After months of lockdown stress, I decided to treat myself to an afternoon of pampering at a health spa. I felt sure my anxiety-ridden bones would benefit from a nice long soak in some warm, soothing, vitamin-infused waters. I convinced myself that a deep massage, followed by a detoxifying celery juice smoothie would exorcise my inner demons and factory reset my mind’s iOS to pre-COVID levels of tranquility.

Oh, dear reader, how wrong I was. For I had omitted to include the torrent of anti-trans bigotry I would encounter at the spa. As traumatic as it is, I shall relive my experience for you here so that it may never be repeated.

As a trans woman, I am no stranger to uneducated TERFs and their ‘gender critical’ ignorance. Their high-school-biology-level of insistence that women are ‘adult human females’, coupled with the toxic attitude that females deserve the right to their own spaces for ‘safeguarding reasons’ is emotionally violent and physically harmful towards male-bodied females like me. Nevertheless, I admit that even I was not prepared for the terrifying ordeal into which I was about to unwittingly step.

I arrived at the Mindfulnest Spa with high expectations of a spiritually relaxing experience. I checked myself in at the desk for their ‘Simply Soak’ and ‘Rub-Me-Gud’ packages and was impressed when the receptionist asked me what pronouns I use. Well, what she actually did was clock my vibrant shade of lip gloss and while jotting down my details carefully inquired, ‘Erm…are you a “Sir” or a “Madam”?” but that was good enough for me (although I noted she made no accommodation for nonbinary individuals, and I made a mental note to report her before leaving the premises).

I made my way to the women’s changing area so that I could undress in preparation for my probiotic soak. Probiotics are beneficial for women’s health, restoring and promoting the natural balance of friendly bacteria in the vaginal passage, and I was looking forward to the positive effect they would have on my ‘outy’. I removed my clothes and after performing a few lunges to loosen up my chakra I was about to don my spa robe…when suddenly I felt very vulnerable. I could sense eyes upon me. I turned slightly and was horrified to discover every trans woman’s nightmare: the perverted stare of a bigoted child, eye-raping my ball-bag. Even worse than that was the young girl’s mother, also gawping (almost hungrily it seemed to me) at my female penis.

I hurriedly snatched up my clothes, running back into the reception area. The assault I had just experienced had left my mind in tatters. I’d forgotten I was still naked and instead of picking up my clothes I’d mistakenly grabbed the child’s Tickle-Me-Elmo doll which to add insult to injury had begun to laugh hysterically. The foyer was filled with people, each one of them assaulting my genitals with their uneducated faces. The mother came running into the foyer with her depraved six-year-old child in tow, no doubt eager for another glance at my womanly scrotum. To my abject horror the mother lunged at me and I screamed, recoiling from her rapey fists, absolutely stunned that she would sexually abuse me in front of an audience, when I realized she was snatching back her child’s doll.

She was enraged and shouting obscenities, accusing ME of assaulting HER and her daughter! I felt so insulted by this I almost burst into tears, when thankfully a brave hipster wokebro stepped forward and covered my ladysack with his man-bag. ‘Stop right there,’ he said to the hysterical mother. ‘This stunning and brave trans woman was using the locker room to air her female schlong and you and your child decided to attack her in a sexual way with your conservative faces. You should be ashamed and subsequently ousted from society for your violent invasion of this fragile female penis owner’s privacy.’ The woman stopped shouting and just stood there, being intolerant. Her child glared at the floor, uneducatedly.

To my surprise, one by one, the other people in the foyer started clapping. The receptionist came out from behind the desk and told the women and her child that she had already called the police and they were sending a squad car to arrest them both for ocular violation of a trans woman’s penis. I felt so relieved. My faith had been restored. I was so happy, my Joan Thomas was partially erect, but NOT, and I have to stress this, NOT in a sexual way.

So that was my experience. Traumatic but with a bittersweet ending. I never will get the look on the face of that TERF child as she gazed wantonly at my junk out of my head. It left me afraid. I can no longer risk going near an elementary school in case I am triggered by the sight of another lecherous demon spawn. But at the same time, I feel blessed to have been surrounded that day by Good People. People who understood that my safety was the most important thing, and that it is simply not acceptable for a mother and her daughter to be staring at another woman’s penis in a female locker room.

I still reported the receptionist, however. There’s no excuse for nonbinary exclusion.