The Bathroom Debate

Thanks to Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos are changing their minds about transgendered students’ access to the gendered bathrooms of their choice.

I honestly don’t get the heat behind this debate on either side. Deporting millions of undocumented individuals, discrediting the free press, and colluding with Russia are much bigger issues for me. But let’s just chat about it anyway for a minute.

Why do we need gendered bathrooms? Make ’em all unisex. Guys can pee in a stall.

There. Problem solved.

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18 thoughts on “The Bathroom Debate

    1. You can have changing stalls in locker rooms as well. In fact, at the town pool where I lived in the UK there was one big unisex changing room with stalls and a few larger “family” changing rooms.

      No worries.

  1. I would be kind of curious to find out when gendered bathrooms first appeared, and why. I’m skeptical that the outhouses at Mount Vernon were gender specific. But it’s not something I know anything about, nor is it something that I’m going to google.

  2. You still have the locker room problem. Personally, I don’t care who sees me naked–I look fine–but I have noticed that many teenage girls don’t feel the same way.

    1. Oops. My reply to MH should have been here:

      You can have changing stalls in locker rooms as well. In fact, at the town pool where I lived in the UK there was one big unisex changing room with stalls and a few larger “family” changing rooms.

      No worries.

  3. When I was a teenage girl I was mortified that anyone would see me naked. Anyone, even my friends, but certainly all those other girls. The locker room is a horrible place at that age. Separate changing rooms (bathroom-stall-style, or even just curtained) would not seem to be very hard to put in.

    And, at some schools, bathrooms are scary places anyway. I suppose single-room bathrooms are too expensive for schools, and bathroom monitors/attendants aren’t feasible either, but both of those seem like possible options.

  4. Why do bathroom stall doors open inward? In some bathrooms, I’ve had to straddle the toilet to open the door, because there’s no clearance between the door and the fixture. This makes no sense. There must be a reason.

  5. What af said. Bathrooms can be centers for bullying. There’s no teacher in there usually and it’s often he said, he said or she said, she said. If a trans-girl goes into the girls restroom where girls are already mean to people who are “different”, defined sometimes simply by wearing the wrong socks that say, then things are going to be rough. If said trans-girl goes into the men’s room, because that’s her actual biological sex, same thing. And why would we want to create situations that create more opportunities for bullying?

    1. Yes, bathrooms, school buses, and Locker rooms are states of nature, where roving bands of savages prey on the weak without adult supervision. It’s Lord of the Flies. But it’s not just trans kids who are victims. 80% of kids with asperger’s report that they have been bullied. When Yale did Ian’s evaluation, they said that he should never, ever be left alone with his peers.

      For kids like Ian and other non-traditional kids, they need a separate space or one common space with adult supervision.

      1. I agree about schoolbuses, but there were never enough kids in the bathroom at one time for anything to happen there. In fact, our elementary teachers would not normally allow more than one boy to go to the bathroom, although there could have been a boy from a different homeroom there. Locker room showers were “states of nature,” but ours were subject to loose adult monitoring, which kept violence down to a low roar. I would think that having cubicles in the locker room might make things worse, by making adult monitoring more difficult.

  6. Maybe this is a west coast thing, but I am seeing a disappearance of the type of locker room I remember as a child and a growing trend towards children just not being naked in front of each other — regardless of sex. I know a couple of kids who took bathing suits to shower after a hockey game, when going home was not an alternative. The kids I know are not showering in front of each other, even the athletes.

    Could be a greater trend towards privacy in general? Stemming from the decrease in shared rooms? Especially in higher ses subgroups?

    Also, I suspect a we have heightened bullying of issues in private spaces.

    To answer Laura’s question — I’d say that it is significantly a culture wars issue, including the culture war of wanting to encourage/enforce gender norms. But, there also practical issues of space in shared spaces, like locker rooms.

    Can we try to solve non-binary biological gender issues by simply increasing privacy? I don’t think so — because the issues are broader than that.

    My kiddo, for example is now playing on a sports team with a transgender girl.

    1. I am inclined to agree about changing mores. I see lots of younger men in the locker room at my health club who put towels around their waist before removing their pants, so that their genitals are not exposed to view even for a second. I think they’re really weird. It’s so different from my youth, where the men at my father’s club swam nude.

      1. That does suggest that norms of male modesty have undergone a significant generational change. I wonder how the author feels about group shower rooms, or skinny dipping, or swimming nude when camping, or hot tubbing, or any of the activities that men of my generation were accustomed to do naked.

      2. speaking of male modesty, the kilty yoga video certainly addresses the ‘commando’ question!

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