Gender neutral bathrooms.

I have no transgender friends that I know of. (I don’t inspect.) The issue of gender and bathrooms has puzzled me since I was a kid and learned that some women like women and some men like men. Now as an adult aware that gender identity haunts some people and their basic biological functions I’m even more perplexed.

I admit my experience is very limited.

As a father of twins I changed an inordinate amount of diapers. Unlike most my friends and other male counterparts I was not able to so easily duck out of the responsibility. My wife was quite busy enough with the other child she was invariably holding in her arms. I was shown by society many times that changing diapers is still “woman’s work” and often had a hard time finding change tables in men’s washrooms. Many times I was left changing a diaper in plain view or sneaking into the woman’s bathroom because it had the change table. I now truly appreciate family bathrooms.

5 years ago when my kids were in daycare before JK it used to bother me that they would go to the bathroom only shielded by a curtain. I was thinking to myself “what about their privacy? Their private parts?!” When I inquired I found out from the staff that it’s safer this way (no locking doors and no hard wood doors that open inward or outward) and kids don’t really think like that at their age.

7 years ago I threw a bachelor party for a friend in Toronto. We got loaded and wandered around… as you do. We ended up in this rooftop dance club with a sweet view of the CN tower. Felt out of this world. We were drinking and whatever so eventually I had to use the bathroom because science. I follow the signs and turn a corner. I’m looking at a row of 10-12 stalls, no urinals and women doing their makeup in the mirror. I thought I took a wrong turn. Then I saw men going into the stalls. Men washing their hands. Everyone was going about their bathroom business and not caring to make eye contact with anyone else. No one wants to say they met someone in a bar bathroom I guess. I went into a stall after a man came out expecting a piss covered seat. Nope. Clean. Yeah! I’m serious. I’m assuming his ape brain came to the same conclusion my ape brain did; a pretty girl could be waiting to use this stall after you. Don’t mess it up.

I’m at the Flying J off the 401 in Napanee once or twice a year. They’ve got an awesome breakfast buffet. In the mens room the toilet stalls are like little closets. Cinder blocks to the floor and a regular door with a locking knob. Talk about a brick shit house. My point here is it’s not impossible to create privacy inside a bathroom.

Ever notice there’s never any line at a men’s washroom in a stadium or bar but the women’s goes around the corner? That’s because stalls take up way more room that urinals. So men and women being allotted the same square footage for restrooms is also a little bit crazy.

I know I sound like I’m all over the place here but I’m thinking the answer is so simple.

  • One bathroom for boys, girls, men, women, elderly, youth, any skin colour, any religion, any eye and hair colour (looking at you Mr. Hitler.), homosexuals, lesbians, asexuals, women with penises, and men with vaginas… and their pets but only if they can read the sign.
  • Family facilities like change rooms and change tables.
  • Stall doors that go down to the floor.

Is that not enough? Where is the argument? I don’t get it. I am pretty sure people will behave themselves. This is reminiscent of the argument for why my daughter’s can’t wear spaghetti straps to school. “The boys…{insert your worst fear here.}”. My answer to that as well as gender neutral bathrooms is teach the boys some fucking respect.


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