Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to offend anyone. These are strictly my ideas about a serious issue. I do believe in equality… But, I lived in the Bronx so… Yeah, that’s a disclaimer in itself.

I read this article on Slate about gender-neutral bathrooms.

Okay so this is basically an LGBTQ issue; it’s about equality. I am all for equality… But! I draw a line at the damn bathrooms. I don’t want to share!

Seriously though, I suppose I see the problem. Basically, it seems as though transgender or gender-queer people do not feel comfortable in a male or female designated bathroom. Either they don’t feel comfortable or they’re not quite sure where they belong. This is understandable and I agree that every public facility should have a single occupancy (no stalls, just a toilet and sink confined to a single room behind a locked door) restroom without a gender designation. This way, no one has to choose a label they’re not comfortable with and no one else has to worry.

I say worry in response to the Slate article’s concerns about victims of sexual assault. I am talking about sexual assault in general. If you suddenly have gender-neutral bathrooms, men and women (transgender or not) will be taking care of business in the same space. We’re talking about public spaces here, so these will be people you are not familiar with. The Slate article talks about the fears of victims being in a restroom with the opposite sex. It also compares restrooms to other public spaces. It is not the same. It’s not comparable. This isn’t just about victims, it’s about everyone. I don’t want to pull my pants down to use the toilet with a strange man in the next stall. I don’t know if that man is a rapist or not. That possibility genuinely frightens me. No one can guarantee that the man in the next stall won’t break down the door to my stall, or just catch me in the restroom alone, and assault me. I understand that’s not a guarantee with gender-assigned restrooms, but the chances of assault are much lower.

A restroom is not the same as other public, shared, spaces. A restroom is a place with more inherit danger. It’s a place where you are automatically more vulnerable to sexual assault; especially if you have to share that space with strangers of the opposite sex.

I disagree that all restrooms should be gender-neutral. I do however, think that every public facility should provide at least one signal occupancy restroom. Most places already have this in place. Instead of labeling it “Family Restroom” just call it what it is: “Private Restroom” It really can be that simple.

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