Yes, it’s true (gasp!)… and of course, that means everybody needs a place to do that (and other things…). Which brings me to the topic at hand: Public Restrooms.
On their own, they are not the best of places being that lots of people are using it for less than pleasant reasons. But they are necessary thanks to blog title’s statement of fact. Lately, it’s become an even more unpleasant place thanks to fear and close-mindedness against those who are different than the hetero, Anglo-Saxon, white male.
There are several things I find interesting about the uproar for transgender folk using the restroom they identify with. First, the USA is OBSESSED with labels. In all my travels, I repeatedly noticed that most public restrooms didn’t have a gender label on them. They are for anyone who needs it. Heck, it was a funny moment when I was using the bathroom in Dar es Salaam and I realized the stall next to me was my boyfriend at the time. We laughed pretty hard at the sink.
And even here in the United States, I’ve used the men’s room several times throughout the years and am glad for it. Why? Well, have you SEEN the lines at the women’s door at concerts and festivals?! There have been a couple of instances where I really had to go, and I wasn’t going to last standing in that line. Each time this happened, I went to the men’s door, cracked it open and yelled in “is it okay for a lady to come in?”. Every single time, the men inside yelled back “Yeah, no problem!”. And every single time, I went in, peed, washed my hands, and left. It wasn’t weird, or bad, or strange, or scary. And let’s be real for a moment – I could have been trans and wanting to use the men’s room because that’s how I identified. But you know what is awesome? Not once did someone care enough to yell at me or judge. Everyone just saw another human being who needed to pee and let them. How very human…
Another interesting dichotomy that I’m noticing is that men folk are worried about bad things happening to their daughters in the restroom now that any gender is welcome. But with these non-sex bathrooms, Dads could go in the restroom with their daughters (or take them into the men’s room… or the family restroom…). But also, the bigger issue to me, is they aren’t saying anything about their sons. And obviously weren’t too worried about their sons before when these “horrible men” were using the same restroom already. And, how often have we heard about bathroom attacks anyways? It’s pretty rare to begin with because, SHOCKINGLY, the vast majority of sexual assaults happen by someone you know really well (like a family member, partner, etc) NOT some random stranger.
And let’s be real here. These people complaining about the bathroom situation don’t actually care about rape, or protect from it. Do you know how many rape kits are sitting untested in this country? Hundreds of thousands. Do you know how little women know their rights, know where they can get help? It’s not pretty. So if you are upset by the unisex bathrooms due to rape possibility, start with harsher laws for rapists and demand rape kits be tested in a timely manner. And maybe, just maybe stop blaming the current and past victims. They were never asking for it, trust me. That’s a MUCH better place to start.
In the end, it’s just a fear of people that are different. Which is so, so sad. Who cares which bathroom people use? Everybody poops. Let’s have the decency to let them do so in peace.