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March 16, 2007 12:52 PM   Subscribe

safe2pee.org: bathrooms for folks who don't fit the gender binary.
posted by serazin (193 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why not just go into the bathroom of the gender you most resemble and close the stall? Wouldn't that be less aggravating than building a new bathroom? I suspect the plumbers are behind this.
posted by jonmc at 12:54 PM on March 16, 2007


Wow, I had no idea this was an issue. People will get pissed off about anything.
posted by danb at 12:54 PM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Actually, it's more that people like to show off how great they are by finding new things to publicly handwring over. I am concerned, therefore I am.
posted by jonmc at 12:56 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


apparently, the queen of no big deal in these parts
posted by phaedon at 12:57 PM on March 16, 2007


We'll not be having any of THIS nonsense in Detroit, let me tell you. You're a boy or a girl here, none of this non-binary crap. Sensitivity schmensitivity, bah.

The sooner people stop caring so damn much about what others think, the world will be a better place.

/troll
posted by disclaimer at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why not just go into the bathroom of the gender you most resemble and close the stall?


Presumably, at least for the people who are having a problem, the people who need these sorts of restrooms aren't clearly male or female.

I take it that gender-free bathrooms don't differ in design but rather in the public specification for whom they're intended. They're either not marked as being for women or men specifically or they're marked as being for either gender.
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm confused. What's the difference between "transgendered" and "genderqueer"?
posted by MikeMc at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


People will get pissed off about anything.

Or, more correctly, people will get picked upon and possibly violently beaten about anything.

More specifically, picked upon and possibly violently beaten for having an outward appearance not conforming to society's normative gender expectations.

It's quite real, even if a small fraction of you will ever experience or witness it personally.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


give me a break
posted by keswick at 1:05 PM on March 16, 2007


Transgender= blanket term for a wide variety of gender identies including transexual (male body/female identity or female body/male identity). Genderqueer is a hip modern word meaning, in short, someone whose gender is not simply defined as male or female. Genderqueer folks also generally identify as queer.
posted by serazin at 1:05 PM on March 16, 2007


A transgendered friend of mine was fired from a job she liked because other women in the office complained about the "man" in the ladies' room. If safe2pee.org had been around, she might still have that job.

When people's livelihoods-- and lives-- are at stake, this is no laughing matter.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


I just really, really, really want people to quit trying to make their issues my issues.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


punk rock band touring the usa
stopping along the american highway
roll into the truckstop cuz i gotta take a leak
everybodys staring like i'm some kind of freak
fuck all this attention
i think i'll try to sneak
into the ladies room
without getting caught

excuse me, sir?
over by the stall?
um, wrong bathroom,
mens is down the hall

so i pull up my shirt
to prove i'm the right gender
but the looks they're giving me
are anything but tender.
what's your problem?
i aint got a member
fine, i'll go into the boys room
but it really fucking stinks.
whats with your aim boy,
you trying to hit the tank?
your tomcat spray
by men is so rank
so for you i left a present:
put a tampon on the sink

uh, are you a girl?
your titties are kinda small..
i'm still confused..
the mens is down the hall!

is that a he or a she
is that a him or a her
oh excuse me ma'am -uh, sir?

-Wrong Bathroom by Tribe 8

posted by bobobox at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kickstart70, how is this someone trying to make their issues your issues?
posted by serazin at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm a big supporter of gender-neutral bathrooms in more public spaces. Heck, isn't it a little silly to have two single-stall bathrooms in smaller restaurants, one labeled with a skirt and one labeled without? Why can't people who stand up to pee (traditionally "men" but not always) use urinals in the same space as people who sit down to pee (traditionally "women" but again not always)? Or maybe separate by "stalls" and "troughs".

Oh geez, this is another thread I'm going to regret commenting in, when I see it in My Comments.
posted by muddgirl at 1:14 PM on March 16, 2007


You know, I try to be open minded and/or "liberal" whatever, but this just sounds kinda dumb.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:16 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


*sigh* Okay. This is addressed to all males in the thread who don't get the point. Here's a little thought exercise for you: the next time you use a public men's room, ask yourself, "Am I really masculine enough to use this bathroom?" Ask yourself that question over and over. If another man comes into the room while you're there, ask yourself if he thinks you're masculine enough to use it. Wonder if he'll try to beat you up if he doesn't think you are. Keep thinking and wondering. Are you worried? No? Even if you're confident in your masculinity, are you absolutely positive that everyone else in the world agrees with you? Now are you worried? You should be.

Now you know how millions of people feel trying to use public restrooms every single day.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:18 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


give me a break

Wow, good point, keswick!

What Blazecock said. An androgynous acquaintance of mine got so tired of being screamed at and/or reported to security that she started using men's rooms most of the time, but not without the unfortunately reasonable fear that one day she'll be figured out by the wrong guy and get the shit kicked out of her.

On preview, yes Kickstart70, I'd love to hear how the existence of a website that allows people to find non-gender-specific bathrooms can possibly constitute someone "making their issues your issues."
posted by purplemonkie at 1:20 PM on March 16, 2007


"We're taking web innovations and applying them to a very real problem facing many in our society -- harassment, violence and discrimination in public restrooms."

Actually, you're applying web innovations to a fairly minor problem affecting a distinct minority in our society.

"Now you know how millions of people feel trying to use public restrooms every single day."

Millions? Millions?
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on March 16, 2007


You know, if you're a guy, but you've just gotta wear a dress and act like a woman to feel okay with who you are, then great. I understand. May the world be your oyster. But be open-eyed about the fact that this is going to present the occasional difficulty, though, and try not to make my life miserable over it. Do what you will, but harm none, you know.

That said, we sure spend an inordinate amount of out lives thinking about/worrying about/obsessing over genitalia. What's the big deal?
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2007


I don't understand what the big deal is with bathrooms being gender-neutral. At Hampshire College all bathrooms are gender-neutral except for the ones on the first floor of the Library (libertarians ain't got nothing on librarians when it comes to being a law unto themselves). To my knowledge, no problems arose because of this. Other MeFi Hampshirites might have stories, but it was never an issue for me or anyone I know. Now, Hampshire is famously liberal, so it might not be an representative example, but on the other hand, if problems had arisen, the Hampshire student body isn't prone to stay quiet about grievances. If it had been an issue, it would have been an issue.

In Smith College dormitories (an all-female school) there obviously aren't separate men's bathrooms. It was never an issue when I went in there (hell, I've even taken showers and shaved at Smith, and nobody minded). Again, Smith is famously liberal, yada yada yada.

However, I come from a Nordic country, and I've been told that I simply don't have the right set of repressions to understand this issue ;)
posted by Kattullus at 1:27 PM on March 16, 2007


Wow, I'm really not understanding all the meh in this thread.

I guess I've heard a lot of discussion about this on my local college radio stations and I support the idea of non-specific-gender washrooms.

The problem isn't when people decide to use the bathroom that they self identify with... It's a problem when other people object to that decision.

Which bathroom do you use when you get kicked out of both?
posted by utsutsu at 1:27 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


But, to clarify, applying web innovations to a fairly minor problem affecting a distinct minority in our society is pretty much the whole internet anyway, so I don't begrudge that.
posted by klangklangston at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2007


A transgendered friend of mine was fired from a job she liked because other women in the office complained about the "man" in the ladies' room. If safe2pee.org had been around, she might still have that job.

No, if modern workplace discrimination laws had been around, your friend would still have a job.

It seems that this issue can only really exist where people know what (apologies if that sounds demeaning, it's not intentional) your friend is. In a public facility with strangers, the thought as to whether that person in the urinal next to me is a man or not doesn't really cross the mind mind very often. You're not even supposed to look in any direction other than forward.

In other words, this has less to do with a transgendered person's comfort with using a stall as it does with other people using a stall with a transgendered person. And that's their problem, not your friend's.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:29 PM on March 16, 2007


Adding, the entire concept of gender-neutral bathroom reflects this, as they prove people using them don't care about opposite-gender people using a bathroom with them. Again, the problem here is insensitive co-workers, not transgender issues.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2007


(Oh, and the general problem with gender neutral bathrooms is that only one person can be in there at a time, at least until society gets over the fear of other people's wangs. But I hate having to wait at a unisex bathroom with two holes when a woman uses it and I have to piss, so I don't really see my advantage in advocating for more of them.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2007


Gendered bathrooms are stupid and usually wasteful. But then we live in a culture that has gendered underarm deodorant. And pants, shoes, and cocktails.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


Millions? Millions?

I can't find the original study, but this article claims "75 out of 5,000" fall under the "transgender umbrella". With math, that's 4.5 million in the US population. Now, not all of them will feel uncomfortable using a single-gender bathroom, but then again many people who aren't transgendered may feel uncomfortable doing so as well.

Really, I don't know what all the fuss is about. Did anyone else actually use the site at all? Or is this all knee-jerk The Majority is Best for Me! reactionism?
posted by muddgirl at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2007


I disagree, EB, on the argument that the giant troughs at ballgames are the MOST efficient manner to deal with a crowd of pissers without having the rest of the park smell like whizz.
posted by klangklangston at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm going to try my best to stop commenting after this, so here's my (hopefully) last word.

When I posted this, I expected oh, maybe 6 or 7 snickering "people are weird if they don't act like me" comments. But I'm pretty surprised at the level of upset here. Why is it so frightening for someone to simply set up a website listing single occupancy gender neutral bathrooms? Why does a site like this leave you feeling like it's "making your life miserable" or making their issues your issues? I'll hazard that perhaps you feel a bit uncomfortable around people who don't dress or act in the way you associate with their given sex.

I thought this site was kind of cool in its design, and I also think it is useful for people who need it. As a woman who appears very masculine, I know first hand about the hostility that one can encounter in the bathroom. If you look the way you are supposed to, you might have a hard time believing it, but I have been on the receiving end of shocked looks, angry looks, and direct verbal confrontations just for trying to pee. I've gotten this my whole life – since I was a short-haired girl. You don't need to be on the 'extreme' of gender ambiguity to experience this either. Even a fairly masculine man with long hair or form fitting clothes can be made uncomfortable in a bathroom.

Homophobic violence is very real, hopefully you believe that, and the bathroom is a particularly loaded place for gender confrontation. This is a self-help site for people who need it, and an interesting idea (in my opinion) for a website interface. I hope that you can keep an open mind and assume that your experiences are not shared by everyone, and that if someone says they don’t' feel safe in a context where you feel safe, you'll try to believe them.
posted by serazin at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2007 [13 favorites]


I suspect the general reaction in this thread can be predicated on the commenter's interest and/or belief in the concept of "gender normativity."

There are certainly folks who think that trans people ought to learn to accept who they are in their biological bodies. Hence, this will seem like more kowtowing to people with unresolved mental issues. The argument might go something like, if it's not an outward "disability," then other people's resources / tax dollars / whatever shouldn't be forced to accommodate it.

There are also those of us who know folks in the trans community and who see this as another important axis of social disparities like lack of formal legal protection, insensitive medical providers, and getting thrown out of the women's bathroom for being a "creepy guy in a dress" or the men's bathroom for being a "dyke." To say nothing of the more general atmosphere of harassment, abuse, or - at best - profound misgivings.

It sounds simple enough, and I can see how people might roll their eyes and think this is just about the furthest extreme of "accommodate me and my weird idiosyncrasies," but there's real stuff at work here. I personally think it's a pretty simple solution for establishments just to have a damn gender-neutral bathroom, but even here in super-liberal Cambridge (MA), it's a statute of the town that every place has to have distinct men's and women's bathrooms.

And that's usually where it begins. You take something as mindless as a bathroom, and you expand it out to include all the other peripheral advantages that most of us don't even see as having a political context, and pretty soon all of the micros are combining into macros and metastasizing into systems.

Tilt the lens a little bit, people. It's not hard to see how this could be an issue. It should be obvious by now that discrimination doesn't always happen at the end of a baseball bat.
posted by mykescipark at 1:40 PM on March 16, 2007 [11 favorites]


The one Los Angeles listing is ridiculous.

Griffith Park @ Shane's Inspiration

Bonus points for being a stall located next to a playground for disabled kids, in the back of a large, public park that you have to drive or take a bus to.
posted by phaedon at 1:43 PM on March 16, 2007


More specifically, picked upon and possibly violently beaten for having an outward appearance not conforming to society's normative gender expectations.

Dude, at various points in my life, I've walked around with hair halfway down my back, hoops in both ears and/or a goatee like King Tut from Batman. I can understand what it's like to draw titters and stares. But I'm not asking anybody to build me a special place to piss.
posted by jonmc at 1:44 PM on March 16, 2007


jonmc, you don't really get it. They're not looking for a "special place to piss". I'll ask again - have you looked at the types of bathrooms listed on the site? They're generally the single-stall "Men/Women" variety.
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on March 16, 2007


But I'm not asking anybody to build me a special place to piss.

I think your conception of androgyny and androgenous behavior is not quite the same as that of others who have to deal with people's reactions daily, on a much more direct, visceral level.

Consider perhaps adjusting your perspective to allow them theirs — or at the very least, just allow them theirs, which you can do without adjusting your own perspective at all.

Empathy and perspective are useful words here, perhaps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2007


Why is it so frightening for someone to simply set up a website listing single occupancy gender neutral bathrooms?

Because it's about as useful to actual equality and removing the aforementioned stigma of discrimination and upset as it would have been to hand out flyers in the South in the 1960's with a map of restaurants that would serve black people. Yes, you'd have an easier day, but it's not going to solve the real problem.

I'll hazard that perhaps you feel a bit uncomfortable around people who don't dress or act in the way you associate with their given sex.

I'll hazard that if you felt being uncomfortable entering a bathroom dressed a certain way was the problem here, combating that stigma isn't solved by posting a link to a website about which bathrooms you can avoid addressing the issue in.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2007


Hey, that's fine with me, muddgirl. I prefer to shit in silence anyway. But the implication seems to be that since discrimination against transgender people exists (something I won't insult everyone's intelligence by denying), there should be special bathrooms for them, which would be kind of unreasonable.
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2007


Muddgirl, that's because by looking at Lynn Conway's site, there is no study— she estimates based on reports from a doctor doing MTF transitions in Morocco in 1973. She hasn't published any paper, and she doesn't cite any actual data, just estimates based on the number of surgeries, which she doesn't provide. Everything on her site is based on anecdote and outrage. I don't doubt that the DSM numbers are probably low, given that they were estimated in the '70s, but someone with a clear agenda and no scholarship on the issue (and she's an academic— she should know how to write a paper that proves things, though she is an engineer, so perhaps social science is beyond her ken). That her numbers have been picked up by sympathetic journalists is no real surprise.
posted by klangklangston at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2007


I just really, really, really want people to quit trying to make their issues my issues.

I gotta say, I'm baffled by this. Did you read the link? Nobody's trying to modify your behavior, change your mind or even get your sympathy. In fact, by seeking out gender-neutral bathrooms where they won't stick out like sore thumbs, they're trying to make themselves easier for you to ignore.

When you get right down to it, this is an exercise in pure self-reliance — queer folk helping other queer folk with no need for help or even acknowledgement from the straight world. How could you possibly feel like it's some kind of imposition?
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:51 PM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Fuck Annalee "I bought votes on Digg" Newitz.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:52 PM on March 16, 2007


this place is something else ... one can't even talk about a good place to shit without someone being snarky about it
posted by pyramid termite at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm enough of a paleo-feminist that I see this as a simple sexism issue, too. Feminists thirty years ago were talking about this before it became a transgender/queer issue.

...which of course it is, emphatically.

"I disagree, EB, on the argument that the giant troughs at ballgames are the MOST efficient manner to deal with a crowd of pissers without having the rest of the park smell like whizz."

I doubt that a big trough is much more efficient, time-wise, than a bunch of urinals. And it's less efficient in terms of water use. But that's beside the point. The trough or urinals don't need to be in a separate room. If it's that big of a deal to people, then they can be hidden by a divider.

But that's also beside the point. We shouldn't even use urinals except where they are warranted (mostly men, high volume). Dividing the available toilets in any way is inherently inefficient. Bathrooms should simply have enough toilets for everyone for average use. Much less waiting in line for women for women's bathrooms and no more transgender/queer problems. Gendered bathrooms cause problems.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2007


Hey, that's fine with me, muddgirl. I prefer to shit in silence anyway. But the implication seems to be that since discrimination against transgender people exists (something I won't insult everyone's intelligence by denying), there should be special bathrooms for them, which would be kind of unreasonable.

You're reading a "should" where there isn't one, I think. The implication of the site isn't that there "should" be more unisex bathrooms — AFAICT it's a purely informational resource, pointing out where the existing ones are.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:54 PM on March 16, 2007


Gender-neutral bathrooms aren't the answer. Monoperson bathrooms are. I still don't get why we're supposed to be comfortable with someone pinching one off less than two feet away just because they've hung a sheet of painted stainless steel between the two of you, which even then doesn't even extend to the floor or ceiling.
posted by jon_kill at 1:54 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


But the implication seems to be that since discrimination against transgender people exists (something I won't insult everyone's intelligence by denying), there should be special bathrooms for them

Um, there's nothing about a sign on the door that says "Transgendered Only". Just a genderless bathroom.

They've existed long before this site came along, and these bathrooms haven't taken away any straight person's right to be straight. Sheesh!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still don't get why we're supposed to be comfortable with someone pinching one off less than two feet away just because they've hung a sheet of painted stainless steel between the two of you, which even then doesn't even extend to the floor or ceiling.

Dude. Everyone Poops. It's OK.
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM on March 16, 2007


This is not a cry to build special bathrooms, just a tool to help people find bathrooms they'll feel more comfortable in. Some of you are acting like there's a parade of transgendered people actively pissing in your cornflakes. What's the fuckin' problem, here?
posted by notmydesk at 1:59 PM on March 16, 2007


Finally, I get a chance to chime in with a good thing about New Orleans. Some, (not all) bathrooms here are different than those in other places.

It's not uncommon to see a girl in the mens bathroom.

It sorta uncommon to see a guy in a girls bathroom.

I've stood inside the door of a mens washroom while my wife was inside.

In case there is a back-woods, purty mouth statment about Lousiana, this was in the House of Blues.

We really dont care what you are, just do your business and GTFO.
posted by winks007 at 2:00 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow. Guys, the thread might go a little more smoothly if some of you -- namely, the ones going on about how transgendered people are making your life miserable or expecting you to build them a shiny new bathroom -- would, y'know, actually visit the website and/or read the article. It's a search engine, for god's sake. This affects you how, exactly?
posted by purplemonkie at 2:01 PM on March 16, 2007


The first thing that hit me is that, even though I'm indisputably male, I'm bookmarking this list. It's so hard to find a place to pee without buying a cup of coffee, ergo causing a time loop.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:02 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I doubt that a big trough is much more efficient, time-wise, than a bunch of urinals. And it's less efficient in terms of water use."

You obviously don't go to many ballgames. At old Tiger Stadium, the same size bathrooms without a trough took easily twice as long to get to. And with watery beer in your bladder, that's a long time. As for the water efficiency question, I don't see how urinals or troughs could be LESS efficient than dumping a huge amount of water through every time you flush, whether you're pissing or shitting.

"Bathrooms should simply have enough toilets for everyone for average use. Much less waiting in line for women for women's bathrooms and no more transgender/queer problems. Gendered bathrooms cause problems."

But gendered bathrooms solve other problems. The blunt fact is that men are more space efficient (and time efficient) pissers. It's nice to pretend that space and cost aren't ever an issue in deciding how many toilets to put in, but they are. (Though there was, at one point, a urinal designed for women, which would be straddled, facing the wall. Women didn't like using it, and it failed).
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on March 16, 2007


What Blazecock said. An androgynous acquaintance of mine got so tired of being screamed at and/or reported to security that she started using men's rooms most of the time, but not without the unfortunately reasonable fear that one day she'll be figured out by the wrong guy and get the shit kicked out of her.
Wow, she really doesn’t understand male/female dynamics. ♂ only has a problem with ♀ using its bathrooms when ♀ contributes significantly to the queue, and even then it’s queue grumpiness and not anything likely to turn violent. (IME. I am not from where you live, but certainly from somewhere vaguely redneck attitudes on this; YMMV.)
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2007


You're right, jonmc. And everyone likes privacy when they do it. Your salt of the earth act doesn't fly.
posted by jon_kill at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2007


What about the roommate that takes a shit and talks to you while you're in the shower? What a fucking nightmare.
posted by phaedon at 2:07 PM on March 16, 2007


Aidan's right on that one.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on March 16, 2007


I don't understand all this confusion about why we have gender specific bathrooms in the first place. It's quite obvious. Most women who are comfortable as women seem to care about using a bathroom which is also used by strange, possibly unclean men.

Most men who are comfortable being men don't care about peeing at a urinal if other guys walk in (if they cared, they'd use the stalls anyway), however they would probably be uncomfortable peeing in front of strange women (or even women they don't know).

See, folks, the secret here is that all toilets are the same in the men's and women's rooms.

If you are reasonably passable as X, but you are actually a Y, use the X bathroom and use the stalls.

If another man comes into the room while you're there, ask yourself if he thinks you're masculine enough to use it. Wonder if he'll try to beat you up if he doesn't think you are. Keep thinking and wondering. Are you worried? No? Even if you're confident in your masculinity, are you absolutely positive that everyone else in the world agrees with you? Now are you worried? You should be.

No, I shouldn't. Most men don't think like this. Depending on what kind of place the bathroom is in, they may be thinking "Is this guy going to stab me or steal my wallet while I pee?" but most of the time guys just mind their own business. The idea that there is some subconscious sizing up of masculinity in men's rooms just because penises are at work there is the nonsense that sociology theses are made of. Most guys keep their eyes on their business.

And the idea that they'll beat you up? Where the hell did that come from, high school? Guys don't beat up chicks because they are in the men's bathroom. Jesus.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2007


At least the MTA in New York City has it right.

The trouble is that so many women have come forward to complain that sexual predators will now be able to hide behind this law in order to hang out in women's restrooms. Which is totally nuts-- if you feel threatened by transgendered people then say so, but don't mask it with a fear of cross-dressing restroom rapists. After all, if a man wanted to do that badly enough, he could easily have done it in NYC before this policy without raising too many eyebrows. Most of the trans people I know use the restroom that they identify with; and you are probably less likely to be assaulted by someone giving you dirty looks in the ladies' room than in the mens'.

Rules like this aren't made to pave the way for people-- they are meant to protect the people who are already doing this. Without an official policy decisions are enforced arbitrarily and with no legal precedent.
posted by hermitosis at 2:11 PM on March 16, 2007


* (or even women they don't know)
posted by Pastabagel at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2007


But I'm not asking anybody to build me a special place to piss.

and

there should be special bathrooms for them

Jon, I think you've missed something here -- no one is asking anyone to build anything. Its just a list of bathrooms that already exist that aren't assigned to a specific gender. Coffee shops with a single, unisex bathroom. Most of them, it seems by looking at the list, are single-seat bathrooms labeled simply "Restroom" or something of the sort.

Its a useful list, I'm sure, for people who need it. But its not a call to arms; again no one is asking anyone to build anything.

Geez, people, look at the site before you get all in a huff.
posted by anastasiav at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm a woman. I pee often but I pee fast. I think this has something to do with my upbringing on the road with my family and not being able to stop on long drives whenever I wanted to. Now I take advantage of every opportunity. Men's bathrooms. Women's bathrooms. It doesn't matter to me. The more bathrooms for any and everyone, the better. I don't see how making bathrooms gender nuetral could be really upsetting, especially if it makes the situation safer for some.
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:14 PM on March 16, 2007


anastasiav, I figured that out, and I'm fine with that, as I said.

jon_kill: get a new writer. 'salt of the earth' has nothing to do with it. People use the toilet, and grownups can handle that, and it was meant as a joke. Relax.
posted by jonmc at 2:17 PM on March 16, 2007


Most of them, it seems by looking at the list, are single-seat bathrooms labeled simply "Restroom" or something of the sort. ... Its a useful list, I'm sure, for people who need it. But its not a call to arms; again no one is asking anyone to build anything.

Yup. The entire site could be relabeled for as a resource for the chronically and intensely pee-shy, and it'd be pretty much the same.

The blunt fact is that men are more space efficient (and time efficient) pissers.

Space efficient, maybe. But not necessarily time... those old guys with enlarged prostates take forever. Which bothers me not a whit, because I'm lazy and choose to sit.

posted by CKmtl at 2:20 PM on March 16, 2007


Umm, I'm not even trans, Pastabagel, and I still think all those things most of the times I use a public bathroom.

Guys don't beat up chicks in the guy's bathroom. They beat up faggots in the guys' bathroom. And as soon as a guy realizes that a chick is actually a guy, that chick becomes a faggot. The rate of violence against transgendered people is astronomical. Don't be dense.
posted by hermitosis at 2:21 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I don't see how urinals or troughs could be LESS efficient than dumping a huge amount of water through every time you flush, whether you're pissing or shitting."

I was comparing troughs to urinals, not toilets. And a trough has water running through it all the time, not on a per-use basis. It's less efficient.

"The blunt fact is that men are more space efficient (and time efficient) pissers."

Urinals are more space efficient, that's true. But an unused urinal is useless when all the toilets in the women's bathroom are in use. There is a built-in inefficiency when the resources can't be evenly distributed according to need.

As for time-efficiency, you'll find that this works against your argument. If men urinate more quickly, and assuming men and women urinate equally often (though they don't) and are equal in numbers, then this means that there needs to be more places for women to urinate than for men. See previous paragraph.

All this more than makes up for the relatively small amount of space-efficiency of urinals. But since they are space-efficient, and cheaper than a toilet stall, it makes sense that in certain very high-traffic and/or male-dominated unisex restrooms there'd be a number of them available. Behind a divider, for example. But in almost all other settings, a single restroom with twice the number of toilet stalls will be much more efficient.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:22 PM on March 16, 2007


Troughs aren't less efficient than toilets. The argument that troughs have "water running through [them] all the time" is misguided, no? Think of the number of people a trough services in say, a baseball game, and then ask yourself - what is more efficient, a steady stream of water, or repeated flushing?
posted by phaedon at 2:26 PM on March 16, 2007


I mean't urinals. I swear.
posted by phaedon at 2:26 PM on March 16, 2007


Guys don't beat up chicks in the guy's bathroom. They beat up faggots in the guys' bathroom. And as soon as a guy realizes that a chick is actually a guy, that chick becomes a faggot. The rate of violence against transgendered people is astronomical. Don't be dense.
posted by hermitosis at 5:21 PM EST on March 16


Astronomical? Really? How many times a day are men using a men's rooms in a single day. 200 million? How many times are men being beaten up in bathrooms for any reason, including robbery, etc?

And you've got it backwards. If a guy is dressed up like a woman, does that guy expect to get completely ignored by everyone else. Guy's won't beat up chicks in a men's bathroom, but they will say something.

There seems to be an element of risk seeking behavior here. If a guy is dressed like a woman, they should probably use the ladies room. To do otherwise is to invite stares questions etc. Because at that point the guy is making their gender identity an issue.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:32 PM on March 16, 2007


The acquaintance I referred to above is not a girl who decides to use the guys' bathroom sometimes when the other line is too long. She is a biological female who looks quite masculine but has (small) breasts and a high-pitched voice. Her biological gender is not apparent from her physical appearance and she has been "fag-bashed" before. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would question this person feeling unsafe in a men's room.
posted by purplemonkie at 2:34 PM on March 16, 2007


"what is more efficient, a steady stream of water, or repeated flushing?

Depends upon the relative amounts of water per cm^2. If they're equal, then the trough necessarily is more inefficient since it runs continuously.

In reality, a trough at max use probably uses less water per use than does a urinal. That's mostly because the urinal uses too much water. But even then, only if the trough is constantly being used at high capacity would it end up being more water efficient.

Also, a trough is not that much more space-efficient, assuming that urinals are spaced nearly as close together as men will stand at a trough. Only a dual-sided (or greater) trough is truly space-efficient, which I suspect would make most men uncomfortable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:37 PM on March 16, 2007


Why not just have co-ed bathrooms? It's 2007, I think we are all aware of that the other gender has naughty parts.

The only disagreement that comes to my mind is the whole sexual attraction issue. But homosexuals use the same bathroom as heterosexuals so I don't see why it would apply.

I dunno. Transsexuals are coming into acceptance (too slowly though) and the whole issue can be resolved by simply not separating bathrooms.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2007


I thought this site was kind of cool in its design, and I also think it is useful for people who need it.

Agree with serazin. Cool links.
posted by agregoli at 2:39 PM on March 16, 2007


Would those of us "not" transgendered, still be able to use those unmarked restrooms? I'd hate to get roughed up by a queer for peeing standing up. Or sitting down, CKmtl, you have got to be the laziest person I know. Lucky-dog!
posted by winks007 at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2007


I want to clarify my remark.

I don't care about this issue. It's not that I want boy bathrooms and girl bathroom and never the twain shall meet. I'm all for gender-neutral bathrooms (with regard to safety, cleanliness, whatever).

But, emphatically, I don't care about this issue. If you want a gender-neutral bathroom, go make one. When I see it, I'll use it. I just don't need/want/care about/fuss over discussions over this issue, nor the issue itself. It's something that matters so little on the larger scale of the world that I exclaim 'meh'.

Now, the only reason I even came back to this thread was that I was informed that people were snarking at my post, because they read it as me disliking the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms. Nothing could be further from the truth.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2007


"A close study of the best available national murder statistics reveals that transgender persons are nearly twice as likely to be stabbed to death as other murder victims, and more than three times as likely to be beaten or bludgeoned to death. This tells us that the murders of transgendered persons tend to be committed with an especially heightened level of anger and passion. It's a lot easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab or bludgeon someone repeatedly."
posted by hermitosis at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2007


Guys don't beat up chicks in the guy's bathroom. They beat up faggots in the guys' bathroom. And as soon as a guy realizes that a chick is actually a guy, that chick becomes a faggot.

Stipulated. However...

Where are these restrooms where men actually pay any attention to other occupants? When I am in the restroom, my modus operandi is get in, do my business, and leave, all while doing my damnedest to pretend that there is no one else there. As far as I can tell, this is standard behavior.

Worrying seriously about someone so homophobic as to watch for "faggots" in his restroom seems ludicrous, to me. These people are surely few and far between. Which is why this website is receiving such a lukewarm reception, because the amount of caution it implies seems to guard against such an improbable occurrence.
posted by TypographicalError at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2007


I don't care about this issue. It's not that I want boy bathrooms and girl bathroom and never the twain shall meet. I'm all for gender-neutral bathrooms (with regard to safety, cleanliness, whatever).

But, emphatically, I don't care about this issue. If you want a gender-neutral bathroom, go make one. When I see it, I'll use it. I just don't need/want/care about/fuss over discussions over this issue, nor the issue itself. It's something that matters so little on the larger scale of the world that I exclaim 'meh'.


I agree, but I think we should recognize that it may be a major issue for transsexuals (I hope that term is not offensive these days, I'm a bit behind on the acceptable lingo). I can't see why anyone else would even care, but I can't even imagine the confusion going through the head of some 9 year old who can't decide which one to enter.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:44 PM on March 16, 2007


"Worrying seriously about someone so homophobic as to watch for 'faggots' in his restroom seems ludicrous, to me."

I'd guess that there are more beatings in public restrooms than in most other public spaces. There are violent homophobes. Restrooms themselves evoke homophobic fears and they are convenient places to violently act upon those fears when "provoked". I don't doubt that gay bashing in public restrooms is relatively common.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:49 PM on March 16, 2007


"Worrying seriously about someone so homophobic as to watch for 'faggots' in his restroom seems ludicrous, to me."

All this statement shows to me is that you are not transgendered.

The replies to this thread are the weirdest I've seen on Metafilter in a while.
posted by agregoli at 2:51 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


"...One expert estimates that transgender individuals living in America today have a one in 12 chance of being murdered. In contrast, the average person has about a one in 18,000 chance of being murdered."
posted by hermitosis at 2:52 PM on March 16, 2007


The argument going on in this thread - which to me is in many places very insulting and hurtful - is an example of the reason why this site is needed. As a queer person, I find it painful to encounter homophobia, and I usually run into some example of it several times a day ("that's so gay!"). Every time "gay" is used as a synonym for "bad," it reminds me that my identity is marginalized and devalued. For people who express their identity in a certain way, or whose identity does not fit into the simplified "man" and "woman" boxes, using a public restroom is a daily reminder that their identities are marginalized to an even greater degree. Imagine that feeling - you really have to pee, but the sign on the door to the bathroom says that you aren't allowed in. Where do you go? Who has the right to put that sign there? It may seem like a trivial thing, but fighting oppression in all its forms must address every triviality. Maybe it starts with seats on buses, maybe with signs on waterfountains or on bathroom doors. This site is making life easier for people, and it is also part of a larger movement to make life permanently better for all people.
posted by cubby at 2:53 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Someone should add Metafilter to the list, since people of all stripes and persuasions take shits in threads all the time.
posted by Falconetti at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Unisex bathrooms ... the one thing that transgendered folk and cokeheads can agree on.

Well, that and house music.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:58 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


It may seem like a trivial thing, but fighting oppression in all its forms must address every triviality. Maybe it starts with seats on buses, maybe with signs on waterfountains or on bathroom doors. This site is making life easier for people, and it is also part of a larger movement to make life permanently better for all people.

Sorry for your pain. One flaw in humanity (and I often suffer from it) is that we are only activists, we only shout, when we are the ones suffering. I can't pretend to understand what a sexual minority must go through, all I can say is I support a change in cultural consciousness and will work for it. I'm a poor and conservative SOB but I won't let it stop me.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:58 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


To be fair, part of this thread have also been pretty affirming and great, and I appreciate that there is at least a discussion happening. I'm not trying to call anybody out - thanks to everyone who has given this some thought and thanks again to those who will think further and take action against homophobia in any of its forms.
posted by cubby at 3:00 PM on March 16, 2007


"Restrooms themselves evoke homophobic fears and they are convenient places to violently act upon those fears when "provoked"."

You mean "provoked" like when I was 17 pissing in a urinal and the thirty something guy next to me leans over, looks at my crank, looks up and says "I can respect that"? Is that what you mean by "provoked"? I wasn't angry as I was so not expecting something like that I think I replied "Uhhhh...OK" or somesuch. I imagine some other guys I know might have handled the situation a little more forcefully. I don't advocate violence against homosexuals but sometimes the provocation maybe isn't imagined.
posted by MikeMc at 3:01 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope that the links I posted above will help demonstrate to those who have never had to think about anything more in the restroom than whether to wash their hands that for others it is a matter of grave concern.

Bathrooms tend to be, by nature, private, quiet areas that are not heavily monitored. A trans-woman will almost always use the female restroom rather than take a chance that some redneck in the mens' room is going to treat it like a freak show, or a take the opportunity to demonstrate his moral superiority with his fists or worse.

If laws are not put in place to protect a transsexual's right to use the restroom of the gender he/she identifies with, then gender-neutral bathrooms are a must. The rate of violence against this group of people is so insanely high that they deserve special consideration.

I am incredibly grateful that you wonderfully sane men out there who can't believe this shit happens very often actually exist. But please don't let that cultivate a sense of apathy when it comes to the crimes that you can't conceive of.
posted by hermitosis at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I just whipped my dick out! Where do I go? Oh my, where the fuck do I go now? I'm such a motherfucking bathroom bender!
posted by four panels at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2007


But, emphatically, I don't care about this issue.

I just really, really, really want people to quit trying to make their non-issues my non-issues.
posted by muddgirl at 3:08 PM on March 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


You mean "provoked" like when I was 17 pissing in a urinal and the thirty something guy next to me leans over, looks at my crank, looks up and says "I can respect that"? Is that what you mean by "provoked"? I wasn't angry as I was so not expecting something like that I think I replied "Uhhhh...OK" or somesuch. I imagine some other guys I know might have handled the situation a little more forcefully. I don't advocate violence against homosexuals but sometimes the provocation maybe isn't imagined.

The question I have is why would they feel the need to react violently. I'm straight, but get hit on a lot (which is surprising since I live in a religious and Republican area). I'm also male. I simply think about what it is like to be a female, and be hit on all the time when one isn't interested or doesn't have a wedding ring to deter men.

Yes, the comment was inappropriate but the person intended it to be a complement and I don't see how it can or should invoke violence. Now if I had a thing for guys or liked the comment, and felt my manhood threatened then maybe that would be different, and no I don't think everyone who is anti-gay is secretly gay. I do believe than many of us heteros tend to overreact.

I can't count the number of gay men who have made passes. I simply say, I'm in love with my girlfriend and am heterosexual. No need to kill someone over it. Now if we are talking about rapists, then, well...
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 3:08 PM on March 16, 2007


And it's not that it's happening constantly, like every! ten! seconds! It's just that it happens sodisproportionately often (shockingly so) to a specific group of people that it demands attention. Hence the urgency on the safe2pee site and others. There are relatively few transsexuals in the world, which means it will take relatively few bad apples to murder them all.

So pardon us if we're all in a tizzy about it.
posted by hermitosis at 3:10 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"A close study of the best available national murder statistics reveals that transgender persons are nearly twice as likely to be stabbed to death as other murder victims, and more than three times as likely to be beaten or bludgeoned to death. This tells us that the murders of transgendered persons tend to be committed with an especially heightened level of anger and passion. It's a lot easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab or bludgeon someone repeatedly."

Is this begging the question 101 or what? How can you use this to defend your guys beat up faggots tirade, when the study kindly forgets to tell us if the murderers themselves are transgendered or not?
posted by phaedon at 3:10 PM on March 16, 2007


Worrying seriously about someone so homophobic as to watch for "faggots" in his restroom seems ludicrous, to me.

I don't personally worry about it much, since I don't 'look' stereotypically gay or throw off that vibe when alone and minding my own business. But I can easily imagine how someone who does would worry.

It's not so much that the mouthbreather is analyzing each and every person, doing a running tally of gayness in his head. It's that he's constantly aware of people who 'stand out' as gay. Sort of like bullies and nerd... the bully just notices the nerds, instead of judging whether or not each person is a nerd.

There are more people out there for whom queers just pop out, and for whom the popping out is a cue to intimidate, than you'd think. If you know you pop out, you really don't want to meet them.
posted by CKmtl at 3:12 PM on March 16, 2007


Phaedon, there are lots of arguments you could have made to that quote, but I think you picked the dumbest.
posted by hermitosis at 3:12 PM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Unless my sarcasm detector is way out of whack.
posted by hermitosis at 3:13 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: It's a lot easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab or bludgeon someone repeatedly. Or is it?
posted by phaedon at 3:16 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Besides, everyone know that if a tranny kills another tranny, she kills her with kindness. Or with "shade". Or with either her sharp tongue, her moves, or her bare goddam hands.
posted by hermitosis at 3:17 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are relatively few transsexuals in the world, which means it will take relatively few bad apples to murder them all.

As usual from hermitosis, a reasoned look at things. Sorry for my earlier knee-jerking.

I'm straight, but get hit on a lot (which is surprising since I live in a religious and Republican area). I'm also male.


I'm staright and male and I live in a very liberal, unreligious area and I still get hit on a lot. We're just hot is all.
posted by jonmc at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


But, emphatically, I don't care about this issue.

If only there were a way to exercise one's lack of caring even more effectively than opening a thread, commenting upon it, then coming back later to comment once again.

I don't advocate violence against homosexuals but sometimes the provocation maybe isn't imagined.

MikeMc, I'm sincerely sorry that happened to you, but if you actually think most gay-bashing incidents are caused by gay men leering at other dudes' junk in the restroom you are woefully misinformed. Most gay men I know take great care to completely and totally ignore their surroundings when using the restroom so as not to the provoke the ire of any nearby hypersensitive homophobes. Much like everyone else, they're just there to take a piss.
posted by purplemonkie at 3:28 PM on March 16, 2007


You mean "provoked" like when I was 17 pissing in a urinal and the thirty something guy next to me leans over, looks at my crank, looks up and says "I can respect that"? Is that what you mean by "provoked"?

Not to denigrate an experience that you found personally humiliation, but I think almost any person in the world, male or female, gay or straight, can provide similar examples of inappropriate "come-ons". If it had come from a woman, would you consider that a "provocation" to violence?
posted by muddgirl at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2007


IN B4 PRIVILEGED HANDWRINGING AND HETERONORMATIVITY CIRCLE JERK!!
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:44 PM on March 16, 2007


Oops, too late.
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:45 PM on March 16, 2007


Not to denigrate an experience that you found personally humiliation

Somebody checking out your knob is 'humiliation?'
posted by jonmc at 3:49 PM on March 16, 2007


I don't know jon, you tell me.

*checks out jonmc's knob*
posted by hermitosis at 3:55 PM on March 16, 2007


Been there, done that. Having to worry about going to the "right" bathroom; trying to masculinise your appearance if you look a bit too feminine today; flinching every time you hear the door to the bathroom open because that's another potential pair of fists... it's pretty wearing.

And I was only passing through androgyny on the way to somewhere else. It must be pretty damn tiring to always face that every time you need to pee.

That looks like a fantastic website.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:56 PM on March 16, 2007


You can stand in line like everyone else.
posted by jonmc at 3:56 PM on March 16, 2007


im in ur stall, bendin ur gendr
posted by brain_drain at 3:57 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


That and restrooms are two things I will never wait in line for.
posted by hermitosis at 3:57 PM on March 16, 2007


jonmc has a knob? With the long hair and hoop earrings, I thought he was a chick.
posted by notmydesk at 4:03 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


A lot of the time, to look at me, it's not apparent which gender I am (I certainly wouldn't describe myself as transgendered - I probably fall under 'genderqueer', although I'd be loath to use the term). I've had trouble in public toilets a fair few times. It's a genuine problem.
posted by terpsichoria at 4:09 PM on March 16, 2007


I can't count the number of gay men who have made passes. I simply say, I'm in love with my girlfriend and am heterosexual. No need to kill someone over it. Now if we are talking about rapists, then, well...

Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Not everyone thinks like you, and a lot of people tend to get violent when it comes to the gender/sexuality norms that they're used to.
posted by obvious at 4:10 PM on March 16, 2007


Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Not everyone thinks like you, and a lot of people tend to get violent when it comes to the gender/sexuality norms that they're used to.

And this is a problem. I fully understand if one is being assaulted as that is an issue of defense. I may be wrong, but "That person thinks I am attractive so I MUST beat them" seems irrational.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 4:12 PM on March 16, 2007


If laws are not put in place to protect a transsexual's right to use the restroom of the gender he/she identifies with

I'm not sure if a law is necessary as I don't actually think it's illegal to use the wrong restroom.

BUT - I have said all along that the person should use the bathroom of the gender that an objective observer would identify the person as. If you identify as a man, but you are dressed like a woman, you cannot also be worried about using the men's room because there are some contradictions at work. IF you identify as a man, why dress as a woman, but then use the men's room???

You are not defined by the little picture on the door. A toilet is a toilet. But the reasonable person would like to access the toilet with a minimum of difficulty, and that means thinking of the situation from someone else's point. Would you find it strange if a woman entered a men's room, or vice versa? You don't know the back story, you only know what you see.
posted by Pastabagel at 4:14 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm not sure if a law is necessary as I don't actually think it's illegal to use the wrong restroom.

I believe that is all addressed here.
posted by hermitosis at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2007


It is considered a legally permissable sex distinction in most places, and can certainly be illegal.
posted by hermitosis at 4:24 PM on March 16, 2007


I fully understand if one is being assaulted as that is an issue of defense. I may be wrong, but "That person thinks I am attractive so I MUST beat them" seems irrational.

I wouldn't equate bathroom trolling with coming onto someone. It's a bit skeevier than most inappropriate come-ons... like those straight guys who go hunting for up-skirt peeks.
posted by CKmtl at 4:26 PM on March 16, 2007


Well, it makes cleaning up easier, though.
posted by jonmc at 4:33 PM on March 16, 2007


I am shocked at some of the reactions in this thread. People, who before I started reading this, I thought were intelligent, empathic people. I nearly stopped reading, but I'm a glutton for punishment and this, very much, is an issue for me.

I am a woman identified woman who happens to wear gender neutral/male(ish) clothes, in so much as jeans and t-shirts can be called male(ish). I do not consider myself trans, but I do, on occasion, wear a tuxedo to formal events. Like I did recently at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It wasn't until I realized I had to pee that I began to panic. Here were some very rich/affluent and blind women who I might scare the hell out of. Imagine my relief when I saw that they had a "family" restroom.

Not a week goes by that I don't get some kind of reaction from women in restrooms. Sometimes it's benign. Other times it's downright rude. Just last week it was beyond that. I was stopped on my way home from Detroit at a restroom in a gas station. I'd walked in when I woman was exiting. She was startled by me. Apparently so much so that she told the staff. I was confronted and detained on my way out.

On my way from Albuquerque to Chicago I tried not to stop more than I absolutely had to because of the reaction I got on my first stop. I got called a pervert for entering the women's.

That being said, I will go to whichever gender specific bathroom is available if I'm in a neighborhood bar or restaurant that I'm familiar with. But out on the road or in strange cities, I tend not to take a chance with that. There are too many crazy mofos in this world.

I just want to pee and get on with my life. I should be able to do so without someone reporting me for it.

And on preview: If I, as a woman ID woman, (with short hair) am wearing a men's jacket, does that make me a man to an objective observer? Would it make Carmen Electra a man if she were wearing coveralls? That's far too simplistic.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:35 PM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


FlamingBore, I love that it is the restroom designated "family" that a person may feel pressured to use for this purpose. One of the few instances where pervasive cultural "family values" wind up filling an unintended niche.

When it comes to singular businesses and institutions, perhaps it would be more effective to simply start lobbying for more "family" restrooms without bothering to elaborate on the real motivation behind it.
posted by hermitosis at 4:45 PM on March 16, 2007


they had a "family" restroom.

Family restroom? Well the family that goes together stays together, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on March 16, 2007


Let's hope jonmc, as it's intended for mothers with sons and fathers escorting daughters.

Yes, hermitosis, that irony never gets lost on me.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:52 PM on March 16, 2007


The replies to this thread are the weirdest I've seen on Metafilter in a while.

Agreed, but then again I went to Hampshire and I had fun, like only an 18 year old wiseass can, watching my Dad try to figure out where to go to the bathroom when he came to visit me.
posted by jessamyn at 4:53 PM on March 16, 2007


I've been in a family restroom before and I think they usually have stalls, urinals, and a baby changing station. I know that there are also usually baby changing stations in women's restrooms. Are there any baby changing stations in men's restrooms?
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:55 PM on March 16, 2007


Hell, jess, I recently lost a job where a boss that I hated kept trying to engage me in conversation at the urinal. (He also ended a conversation with me in the elevator by looking me deeply in the eyes and saying 'uncertainty is very disarming.' (he had just announced layoffs that didn't happen) His personal website has lots of pictures of his fiance topless and his Unimog. His myspace descibes him as a bisexual swinger. He also wore this idiotic Indiana Jones hat. I guess CKmtl's right about bathroom trollers)
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on March 16, 2007


Not to denigrate an experience that you found personally humiliation, but I think almost any person in the world, male or female, gay or straight, can provide similar examples of inappropriate "come-ons". If it had come from a woman, would you consider that a "provocation" to violence?

Just to clarify...I wasn't angered or humiliated by that guy openly eyeing my junk and commenting on it (I was very surprised though). I have a live and let live attitude towards sexuality and gay/lesbian/trans people don't bother me but not everyone is so laid back about it. The reason my post may have sounded angry is that I was responding to the word provoke in quotes. While attacking someone in a situation like that would be, what I consider to be, out of line (it's not like he grabbed me or anything) some people are far easier to provoke (sans quotes). I guess what I mean is that I necessarily don't buy the assertion that all this violence is soley the result of wholly unprovoked attacks on gays by violent homophobes.
posted by MikeMc at 4:59 PM on March 16, 2007


You people are fucking assholes.
posted by Eideteker at 5:02 PM on March 16, 2007


Sure, some of us have got it coming.
posted by hermitosis at 5:02 PM on March 16, 2007


get a room, you two. the restroom even.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on March 16, 2007


(OK, that was a really weird misreading. I thought hermitosis was responding to Eideteker.)
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on March 16, 2007


You people are fucking assholes.

Not everyone here enjoys anal sex.
posted by MikeMc at 5:06 PM on March 16, 2007


This is real? I have never cared one whit what equipment the person pissing next to me has or doesn't have. As long as they are not pissing ON me.

And the one time I did care?

I was at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the Hagler v. Hearns fight. After drinking free cocktails for four hours before and then REALLY drinking after that fight I found myself in the swanky VIP bathroom next to the Six Million Dollar Man. Yes. That's right. Lee Majors. And he was WASTED.

I was awe struck. This was The Six Million Dollar Man! I don't know what overcame me. But I was curious. Was he really WORTH six million dollars? So I leaned out to peak...

"You wanna closher looksh..." He slurs and laughs.

"I.. uh... ha... ha.. no... hey... your Lee Majors..."

"Dats right. All of mesh! Wanna my audographsh?"

He pivots and leans over and pisses all over me. Not a sprinkle. I mean hosed down my legs like they were on fire. And he does this with out a shred of recognition of what he is doing and he is taling to me the whole time - completely drunk and nonchalantly.

I was frozen in horror. Should I punch this disgusting fucker? And. Oddly flattered. Lee Majors... golly he is just like a regular disgusting guy.

And then he staggers out of the bathroom laughing (without washing his hands I might add).

Yup. I was pissed on by the Six Million Dollar Man.
posted by tkchrist at 5:10 PM on March 16, 2007 [45 favorites]


MikeMc: Well, if we're going to go by *reported* assaults, I somehow doubt that bathroom and lockerroom trolls would file a report to the cops or some assault clinic... And, by the way, "I can respect that" is a really odd thing to say about a dick, surprise if doubly justified.

And, uh... Unimog?
posted by CKmtl at 5:12 PM on March 16, 2007


*is doubly
posted by CKmtl at 5:15 PM on March 16, 2007


Family restrooms are really meant for parents with more than one child or who need extra room with strollers and bags and whatnot. It's also handy when you have several children of different genders -- or when you're someone who does not appear gender normative.

Would those of us "not" transgendered, still be able to use those unmarked restrooms?

And once again, the point is not that this is a listing of special restrooms for the transgendered or genderqueer, it is a listing of non-gendered restrooms, generally family restrooms or just single-seaters where there is no problem of anyone else being there while you're in there, so your gender isn't an issue, nor is anyone else's. You are already using these restrooms every day, in Starbucks and Wendy's, at the library and at your doctor's office.
posted by Dreama at 5:18 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Unimog.
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on March 16, 2007


You are already using these restrooms every day, in Starbucks and Wendy's, at the library and at your doctor's office.

Maybe you are. I use the dumpster outside. I'm a nature lover.
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on March 16, 2007


Oh. I was stymied for a while there... thinking it was some dirty play on unibrow.
posted by CKmtl at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2007


"I can respect that" is a really odd thing to say about a dick..."

That's what I thought, the best I could figure was he was referring to my, ahem, lack of circumcision. Unimog was johnmc. Too many damn Irish in here I guess.
posted by MikeMc at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2007


I was pissed on by the Six Million Dollar Man.

this otherwise depressing and disappointing thread was worth it for this alone
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 PM on March 16, 2007


Sure, some of us have got it coming.

I assume you were replying to me. My point wasn't some people "had it coming" but that some people are much quicker to violence than others. It takes a lot to bring me to violence, but that's me. A guy would have to pretty damn aggresive before I started throwing punches but I know others that would have decked the guy for saying that or threatened him for looking (even if he didn't comment). Every guy knows the urinal rule about not looking at another guy's dick and some guys take that shit really seriously.
posted by MikeMc at 5:31 PM on March 16, 2007


I was pissed on by the Six Million Dollar Man.

Now that's a story!
posted by MikeMc at 5:33 PM on March 16, 2007


Every guy knows the urinal rule about not looking at another guy's dick

Does that rule apply in the men's room of a gay bar? I'm honestly curious.
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on March 16, 2007


Does that rule apply in the men's room of a gay bar? I'm honestly curious.

I think gay bar restrooms are exempt. Man law? Man law!
posted by MikeMc at 5:45 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


The reason my post may have sounded angry is that I was responding to the word provoke in quotes.

MikeMc, I'm pretty sure "provoke" was in quotes because Ethereal Bligh was alluding to the fact that homophobes can feel provoked by the simple presence of someone they perceive as being gay or ambiguously gendered, especially in an environment such as a restroom where guys tend to have their genitals out and everything. Again, I'm sorry you had that unpleasant encounter, but it's not the norm and I think you know that. How many times have you used a public restroom? Now how many times have you been using a public restroom and had someone leer at and/or comment on your dick? Do you really think this is a common enough phenomenon that you can use it to make blanket statements like "I necessarily don't buy the assertion that all this violence is soley the result of wholly unprovoked attacks on gays by violent homophobes"? As I said above, most gay guys go out of their way to avoid any appearance of impropriety in these types of situations because they don't want anyone getting the wrong idea.
posted by purplemonkie at 6:11 PM on March 16, 2007


This is so important (non-gender-specific bathrooms). I have good friends who "hold it" to avoid picking the women's or the men's room, because neither is a good option.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:27 PM on March 16, 2007


"A transgendered friend of mine was fired from a job she liked because other women in the office complained about the "man" in the ladies' room. If safe2pee.org had been around, she might still have that job."

As much as a man has a right to dress up as a lady, a lady has a right to object to a man in her bathroom.

I think bathrooms for the transgendered is a great idea. We need one for pre-op, one for post-op, and one for people who aren't transgendered but are just recreational drag dressers.
posted by Sukiari at 6:44 PM on March 16, 2007


BUT - I have said all along that the person should use the bathroom of the gender that an objective observer would identify the person as.

One problem is that many transpeople don't fully pass. A woman who's still got an adam's apple and a little stubble won't be welcome in either the men's room ("WTF it's a fag in a dress!") or the women's ("Heavens! A man!"). Same goes for a man whose breasts are still visible even when he binds them. But even post-hormone, post-op transsexuals don't always look completely natural in their new sex — the surgery's good, but it's not perfect. Body language and tone of voice can also reveal one's birth sex.

It's not just a matter of trying harder, either. Some people simply can't pass without hormones and surgery — they have breasts too big to hide or shoulders too wide to look feminine or whatever — and just getting a prescription for hormones can take years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops.

So for some people, passing well just isn't an option yet. An objective observer would identify them as trans, not as "natural" men or women, so your rule of thumb doesn't give much help. I think it's people in that position who are this site's biggest target audience.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:29 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Worrying seriously about someone so homophobic as to watch for 'faggots' in his restroom seems ludicrous, to me."

That view seems incredibly naive to me. Those people are seriously, seriously out there. I was only threatened once (by three guys) one evening at dusk (dykes thought I was "butch." These guys said "Let's get the fag." Luckily, I have long legs and can walk fast. This was in Vancouver's West End, where gay folks abound. You know, a nice liberal Left Coast city.) I can see why someone gay/transgendered (I'm not even 100 per cent sure how to define that, nor need I worry) would be frightened, concerned and would set up such a web site. Me, I started wearing flowered shirts and crap like that. Easier for me, as I am straight anyway. Not saying it is right for someone transgendered or gay. And hey, the ladies stopped hitting on me, too. You only have to be aware that people *have* been beaten to death for the sexual orientation that is being inferred, and it's obvious such bathrooms could be helpful. Oh, and "Boys don't cry" was a really good movie.
posted by Listener at 7:50 PM on March 16, 2007


One bathroom they don't have listed in Chicago is in the Around the Coyote Gallery, which is co-ed. Usually, there's only one person in there at a time, but at openings, when they have beer free, the bathroom is full of men and women and genderqueers alike. I kind of like it. The line is always a little longer than it would be if it was just a men's bathroom full of drunk pissers, but everyone is on their best behavior, myself included.

(Usually, when I'm drunk, I'm a little more careless about pissing on the floor and not cleaning it up and not washing my hands and whatnot. Not so much when i know that the next person to enter the stall might be a beautiful arts patron).
posted by elr at 7:50 PM on March 16, 2007


You know, one would hope that that Lee Majors story that has now been fucking side-barred is true, because otherwise I can't help thinking it's open to some kind of libelous lawsuit.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:02 PM on March 16, 2007


I can't help thinking it's open to some kind of libelous lawsuit.

Lee Says "Pee? It Wasn't Me"

HOLLYWOOD CA (AP) - Lee Majors, TV and movie actor best known for his starring role in the Six Million Dollar Man, filed suit against an unknown website contributor who claimed he was urinated on by a drunk Majors.

what person in his right mind is going to want THAT in the paper?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think bathrooms for the transgendered is a great idea. We need one for pre-op, one for post-op, and one for people who aren't transgendered but are just recreational drag dressers.

I don't know if you're trying to be funny or what, but we did the whole "this is not about separate bathrooms for transgendered people" thing about 6 hours ago.
posted by purplemonkie at 8:25 PM on March 16, 2007


So, like, gender is a basic social thing; there's a whole raft of subtle ways you interact with women differently than you interact with men; most of these things are so basic you don't even think about them, and most of them carry relatively high social penalty for fucking 'em up. So the first thing you do when you try to interact with someone is figure out their gender, usually without thinking about it.

Here's the rough part. If you don't immediately grok the gender of the person you're talking to, you become conscious of the fact that you don't know; and the way you become conscious of it is that you suddenly feel like you're about to commit a faux pas, and if you want to avoid it, you need to work this shit out *quick*.

Now. You are suddenly stressed, and defensive, and wary, and you *haven't even interacted* with this person yet. Now let's imagine that you're one of those (unfortunately ridiculously common) people -- more often men -- who respond to all stress and fear with anger. Damn, now you're pissed at this person you haven't talked to yet.

One step further -- you've got anger control problems -- fuck it, just hit 'em, they've got it coming anyway, fuckin' freak.

Anger control problems aren't all that rare.

If y'all want to know why people respond poorly to gender-non-obvious people, why even the mention of the subject makes everyone skittish and defensive, this is probably why -- it's impossible to interact with someone who's oviosusly transgendered without confronting the feeling that you're fucking up all these social cues.

It's not about what you believe or think, it's about how you respond to confusing no-win social situations.

If are one of those people who wonder why transgendered people feel especially nervous and sensitive to things like getting beaten up at random... well. Now you know.
posted by hob at 9:56 PM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


...it's impossible to interact with someone who's oviosusly transgendered without confronting the feeling that you're they're fucking up all these social cues.

I suspect that's how it's interpreted by most.
posted by hermitosis at 10:05 PM on March 16, 2007


you're they're

Nah, if it was just that someone else was fucking up it wouldn't make anybody anywhere near so mad -- that's a point-and-laugh reflex. It's the feeling that you're wrong no matter what you do and it's their fault.
posted by hob at 10:16 PM on March 16, 2007


Great post, thanks. The reaction was a little unsettling, but I'll be passing the link along.
posted by honeydew at 10:33 PM on March 16, 2007


"I don't know if you're trying to be funny or what, but we did the whole "this is not about separate bathrooms for transgendered people" thing about 6 hours ago."

Unlike some people I have other shit to do other than troll Metafilter.
posted by Sukiari at 11:18 PM on March 16, 2007


Unlike some people I have other shit to do other than troll Metafilter.

I'm so glad your life has changed in the past two days.

More importantly, did you actually just insult someone for reading a discussion before participating in it?
posted by roll truck roll at 12:13 AM on March 17, 2007


I didn't say that I ALWAYS have better shit to do than troll Metafilter. But, I suppose even I could be excused for lapsing in my duty here for six hours.

I mean, is it required for all MeFites to sit around and respond to the thread on time, according to other people's conception of what is timely?

Nice troll, though.
posted by Sukiari at 12:30 AM on March 17, 2007


We don't need bathrooms for transgendered people; that's a step in the societally-enforced bigotry direction (even if it is a step away from the individual bigotry direction). We need unisex bathrooms. The concept of gendered bathrooms is so... strange. Bodily functions aren't even vaguely sexual.
posted by tehloki at 12:51 AM on March 17, 2007


Oh, if that above statement seemed a little ambiguous, does the phrase "separate but equal" ring a bell? As well, how much easier does it make it for the rubes who think transgenderism is something to beat somebody up about when they see them walking into a separate bathroom?
posted by tehloki at 12:52 AM on March 17, 2007


Sukiari, quit misusing the word troll. Also, go away.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:54 AM on March 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Unlike some people I have other shit to do other than troll Metafilter

Metafilter:I didn't say that I ALWAYS have better shit to do than troll Metafilter.

Metafilter:Anger control problems aren't all that rare.

Indeed jonmc. Indeed.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:57 AM on March 17, 2007


(I farted on the Osmond family...not in a bathroom tho' so...)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:59 AM on March 17, 2007


Ethereal Bligh, you are the one who needs to get lost. Obviously the internet bothers you. Might I suggest NPR and your local touchy feely committee instead?
posted by Sukiari at 1:03 AM on March 17, 2007


I've been in a family restroom before and I think they usually have stalls, urinals, and a baby changing station. I know that there are also usually baby changing stations in women's restrooms. Are there any baby changing stations in men's restrooms?

Funny you should say that - as I summarized this thread/reaction to my husband just now, he said "there should be more unisex single-toilet bathrooms because then I could change my kids in peace". We had an incident at a rest stop three years ago: there was no change table in the men's room (they do have them sometimes but it's not quite common), the security guard hassled him for trying to change the baby at an out-of-the-way table in the food court, and when my husband explained why, allowed him to use the change table in the women's, with the guard standing at the door. The women in the bathroom gave him dirty looks and comments for it, because how dare he go in the women's room... to change a baby on the change table right near the door. I guess he was supposed to lay the baby on the floor in the men's to change him? Really.

Family bathrooms rock for so many reasons. Better than herding the small ones into a stall all together, worrying about taking a girl into the men's, worrying about sending a younger kid into a bathroom alone if you can't follow, having enough room to juggle the stroller and diaper bag... not to mention if you need to poop or fart or vomit (easier in private, innit), get hit with an IBS attack, or might get blood on your hands and not want to flash that at a shared sink - or just feel particularly vulnerable for whatever reason, gender or otherwise (crutches, sick, laden with bags and a heavy coat, etc.). Unisex single-toilet bathrooms are very useful to know about, and this site is very useful because of that. Bringing attention to the bathroom gender issue is a bonus.
posted by Melinika at 1:06 AM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


As somone who gets mistaken for the other gender enough to the point where it's the source of great merriment to my friends, I have never had the "uncomfortable bathroom experience." On the other hand, I'm all for single-occupant bathrooms, 'cause, well ... I really, really want my privacy for anything more serious than washing my hands.
posted by adipocere at 1:12 AM on March 17, 2007


Ethereal Bligh, you think gendered pants are a waste? I keep forgetting—men and women are equal in every way imaginable. They're even shaped the same way, so of course there's no point in having different clothing for different genders. (If I say anything to the contrary, I'll get treated like Larry Summers.)

♂ only has a problem with ♀ using its bathrooms when ♀ contributes significantly to the queue, and even then it’s queue grumpiness and not anything likely to turn violent.

♂ also dislikes it when ♀ is too lazy to walk up the stairs and punch in the code to unlock the ♀ bathroom (the bathroom for ♂ is always unlocked), and instead forces ♂ to wait for toilets, sinks, and showers, while ♂ would face a non-zero chance of being subjected to disciplinary action for so much as entering ♀'s bathroom—not that this happens to me on a regular basis or anything. (Also, the ♀ neighbors drink too much and talk too loudly.)
posted by oaf at 2:44 AM on March 17, 2007


Are there any baby changing stations in men's restrooms?

a few places have them ... a few don't have them in the men's OR women's bathrooms
posted by pyramid termite at 3:00 AM on March 17, 2007


I mean, is it required for all MeFites to sit around and respond to the thread on time, according to other people's conception of what is timely?

Oh my god, are you really that dense? You dropped into a well-developed discussion with a turd of a comment that made it quite obvious you had not visited the linked site, read the linked article, or read the thread (and furthermore that you have no idea what the word "transgendered" means). And I'm trolling? You do understand that it is possible to familiarize oneself with the content of a thread without sitting there following every comment in real time, don't you? It's called scrolling and reading. I would suggest that you look into it, but the behavior you've displayed around here the past couple of days seems to indicate that reading (or at least comprehending) is not your strong point.
posted by purplemonkie at 4:40 AM on March 17, 2007


One of the things I enjoyed about my college (Wheaton in MA), were the bathrooms. None were defined as male or female. All of them, except a couple of the newer ones, had stalls with doors that closed and latched. No urinals. This made things so much nicer.
posted by odinsdream at 7:23 AM on March 17, 2007


Wow, this thread kept going, but didn't get anywhere.
I just came back to say that, on the whole, EB convinced me regarding the men/women divide. On some level, and I'll cop to both hetero and male-normativism on this, feel like guys would be being punished for pissing faster by skewing the balance (given finite space) toward women's bathrooms. (Perhaps I could be mollified if the cleaning schedule was skewed back to ensure an equal level of grody in both, instead of regularly having the mens' room be more disgusting.)
But I recognize the broader utility argument even when it's not in my personal best interest. I was wrong and I'll both admit it and take my lumps over it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:06 AM on March 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Another thing that is not commonly talked about is that single-hole non-gendered bathrooms are also nice for:

1: Parents with children who are too young to use a public bathroom unsupervised.
2: People with medical devices who desire more privacy than is offered by a standard stall door.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:27 AM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's gracious of you, klangklangston. And, I think, wise. The arguments supporting gendered bathrooms are weak and mostly the product of a deep cultural tradition that is little questioned.

I admit my example of pants was flawed—it does, of course, make sense to account for sex differences when they matter. Depending upon how close fitting the pants are, it does make a big difference.

But of course a lot of things we gender in our culture don't make much, if any, practical difference and yet we perpetuate these things without thinking twice about them. Women have been complaining about the practical problems that the status quo of gendered bathrooms for years and years now and it's mostly fallen on deaf ears. It's somewhat disappointing that the transgender/queer rights movement is now out on the forefront of this issue given that it affects many more women. But the more, the merrier, I suppose.

I recall that the spectre of unisex bathrooms was one of the main talking points of people opposed to the ERA. The reaction in this thread is a little discouraging, but I have to believe that this argument would carry much less popular weight today than it did 30 years ago.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:01 AM on March 17, 2007


Transgendered people should absolutely have their own bathrooms. They should have their own drinking fountains, too.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:09 AM on March 17, 2007


Sukiari: I mean, is it required for all MeFites to sit around and respond to the thread on time, according to other people's conception of what is timely?

No, but before dropping a bomb in response to an early comment, it'd be generally nice if you scan through the rest of the discussion to see if what you have to say has already been addressed. It's not like you don't have to scroll through them anyway, to reach the posting box. Unless, of course, your only goal is to drop a bomb and watch teh libruls (or teh whoever) react. That would be trolling, by definition. Participating in and keeping track of a thread you find interesting; that's, uh, participation, not trolling.

Obviously the internet bothers you. Might I suggest NPR and your local touchy feely committee instead?

Are you saying E.B. is too sensitive for the internets? Seriously? Having attempted to start a MetaTalk thread to 'rat out' people who were 'mean' to you, over-sensitive internet usage is something you want to try to call someone out on?

To others: sorry for breaking Internet Law by feeding the troll. I'll forfeit half of the free internets I've accumulated as a fine.
posted by CKmtl at 10:59 AM on March 17, 2007


Are disabled/accessible toilets uncommon in the US? Not that I'm suggesting that transgendered people are disabled in any way, obviously, but since everywhere in the UK bigger than a small café will have an accessible toilet (as will business premises employing more than 15 people and all publically-owned places, under the Disability Discrimination Act), I wonder if this is less of an issue over here, since accessible toilets are pretty much always gender-neutral.
posted by jack_mo at 11:04 AM on March 17, 2007


Are disabled/accessible toilets uncommon in the US?

Some wheelchair/etc accessible bathrooms here (well, Canada at least) are of the unisex single-occupancy kind. Others are just normal multi-occupancy bathrooms, but with a large stall (with support bars, etc) for wheelchair/disabled use.
posted by CKmtl at 11:08 AM on March 17, 2007


jack_mo: Most restrooms will have an extra stall with extra room and support handrails.

The big stall at the end of the row certainly helps with some forms of disabilities, but does not necessarily offer enough privacy for all situations. For example, it makes things awkward for people with an opposite sex caregiver.

A few public places will have a designated one-seat unisex restroom, which is often labeled a "family" restroom with a diaper-changing bench.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:27 PM on March 17, 2007


Restroom/toilet observation: I just got back from a few weeks in Australia and my observation was that you were much more likely to find three types of restrooms (male/female/disabled) with the last one being a private one-toilet room which would facilitate an opposite-sex caregiver, tg folks, or anyone wanting/needing a bit more privacy. I also noticed that it was almost always only the women's room (in the places I was visiting) that had any sort of baby changing facilities (I also saw a few nursing rooms, wtf?).

In the US, you're more likely to see only two types of restrooms with baby changing facilities in both and an extra large stall in each restroom for disabled folks but again there is the opposite-sex caregiver problem. At the US gym wher I swim there are Men's Women's and Family locker rooms, the latter so that parents with kids who might be little old to be hanging around naked opposite-sex people but a little young to be in a locker room alone can all change/shower together. Makes sense.
posted by jessamyn at 2:42 PM on March 17, 2007


Not trying to steer this entirely away from TG/TS needs. I'm not TG/TS and I feel nervous using many public restrooms because of too many experiences of them as a site for bashing at school. I'm just pointing out that the single-seat restroom benefits more people than just a small number of TG/TSs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:02 PM on March 17, 2007


Can somebody tell that you're gay when you go into the bathroom? As long as you aren't trying to check out everybody's dong what would the problem be?
posted by Sukiari at 3:26 PM on March 17, 2007


Can somebody tell that you're gay when you go into the bathroom?

post a video and see how many of us guess right
posted by pyramid termite at 3:34 PM on March 17, 2007


Can somebody tell that you're gay when you go into the bathroom? As long as you aren't trying to check out everybody's dong what would the problem be?

They can't. But some people think they can, and have been known to bash people who they perceive as gay.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:35 PM on March 17, 2007


Can somebody tell that you're gay when you go into the bathroom?

Depends on where you happen to be. When I'm visiting home (Arizona, or Montana) I feel like I have a hologram of Judy Garland perched on my shoulder singing Irving Berlin songs. In NYC I am of course, invisible in most places.

I physically stand out. I am very tall and very skinny and I have an unorthodox taste in clothing and a non-barbershop hairstyle. In many parts of the US that's all it takes to catch attention. And that's before I open my mouth and start talking. While I am not overburdened with gay affectation, I certainly don't seem... right. When I am in a supermarket in my hometown, I draw stares. I usually avoid bathrooms, not because of who may be in there, but who may have followed me in there after deciding they'd like to take me down a notch or two.

Sure, that fear of restrooms is a high school mentality-- but think about the kind of people who never escape a high school mentality. Those people are the danger.
posted by hermitosis at 3:45 PM on March 17, 2007


Can somebody tell that you're gay when you go into the bathroom? As long as you aren't trying to check out everybody's dong what would the problem be?

In addition to what hermitosis and KJS just said... mentionned previously further upthread.
posted by CKmtl at 4:04 PM on March 17, 2007


Sounds to me that more gay and transgendered people need to apply for permits to carry concealed handguns, and then visit out of the way restrooms in Hicksville, USA. After the sharp initial spike in gun related hick fatalities, there would be a sharp decline in anti-gay violence.
posted by Sukiari at 4:35 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a great idea Sukiari! What could possibly go wrong?
posted by odinsdream at 5:07 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


After the sharp initial spike in gun related hick fatalities, there would be a sharp decline in anti-gay violence.

Or a sharp spike in unprovoked retaliatory attacks on innocent people who are perceived as gay. You're giving far too much credit to the self-preservation instincts of the lowest common denominator in American culture.
posted by hermitosis at 5:10 PM on March 17, 2007


Um, Sukiari... what's your deal?
posted by roll truck roll at 5:11 PM on March 17, 2007


Sukiari is just offering one of those contrary points of view we're all supposed to be so grateful for when it comes to matters of violence against grossly misunderstood and incredibly vulnerable individuals.

With that second abortion thread closed, I guess we're the next best thing.
posted by hermitosis at 5:12 PM on March 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or a sharp spike in unprovoked retaliatory attacks on innocent people who are perceived as gay.

Or the lovely things that could happen if the basher (or a buddy) gets the gun away from the bashee. Or if he has his own solution-to-everything concealed weapon.
posted by CKmtl at 5:21 PM on March 17, 2007


Just to add to the liberal college census going on, I was at Vassar College for a year and all of the bathrooms in my dorm were unisex. This included the showers, which were individual units with curtains. Of course, on the chart of odd quasi-sexual behaviors/experiences I witnessed at Vassar, that probably doesn't even crack the top five.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:39 PM on March 17, 2007


Sukiari's idea was good until the part about fatalities. People who are likely to face discrimination and possibly be victims of pointless violence should by all means be prepared to defend themselves; They just shouldn't go around killing people who insult them. That part of the idea was terrible.
posted by tehloki at 10:37 PM on March 18, 2007


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