It never fails.I put something up about the need for accessible gender neutral bathrooms and somebody,somewhere objects.It is nearly ALWAYS the trans misogynistic ” bathroom predator” myth. So lets look at that for a second.
Growing up in sunny southern California my elementarily school had a open campus style.So the bathroom entrances were on the outside of the building.Playing tag several of my younger 3rd grade friends ran into the open door of the girls room and used it as a “safe zone” from the boys they were playing with.One day they went running into the bathroom in order to avoid getting tagged. One of the boys simply ran in after them and tagged them anyways.
Tag is a pared down version of what really happens.If someone is hell bent on either not being ” it” for the rest of recess or on committing violence against some one then the magic of the sign will not protect you.It won’t protect you or your kids.
I run into the intersection of gender and disability with regards to restrooms rather often.I am visibly gender variant and also visibly disabled at times.I hear many replies of ” well if you don’t pass well enough as either go use the family single stall!” I run into a whole new slew of problems there.Often these bathrooms are the filthiest. Filled with discarded diapers,condoms and other horrors.Another is that they are often out of the way and hard to get to.Which being disabled can make life hellish.When I do find one and go in upon coming out I am greeted with one of two things but they always start the same. First it is a glare from the waiting parent.Then if I have my cane the glare turns into what I have named the ”oh frell cripple!” Face.The glare disappears and a momentary “oh crap! I glared at them!” face takes it’s place followed by my personal fav the ” oh god dont stare don’t look it’s not polite” eye avert. If I don’t have my cane the glare just stays and intensifies as the person sizes me and my gender presentation up.Thankfully it often ends there.But I have heard of others being verbally harassed by others coming out of the family restroom or being harassed online for revealing that they use them as an alternative to traditionally gendered toilets. I have had my share of bathroom glares and ” your in the wrong one!” moments.I have been lucky to not have been beaten like so many others.
So yes.It is time for more gender neutral and genderless restrooms.The little man or woman on the door will not magically come to life and protect you.A rapist isn’t going to take the time and money to dress as a different gender to gain access to a toilet to rape.They are just going to go on in. Accommodating trans people will only help society.
At the very least stop glaring at me ok?
Aud Traher is a Bisexual-Trans Activist, local LGBT organizer, blogger, local craftperson and board member of BiNet USA living in working in a rural community in Western Central Pennsylvania.