Tom, Your Neighborhood Citizen Lobbyist

I haven't been to the gym for almost 2 weeks due to having no idea how to navigate the locker rooms. Since I'm no longer able to use the women's locker room I've been in a state of gym limbo, where I developed a temporarily satisfactory go-to-gym-IN-gym-outfit plan. But that plan doesn't always work out. For instance, if I'm out somewhere where I can't just hang out in my gym outfit, I need to pack my outfit and having somewhere to change is important - or at the least having somewhere to put my stuff.

I have walked into the men's locker room twice now - once with my dad - and only made it as far as the restroom before I backed out with my heart thudding in my chest.

NOT having a locker room to go to at the gym - or somewhere to safely change - is a problem.

I keep meaning to bring myself to get the manager's attention and talk to him privately about my situation and if they have a restroom somewhere I could use to change. But every time I get close to doing so, he's either darting around looking busy or surrounded by other employees. I haven't gotten up the nerve yet, which is surprising to me.

It's important to me to be open and out. I also have the right like any other gym-goer to have access to a safe locker room. I'm pretty sure that he would react well. BUT, since I haven't been able to talk to him yet, I've been making preparations to work out from home. Which, despite being a more lonesome work out endeavor, is working out so far.

I'm giving P90X a go. Which is probably for the best. I have a pull-up bar and some resistance bands. And I don't feel like I have to wear a binder at home.

Citizen Lobbyist Training

Earlier tonight I went to Equality Utah's Citizen Lobbyist training up at the Capital. It was a pain to find since my friend and I had absolutely no idea where the auditorium was located (we were wandering around in the wrong building for about 10 minutes - and bumped into three other people who were also lost). We had bicycled up and entered through the front entrance - right smack into some privately reserved wedding reception.

Eventually and after many round-a-bout circles we found an open door that led to a hallway that led to a cracked door with the lights on. I knocked and a guy inside told us to come in. Boom! And there we were, standing in a senator's office who happened to be working late. I asked him if he knew where the auditorium was and he informed me that we're in the wrong building. He provided us directions and about 10 minutes later and gaining access to "employee-only" entrances we finally found it. Gadz!

I suspect that people driving cars went a different route and through a different entrance near a parking lot that made it easier to find for them.

Whining aside, all the strenuous hunting paid off.  Most of the training focused on demystifying our representatives and lobbying. A lot of reminders that "They're just people. Farmers. Single moms. Business owners. Don't be intimidated.", and pounding in that friendly e-mailing, letter writing and meeting face-to-face to share how certain bills or issues personally affect you are frequently brought up by the representatives as real-life examples on the floor and peer-to-peer.

It was encouraging and insightful.

Other Updates

Earlier today when I called about changing my cell phone plan the employee on the other end read my voice as male. For a little over two months now I've noticed that when speaking to strangers the whole gender thing has been avoided until they pull up account information with the name "Melanie", then they use feminine pronouns. BUT today, despite pulling up my account number, he used masculine pronouns.

A few weeks ago my brother and I had to visit one of my phone provider's locations. My brother joined me at the counter as I corresponded with the employee, who was referring to me in masculine pronouns and also by various names such as "Boss", "Sir", and "Dude". When he pulled up my account information, he asked who "Melanie" was. I replied that I'm Melanie. He told me that it's a strange name, and then asked what he could do for me.

Related to this, the majority of the time that I use my debit card people are assuming that my last name, Thomas, must be my first name. So now a lot of people have been calling me "Tom".


  1. Dad and I named you Melanie so that you would learn how to handle the hard knocks in life just like the boy named Sue.


  2. You mom is so funny!!!

    I stared at that damn picture of that man above trying to see the differences... I think the only thing that’s different, he went tanning and has on different shorts.....


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