Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gender 101, Episode Seven: Gender Neutral Bathrooms - and why they're important

Lucy brought it up in last week's video, the issue of gender neutral bathrooms. Here we discuss why that's an important safety issue for anyone who's not gender conforming.

I learned about the term 'passing privilege' and frankly was stunned to learn about this issue - one that I've never really considered before.

Here are links to three articles referencing the stories Lucy and I mention in the video:

The Trans Student attacked in a university bathroom in Long Beach, California Transgender Student Attacked on CSULB Campus Speaks Out

The Trans Woman arrested for using the woman's bathroom in Houston, Texas Trans Woman Speaks About Restroom Arrest


The story of the butch woman who during gay pride in New York City was thrown out of a restaurant for using the women's restroom is in the article, Restrooms Become Gender-Identity Battleground

Ever since this conversation, I think about the challenges Gender Queer people face each time I have to use a public restroom.

I'm so grateful to Lucy for sharing this with me... and with us.



HumanDuctTape said...

I'm studying in Germany right now and am living in the student dorms, which are entirely co-ed. There is one bathroom and one shower per wing, the shower is single occupancy and the bathroom is dual. And you know, it's really not that awkward for the person in the stall next to you to be a different gender (at least, no more awkward than peeing next to someone of the same gender). Granted, most public bathrooms are still segregated, but no one in the dorms treats it like a big deal. America is way too silly when it comes to keeping the genders/sexes separate. Because, you know, if a guy and a girl are in the same bathroom at the same time, babies will magically appear or something.

ivanova said...

Thanks for this great video. I am working on a chapter in my book right now where a trans character gets harassed in the bathroom, and this is just what I needed to see. I give props to the LGBT Center in NYC for having a women's, a men's, and a gender neutral bathroom.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Having been questioned about being in the women's bathroom does give me pause on this subject. But I also work with a bunch of guys who do not clean up after themselves in the kitchen and their bathroom habits are less than desirable given what I've heard from the cleaner ones in the group.

I agree that having gender neutral bathrooms would be good in many respects. I'm just not sure I would want to use one given the lack of basic hygiene exhibited by some of my male coworkers.

Maybe I'm in the wrong profession.

Benji said...

Single-stall gender neutral bathrooms can be very, very helpful and are far more prevalent. You can be an ally and add to the growing map on

Anonymous said...

I was at a queer youth dance recently where they just designated both typical bathrooms gender neutral because it was at a community center that wasn't typically a queer space and there wasn't a single stall one. I was in drag at the dance, so at first I was really relieved when I saw there was a neutral bathroom, but I thought it might be a little weird when I saw that they just made the men's and women's multi-stall bathrooms gender neutral, with multiple people of different gender identities using them at once, but it wasn't awkward at all. At one point I was even adjusting my binding when someone else that was fairly androgynous came in, but it wasn't really awkward at all. As long as there's stalls, I don't think public restrooms need to be gendered. Besides, that would solve the family restroom issue, the uneven lines issue,and the trans or gender non conforming issue if there was just one bathroom with a bunch of stalls.