Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The gender-neutral public bathroom

Here's the thing: I like my privacy in the bathroom.

I teach my son about privacy and remind him to close the door when he is in the bathroom. My husband and I keep the bathroom door closed on each other, keeping the mystery alive in our marriage.

I am all for family bathrooms in public places. I applaud the businesses that have put those facilities in to make life a little easier for parents having to take their opposite-gendered child into the restroom with them. I love no longer having to take my son into the women's restroom with me when the two of us are out running errands together.

There is a lot of discussion right now around gender-neutral public bathrooms being the norm.

Once upon a time, I worked for a privately held company that was mostly a boys club. All the bathrooms were single-stalls and gender neutral. And the few women that did work at the company were generally upset at the state of those bathrooms and sharing them across both genders. (The men didn't seem to care either way.)

I am not saying that one gender is cleaner or that bathroom use is different or anything like that. I am saying that the bathroom is the last place in the U.S. that is still segregated by gender. And I am OK with that. I am OK that in the moment where I feel most vulnerable and exposed and am trying to take care of my body's needs, I don't have to see the opposite gender. I am not OK with everyone not having that same sense of privacy. There needs to be a third option to cover people who want privacy for whatever their reason.

Would you be fine with gender-neutral public bathrooms being the norm? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

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