finnished doin what had to be done, I quietly exited the stall and washed my hands, while drying them a lady approached me, obviously I was nervous, but without reason. She just wanted to tell me how good she thought I looked, and to tell me of her support for what I was doing. I was over whelmed, and I would probably not have had this encounter if I had not used the ladies. Since then I have always used the restroom appropriate to how I am dressed.