All Gender Restrooms

All Gender Restrooms: Addressing Dissenting Opinions

 

Question: Why are all gender restrooms seen as a problem: single-stall and multi-stall?

Answers:

“I’m tired of talking about gender and transgender. Why should the world have to adapt to this tiny minority” (“Sharing Bathroom with Men Raises Questions of Cleanliness”).

The fact that a particular people make up a minority doesn’t excuse disrespecting them.If merely respecting someone’s identity isn’t reason enough (i.e. race segregation pre-1970s) then many trans people don’t feel comfortable going to the restroom to such an extent that a large portion are getting painful urinary infections. Gender segregated restrooms also are a place of violence, harassment and sexual assault for some trans people.

Especially for multi-stalled all gender restrooms, they would help cut into the lines in the women’s restroom.

 

“It’s too expensive to designate bathrooms as gender-neutral” (“Sharing Bathroom with Men Raises Questions of Cleanliness”).

This depends on what you are referring to. Single-stalled restrooms are relatively easy to change: buy a sign “for less than $20,” sometimes even less than that (“Sharing Bathroom with Men Raises Questions of Cleanliness“). These restrooms can be found in the form of 2 single stalled restrooms in public places as colleges. There is usually a men’s and a women’s single-stall restroom. You change the signs-BAM-gender neutral restroom for little cost.

Then for Elementary, Middle and High schools: there are often faculty restrooms which can be converted into all gender restrooms.

Multi-stall all gender restrooms is another story. From what I have heard, there hasn’t been much discussion on it.

 

“I don’t want to share a bathroom with men because men are slobs” (“Sharing Bathroom with Men Raises Questions of Cleanliness””).

That is a unfair to men. There are plenty men who are very tidy and clean people while there are also women who are very messy. Let’s just say toilet seats and some people who won’t sit *shiver*. In addition, restrooms can be disgusting spaces. It doesn’t matter if it’s the men’s or the women’s restroom.

 

“There is no difference between a Gender Neutral Bathroom and a Co-Ed bathroom” (“Gender Neutral Bathroom Initiative”).

Co-Ed is only for men and women. A gender neutral or all gender restroom acknowledges all gender identities and expressions.

 

“Drug use/distribution, assault, harassment are common occurrences in All Gender Restrooms. It also enables predators (sexual/not) to have free entree.”

There are 2 main aspects to this claim.

Drug Use and Distribution

In single-stall all gender restrooms that may be a problem. A participant has the ability to lock the door with the utmost privacy. They potentially could have multiple people in there during an exchange or do drugs themselves. Then again, most of these single-stall restrooms were originally single-stall gender segregated restrooms which gives a person as much of a change to do and distribute drugs in either setting- a simple sign does not change that. However, you still have to address the potential problem since, compared to multi-stall restrooms, nobody will walk in on a participant which allows for more lucrative activity. That is where the trade off comes in. Are we going to close all single-stall restrooms to half-assedly address the problem of drugs and thereby force trans people to face harassment, violence, and a life of urinary infections from not peeing while also disrespecting them?  A question to ponder…

 

Assault, Harassment, Predators

This may a little known fact, but signs don’t stop people from assaulting or harassing people in gender-segregated restrooms either. “Trans people actually risk MORE assault and harassment within gendered bathrooms than cisgender people” (“Gender Neutral Bathroom Initiative”).

Plus, “ ‘In places where transgender-inclusive policies exist, there has been no increase in [restrooms] public safety incidents,’ said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of programs for transgender media. He added that even when nondiscrimination protections include transgender people, it’s always illegal “for anyone to enter a public restroom for the purpose of harassing or harming another person, or invading their privacy” (“ ‘Bathroom Panic’ Doesn’t Help Anyone”).

“Access to safe bathroom space is such a basic need” because of the enormous about of discrimination and harassment that trans* people face (“ ‘Bathroom Panic’ Doesn’t Help Anyone”). Trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming inclusive restrooms does not force people to use non-segregated restrooms. At this point, there will continue to be a plentiful number of gender-segregated restrooms.

– – –

On a somewhat related note, there hasn’t always been gender-segregated restrooms.

Back in 1887, Massachusetts was the first to pass a law mandating gender segregated restrooms, which many states quickly followed suit. The laws were put in place

During this time, women were growing in the factory workforce and public life in general which “triggered a paternalistic impulse to “protect” women from the full force of the world outside their homes” (“Sex-Segregated Public Restrooms”). As a result of this perceived need, places like “rooms at libraries, parlors at department stores, separate entrances at post offices and banks, and their own car on trains, intentionally places at the very end so that male passengers could chivalrously bear the brunt in the event of a collision” (“Sex-Segregated Public Restrooms”). Today, we don’t see many of these except for restrooms and locker rooms.

“Kogan [author of the book, “Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing which the article author is referencing] admits that ‘it is not at all obvious what led regulators to conclude that separating factory toilet facilities by sex would protect working women.’ His research suggests that sex segregation was seen by regulators at the time as ‘a kind of cure-all’ for the era’s social anxiety about working women” (“Sex-Segregated Public Restrooms”).

 

Overall Assessment:

  • Why should we adapt to this tiny minority?

To respect them and to increase efficiency of restrooms.

  • It’s too expensive

Change gender segregated single-stall restrooms by adding a 20 dollar sign (and removal of urinals depending where you live).

If there are no single-stall restrooms, convert several multi-stall restrooms with signs (and removal of urinals depending where you live)

  • Men are slobs.

That’s a factually incorrect stereotype aka. not all men.

  • Co-Ed, all gender- same thing.

Co-Ed is for men and women while all gender restrooms are include everyone.

  • Drug Use/Distribution

This applies only to single stall. It’s a worthy trade off to protect trans/non-binary/gender non-conforming people rather than perform a half measure that might prevent drug use/distribution.

  • What about assault, harassment and predators?

This usually only applies to the women’s restroom. Statistically, there is not a large difference. Plus, no one will be stopped by an unmoving sign and unlocked door.

  • Other women will deter the predator.

A well lit, quiet public location will do the same (“Why Are Bathrooms SEgregated by Sex in the First Place?”) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katherine-ripley/bathrooms-segregated-_b_8524374.html .

  • Nobody of the opposite gender can enter.

Nobody is checking genitalia before you go into the public restroom.

  • It preserves the social order.

 

Social Order

Last explanation of not having all gender restrooms is to preserve the sense of social order. “It’s similar to the reason we separate our sock drawer from our underwear drawer. Each thing has its assigned place, and that makes us feel better” (“Why Are Bathrooms Segregated by Sex in the First Place?”).

Contrary to belief, tomorrow will come even if transmen go into the men’s restroom and transwomen go into the women’s restroom. Whether we create a all gender, single-stall restroom or even a all gender, multi-stall restroom, the Earth will continue to turn.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Schmich, Mary. “Sharing Bathroom with Men Raises Question of Cleanliness.Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

Petrow, Steven. “‘Bathroom Panic’ Doesn’t Help Anyone.Washington Post. WashingtonPost.com, 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 3 Apr. 2016.

Ripley, Katherine. “Why Are Bathrooms Segregated by Sex in the First Place?The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

Trautman, Ted. “Sex-Segregated Public Restrooms Are an Outdated Relic of Victorian Paternalism.Slate. Slate, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

Ripley, Katherine. “Why Are Bathrooms Segregated by Sex in the First Place?The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

Gender Neutral Bathroom Initiative.LGBTQ Center. Vassar College, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

 

These dissenting opinions are also applied to locker room segregation and are just as weak in those situations as well.

 

Additional Views:

No MEN in WOMEN’S restrooms

BATHROOM BILL RANT  (Binary Focus)

The Transgender Fight for Safe Bathrooms (Binary Implications)

Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms I Ivan Coyote

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