(Originally posted on January 19, 2015)
While reading through a few odd news stories here and there this morning, I stumbled on a topic that I hadn’t given much thought in the past. It seems there are “gender neutral restrooms” popping up all over the place and I was curious to see the opinions for and against the idea.
This change seems to apply to single stall public and business restrooms. I could see it working in multi-stall environments as long as the stall doors are intact with working door locks. I have seen a few medical offices that offered three restrooms: men, women and family. The family room is usually quite a bit larger to accommodate baby strollers and wheelchairs.
All women and most men are aware that any busy public place, like shopping malls or restaurants, generally forces women to wait in line while men are in and out in a flash. Gender-neutral restrooms would essentially do away with the urinal, which makes the men’s room move so much faster, thus creating a gender neutral line that today’s man may be too spoiled to handle.
As the mother of a 5 year old boy, I can see both benefits and problems with this situation. My son is too young to be alone in a men’s room full of strangers, but he is also slightly too old to be going into the women’s restroom with me. I am also a little uncomfortable with the idea of being in a not so busy place and alone in the restroom with a strange man or two.
Most Americans hate the idea of sharing private activities with members of the opposite sex. Only about a quarter of a percent of the population is classified as transsexual, so what are the odds that I’ll find myself sharing a restroom with them? I actually don’t have a problem with transsexuals or people who are considered gender nonconforming. It’s the rude, dirty, fetish ridden, disrespectful people I have a problem with (men and women). Unfortunately, in this day and age, I’m very likely to find myself sharing a gender neutral restroom with more than a few of those.
What are your thoughts on gender neutral restrooms? Would you be uncomfortable using them?