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May 31 2014

The devil’s new scheme to DESTROY CIVILIZATION!

The supreme wickedness: gender-neutral bathrooms.

devilsbathroom

Last year, they made the bathrooms in the science building where I work unisex. I should have spotted it as a satanic plot right away. (One thing I’ve already noticed: the formerly women’s restroom smells much nicer.)

159 comments

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  1. 1
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Whenever this context comes up I’m wondering: Do American bathrooms lack stalls with doors?
    I know that around here the men often still have pissoirs, which will obviously have to go in a unisex bathroom, but apart from that, my usual mode of using one is to enter, look for a free stall, go there, close and lock the door and THEN I start to remove whatever clothing necessary.
    Is that different in Boston?

  2. 2
    barbaz

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

  3. 3
    Travis

    I do not understand why some people get so angry and worked up over the idea of sharing a bathroom. Our attitudes towards bathrooms are quite odd at times. One thing I having been noticing a lot more at local restaurants is the strange use of segregated, single person bathrooms. Both of them are equipped in the same way, there is no physical difference aside from the little picture on the door.

  4. 4
    wirebash

    This also eliminates the need for transgender bathrooms. But man, I want to use those toilets for disabled, ‘t looks so comfy. And how about the restrooms up in the ISS, are they unisex?

  5. 5
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

    I’ve visited women’s restrooms when out with the Redhead, and no “family” restroom with handicapped stalls are available. I do get the feeling that some were ready to say something until they saw the Redhead, who obviously needed assistance, and is giving me directions.

  6. 6
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    (One thing I’ve already noticed: the formerly women’s restroom smells much nicer.)

    Not only that but the graffiti tends to be more interesting.

  7. 7
    Inaji

    Your sense of morality and right become twisted.

    Yeah, no. My sense of morality and right have nothing to do with who needs to use a bathroom. There are these things called stalls, all handy for protecting your uh, morality. Yeesh. About a hundred years ago, when I’d go barhopping, people used whatever bathroom was open and available. Of course, those were gay bars.

    wirebash @ 4:

    But man, I want to use those toilets for disabled, ‘t looks so comfy.

    Be careful of what you wish for. In the meantime, try not to be such an idiot.

  8. 8
    Ing

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

    Yes and the previous honor system worked so well to prevent that?

    FFS you do know that trans women have been fucking assaulted and attacked.

  9. 9
    The Mellow Monkey

    Giliell, some Muslims will perform wudu in public bathroom sinks when they feel it necessary and lack other options. I suppose there could be issue there?

    Otherwise, doors that lock on restroom stalls are standard in American facilities.

  10. 10
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

    Thank you, barbaz for using the conservative christian/TERF scare tactic used against trans women daring to need to use public women’s restrooms.

  11. 11
    Al Dente

    When I was growing up we had one and a half baths in our house. Everyone in the family and any visitors, regardless of sex, used whichever toilet was closest (or unoccupied). I even know that God used the upstairs toilet because every morning my dad would beat on the bathroom door and yell: “God, are you still in there?”

  12. 12
    PatrickG

    Well, the clear victims here are the men, who now have to suffer through long lines because of wimmen-folk! Won’t someone think of the MEN!?

    /snark

  13. 13
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I once visited a school where the bathrooms were not gender segregated at all, at least for that particular dorm. Not sure if there were any gender segregated dorms at all, unlike most where I went to school.

  14. 14
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    MM
    It was kind of sarcastic. Because I already thought that American bathrroms aren’t much different from European ones. Only from the whining about unisex bathrooms or trans* people being allowed to use whatever bathrooms they want you could mean that everybody strips naked at the door and then dagles over a hole in the ground.

  15. 15
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re “handicapped toilets”:
    I remember reading of people yelling at some “abled” person using the handicapped toilet while all the rest were standing in line waiting for the “regular” toilets. They yelled at him for using what was there for the handicapped and if one came in, they’d have to wait for him to finish. How dare an abled use the special one reserved for handicaps?” That was followed by a lot of back and forth replies.
    .
    Since then, I too, have often wondered about the two single user bathrooms, one for Men and one for Women, when both are exactly the same and with locking doors.
    .
    Multi-user unisex bathrooms just demand “courtesy”, whether male or female, it makes no difference if the others in there are the other sex. IMO

  16. 16
    The Mellow Monkey

    barbaz @ 2

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

    This change means people can visit a unisex restroom, which may have women in it. It may also have men or people of non-binary gendered identities. Since I don’t believe that “creep” is a gender identity, there is no way in which gender segregated bathrooms–or the transphobia you’re hinting at here–would somehow prevent “creeps” from using a bathroom with non-creeps.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Janine:

    Thank you, barbaz for using the conservative christian/TERF scare tactic used against trans women daring to need to use public women’s restrooms.

    Well, everyone knows you never, ever get creeps in right, moral, segregated bathrooms, why it’s unheard of!
     
    sarcasm tag

  18. 18
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re @13:
    [13 snuck in, while I was writing @15]
    I too went to college in a coed dorm. The dorm was arranged in suites, several bedrooms with a common lounge/kitchen. The bathrooms were non-gendered with a flipover sign to indicate current occupant. Sexed bathrooms have seemed superfluous ever since.

  19. 19
    Rich Woods

    I was shocked — shocked, I tell you — to attend college in the mid-80s and find that the only toilet facilities adjacent to the campus bar were unisex. Yet somehow the world didn’t end.

  20. 20
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    barbaz:

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can.

    Really? You can imagine that? What is the basis for this possibility?
    All you’re doing is perpetuating transphobia. Please stop.

  21. 21
    wirebash

    @ 7 Yes, I said something weird there, but I didn’t notice it before you pointed it out.

    I come from a strict Christian background, and the topic of gender segregation in bathrooms came up at school. They presented the issue in a black-and-white manner – either everyone uses the same toilet (‘which is what those filthy atheists want’), or we use the ‘christian’ system – like the way it is now (man, woman, disabled, all segregated). Segregation based on gender and based on disability has been the same for me ever since.

    The more time I spend reading this kind of blog, or rationalwiki, or talk.origins, the more I find out that I’ve been lied to about the ‘evil world outside’. The evil world outside is actually a very complex world. I’m new to this world, and I’m trying to fit in. In the process, I sometimes make myself look stupid :P.

  22. 22
    brett

    I’m genuinely curious how that works, PZ Myers, since I still live in Salt Lake City where bathrooms are often gender-segregated. Do they remove the urinals and replace them with stalls, so that both sets of bathrooms are now identical? Do they build more “single-room” unisex bathrooms? Or both?

    Either way, it sounds like a good idea to me. It’s very good for transfolk as well, and I hope the Houston ordinance stands – some assholes in the Texas legislature might pass an override law if it pisses them off enough.

  23. 23
    Rich Woods

    @twas brilig #18:

    The bathrooms were non-gendered with a flipover sign to indicate current occupant.

    Why was that necessary? Couldn’t they be built so that the only necessary signal was that a bathroom is occupied or not occupied, rather than shareable on the basis of gender? Did no-one want to dump alone?

  24. 24
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    …segregation in bathrooms came up at school. They presented the issue in a black-and-white manner

    I’ll bet they did.

  25. 25
    Inaji

    wirebash:

    The evil world outside is actually a very complex world. I’m new to this world, and I’m trying to fit in. In the process, I sometimes make myself look stupid :P.

    We all have our moments. Welcome to Pharyngula, Wirebash. In case you’re unaware, there are two open threads here, where people can chat about anything at all, including the new, evil world. :) The Lounge and Thunderdome.

  26. 26
    Rich Woods

    @wirebash #21:

    I’m new to this world, and I’m trying to fit in.

    Welcome!

    A word of advice, if I may: it’s not necessary to fit in, but it is fine just to be yourself. In fact it’s not just fine, it’s fucking great!

  27. 27
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    twas brillig:

    Since then, I too, have often wondered about the two single user bathrooms, one for Men and one for Women, when both are exactly the same and with locking doors.

    You’re thinking of gender as if it’s binary.
    It’s not:

    The gender binary is the artificial division of the world into things that are “masculine” or “for men” and things that are “feminine” or “for women”. One of the starkest ways to think of this is to consider the phrase “opposite sexes/genders” (as opposed to “different sexes/genders”), when humans and gender diverse people are all too common with far too many similarities.

    The division is artificial and amounts to erasure of diversity in several ways:

    much of it is very clearly socially constructed. For example, the association of pink with girls and blue with boys is of comparatively recent origin and is purely a fashion, albeit a very pervasive one.
    the division of people into two genders has no scientific basis.
    most individuals of any gender have a mix of traits and preferences that may be associated with both sides of the gender binary or neither.
    Gender identities exist on a continuum as is suggested by this guide.
    The strong history and presence of the gender binary in our society plays into essentialism about people’s choices with regard to their gender role.

    I bolded the above portion to point out that binary thinking leads to the erasure of transgender individuals.

  28. 28
    ledasmom

    Crip Dyke @ 24:
    Thank you; the attack of the snickers is much appreciated.
    Personally I like single-user bathroooms for the privacy, as someone who for years had trouble peeing in public bathrooms. Not much fun in enduring an hourlong car ride with an achingly full bladder because you just couldn’t let go.

  29. 29
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    You can alert someone that there’s a creepy man (as in leaving and coming back multiple times in a short time span, being in the stall making no sounds for a while…again and again) in the women’s bathroom and in an ideal situation he will be asked to leave (officially because he’s in the wrong bathroom, really because everyone assumes he’s jerking off to the soundtrack of you peeing and/or trying to jam a camera under the stall dividing wall).

    You can alert someone that there’s a creepy man in theunisex bathroom and he will be asked to leave (not because he’s a man, but because he’s being creepy in ways described above).

    Of course, this assumes no negligence from people with authority over bathrooms, and that they are actually care about people’s safety instead of stupid posturing about being “proper”, which usually includes some sort of abuse directed at trans folks.

  30. 30
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    wirebash:
    Welcome!

    I come from a strict Christian background, and the topic of gender segregation in bathrooms came up at school. They presented the issue in a black-and-white manner – either everyone uses the same toilet (‘which is what those filthy atheists want’), or we use the ‘christian’ system – like the way it is now (man, woman, disabled, all segregated). Segregation based on gender and based on disability has been the same for me ever since.

    I think your instructors are deeply ignorant, as I suspect that many atheists do not support gender neutral bathrooms.

    The more time I spend reading this kind of blog, or rationalwiki, or talk.origins, the more I find out that I’ve been lied to about the ‘evil world outside’. The evil world outside is actually a very complex world. I’m new to this world, and I’m trying to fit in. In the process, I sometimes make myself look stupid :P.

    re: looking stupid-
    I think we’ve all been there (and many of us probably will again). The key is to recognize where you’ve gone wrong, admit it, and make strides to not make the same mistakes again.

  31. 31
    Inaji

    twas brillig:

    Multi-user unisex bathrooms just demand “courtesy”, whether male or female, it makes no difference if the others in there are the other sex. IMO

    Sigh. You really need to start paying attention to how gender binary you are in your thinking and comments.

  32. 32
    Azuma Hazuki

    Accusations of having a twisted sense of morals are deliciously ironic* coming from people who subscribe to divine command meta-ethics. To paraphrase van Til, “We prefer having self-referential morality to no morality at all.”

    * ye ken well wha’s meant ’round ‘ere, lads…

  33. 33
    David Marjanović

    pissoirs, which will obviously have to go in a unisex bathroom

    I’ve seen bathrooms with very large walls between the urinals. They’re basically stalls without doors.

  34. 34
    jxbean

    The first time that I used a restroom at Georgia Tech many years ago, I shot out of the room and double-checked the sign. I’m pretty sure that I understood the message that the school was trying to send to its women students by leaving a row of urinals on the wall. Have I mentioned that I don’t care for the South at all?

  35. 35
    Inaji

    jxbean:

    I’m pretty sure that I understood the message that the school was trying to send to its women students by leaving a row of urinals on the wall.

    Which was what?

  36. 36
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    re: urinals

    It’s really funny, how they complain about women being exposed while men are the ones who just whip it out and pee in front of others.

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    It’s really funny, how they complain about women being exposed while men are the ones who just whip it out and pee in front of others.

    A lot of men aren’t overly keen on urinals. Stalls for everyone would be better.

  38. 38
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Inaji,

    re: #34
    We’re trying to make you feel unwelcome here. We sincerely hope you’ll take the hint and fuck off, woman person.

    At least the message sounds that way to me.

  39. 39
    Inaji

    Stalls for everyone would be better.

    There’s also less stink that way.

  40. 40
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    We’re trying to make you feel unwelcome here. We sincerely hope you’ll take the hint and fuck off, woman person.

    Ah. Thanks.

  41. 41
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Sigh. You really need to start paying attention to how gender binary you are in your thinking and comments.

    yes, the phrasing I have been using sounds very binary thinking. My bad. I mistakenly assumed; that it would be clear I was wondering why bathrooms are always deliberately binary so needlessly. Sorry for my poor writing skills.

  42. 42
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Inaji,

    A lot of men aren’t overly keen on urinals.

    I completely understand them.

    Stalls for everyone would be better.

    Agreed.

  43. 43
    chigau (違う)

    jxbean #34
    re: uninals in the ladies women’s room
    Should have planted flowers.
    Geraniums are nice.
    Or some ivy so the vines cover the pipes.

  44. 44
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @chigau, 34:

    I see what you did there.

  45. 45
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    dammit, I meant chigau in 43.

    :sigh:

  46. 46
    barbaz

    @ Janine 10, Monkey 16, Tony 20
    If you think that “creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can” describes transwomen then you might have some phobia-related problem. And the argument that creeps do it anyway … what’s your point? Criminals ignore laws all the time, why do we even bother?

    I can totally understand why women wouldn’t want to meet men alone in an elevator. Is it so unthinkable that the same might be true for restrooms?

    I’m aware you have the best intentions, but you fail at basic logic.

  47. 47
    Karl Goldsmith

    I always find this amusing.

    You would often find women using the mens at a local drinking establishment in my home town here in England.

    One of the urinals was fixed to the wall next to the cubicle door, you would be standing there, only for the cubicle door to open and a women step out and then make it obvious where she was looking.

    As a man you really don’t care, just give us some urinals so we don’t all have to join a long queue.

  48. 48
    lorn

    (One thing I’ve already noticed: the formerly women’s restroom smells much nicer.)

    As a part-time job I used to maintain the bathrooms at a couple of bars and my observation was that while the men’s room was typically a mess, mostly a function of unsteady aim, the women’s room was the sight of some of the most disgusting and offensive abuses. Blood, urine and/or feces smeared on floor, walls, and at least once, some on the ceiling. Random piles of toilet paper and paper towels, sometimes a toilet and/or sink overflowing. Makeup and a few unknown substances applied randomly to the mirrors … you get the idea.

    Given the right industrial-grade tools even the worse was scarcely a ten minute job but wow, I had thought I’d seen it all visiting the men’s rooms. It was a whole new world walking into the distaff side. Tall rubber boots, long rubber gloves, long handled brush, a sprayer full of bleach and detergent, a hose, and a squeegee to get the wet stuff to a floor drain made it all easier to handle but the first week was a shock.

    On the positive side messes that have other tossing their lunch don’t phase me much any more. Humans are messy and someone has to change the diapers.

    One positive outcome of mixing of the sexes is that it seems to have a moderating influence. Working construction in the 80s I saw nasty job sites self-police after the women show up. Trash starts making it into the bin. People get more self-conscious about their language and how they dress and smell.

    I wonder if those bathrooms would have been better if they were unisex?

  49. 49
    chigau (違う)

    CD #44
    :)
    but I missed a ( ‘ ) in ladies’.

  50. 50
    Inaji

    barbaz:

    Is it so unthinkable that the same might be true for restrooms?

    Why, exactly are you against unisex bathrooms? Are you afraid the number of assaults in bathrooms will go up as a result? You need to be clear here, because your earlier comment was transphobic, and when it comes to assaults in bathrooms, a great many of them are committed against trans*people.

    And the argument that creeps do it anyway … what’s your point?

    The point is simply that – segregated bathrooms haven’t stopped creeps. Unless you have solid information that unisex bathrooms lead to more assaults, you’re the one without a point. And try to stick with bathrooms, don’t drag elevators into this.

  51. 51
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    barbaz,

    Criminals ignore laws all the time, why do we even bother?

    No, we would still bother with genuine creeps doing illegal things.

    But it just doesn’t seem like segregated bathrooms are actually working as prevention for… anything.

    I can totally understand why women wouldn’t want to meet men alone in an elevator. Is it so unthinkable that the same might be true for restrooms?

    Except we don’t have segregated elevators, so I’m not seeing how this is helping your point.

    BUt yes, it is understandable that some women might be uncomfortable with unisex bathrooms.

  52. 52
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    One of my jobs is working wildland fires as SECM or SEC2. One of the perks (intentional sarcasm) is up to two weeks using porta-potties. All of which are unisex. All have the sit down hole (with lid) and, on the left, a urinal drain. Which is, I know, different from an internal restroom. Sort of. Picture a line of ten porta-potties lined up in a field. At one end of the porta-potties is a self-contained sink — either gravity fed or foot pump operated. So a man or woman walks up to the porta-pottie/stall, enters, closes the porta-potty/stall door, does his or her thing, comes back out, washes hands, and goes on their way along with all the other people using the restrooms at the time. Sort of an open-air restroom with stalls. Other than really high winds, no problems.

  53. 53
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    If you think that “creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can” describes transwomen then you might have some phobia-related problem. And the argument that creeps do it anyway … what’s your point? Criminals ignore laws all the time, why do we even bother?

    Thank you, barbaz, for dismissing my concern (as well as the concern of just about all other trans women) as just being a phobia related problem. Never mind the fact that TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and conservative christian groups are forever yelling about “men in dresses” assaulting women in the women’s room.

    Please, by all means, point out again the lack of logic in my concern.

  54. 54
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Other than really high winds, no problems.

    What? You don’t worry about moose/bison stampedes? ;)

  55. 55
    NelC

    I’m reminded of one of the agencies I freelanced at a few years ago, that had single-occupant women’s, men’s and unisex bathrooms. I forget the exact arrangement, it may have been two women’s, one bloke’s, and one or two unisex, on separate floors and opposite sides of the building (a pair of Georgian townhouses converted to offices).

    I always wondered why they didn’t follow through on whatever logic they used to make one unisex and just make all the loos such. Especially after one occasion when I misremembered which was which and missed the sign in my hurry, and my mistake was pointed out by a passerby when I emerged. There wasn’t any substantial difference in the arrangements that I noticed; perhaps the decor was more flowery, and the cleaners used a differently scented cleaning agent.

  56. 56
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Other than really high winds, no problems.

    What? You don’t worry about moose/bison stampedes? ;)

    Oddly enough, I frequently find myself in the bathroom of a morning, door closed, peacefully going about my business, when it suddenly seems like a near miss by a moose/bison stampede is exactly what’s going on.

  57. 57
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    There wasn’t any substantial difference in the arrangements that I noticed; perhaps the decor was more flowery, and the cleaners used a differently scented cleaning agent.

    Years ago, I did janitorial work. The same cleansers were used for both the men’s and women’s rooms.

  58. 58
    corwyn

    And how about the restrooms up in the ISS, are they unisex?

    My understanding is that separate systems are required to properly service people with different plumbing, in micro-gravity. I also seem to recall both being in one facility.

  59. 59
    barbaz

    Inaji 50:
    At which point did I say that I have a problem with unisex bathrooms?

    Are you afraid the number of assaults in bathrooms will go up as a result?

    Depends on your definition of “assault”. Would you say that Watson was assaulted in that elevator? (Hah, I did it again) Because it will increase encounters of that kind (feel free to disagree).

    You need to be clear here, because I read your earlier comment as transphobic

    Fixed that for you.

    Beatrice 51:

    Except we don’t have segregated elevators, so I’m not seeing how this is helping your point.

    Maybe we should have?

    But yes, it is understandable that some women might be uncomfortable with unisex bathrooms

    So you agree that the law is clearly misogynistic? That’s what the word means right?
    /sarcasm

    So, when is it ok to make some women feel uncomfortable and when is it not? Only if it pisses of moslems, too?

  60. 60
    Ray, rude-ass yankee (now in HD-3D!)

    Stalls for everyone would be good. Never liked urinals much myself, worst was at a renn-fair in Houston where they had a couple of stalls and an open trough with no dividers along one wall in the men’s room for 40 or so people. Yuck!

  61. 61
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And someone claimed my logic was bad.

  62. 62
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    barbaz,

    Once, you mention an elevator, but I let it go.
    Second time, you actually mention Watson and remove all doubt.

    I thought we were done with this at least two years ago. Stick to the topic and leave Rebecca Watson and elevators the fuck alone.

    Yeah?
    Thank you.

  63. 63
    Inaji

    Barbaz:

    (Hah, I did it again)

    It doesn’t make you clever, Barbaz. It simply makes you not worth engaging.

  64. 64
    ck

    barbaz wrote:

    Beatrice 51:

    Except we don’t have segregated elevators, so I’m not seeing how this is helping your point.

    Maybe we should have?

    Sure, why not. And if we’re going to segregate things based upon someone’s discomfort, how about we bring back the whites-only and coloureds-only facilities, too. I am certain I can find someone willing to express discomfort about having to share facilities with those people. I probably won’t even have to look that hard for them.

    But yes, it is understandable that some women might be uncomfortable with unisex bathrooms

    So you agree that the law is clearly misogynistic? That’s what the word means right?

    Nope, it isn’t. My racist example above ought to have shown that.

  65. 65
    U Frood

    OMG! I just realized. I’ve had a gender neutral bathroom in MY OWN HOUSE all my life!!! The Devil’s already won!

  66. 66
    yazikus

    I think we should do away with gendered bathrooms and go to a Family Bathroom and Unisex bathroom. In the Family Bathroom you could expect changing facilities and other families in a larger space. In the Unisex bathroom you could expect no children. Too often changing facilities are not available in men’s rooms, and sometimes you need more space when you have kids with you.

  67. 67
    NelC

    Goodbye Enemy Janine @57, not to question your logic, but your experience isn’t necessarily universal. This was a marketing agency, so they may well have felt that a more floral scent was appropriate for a ladies’ that would be used by clients with delicate sensibilities, whereas regular pine-scent was good enough for the gents’. Or they had a pot pourri in there I didn’t notice, or my memory, like anyone’s, is unreliable.

  68. 68
    U Frood

    When I was in highschool, the boy’s room stalls did not have doors on them. I assume because the administration did not trust us to have any privacy. Can’t say whether the girls got doors or not.

    Other than that, all bathroom stalls I’ve seen have had doors with locks. (Or they were designed with locks at least, sometimes the locks are broken. But you can always put a foot up to block the door if necessary.

  69. 69
    richcon

    I’ve had casual restroom conversations while washing my hands at work, and met the VP-level guy in charge of my department in one of them. As I was walking out, it occurred to me that gender-segregated restrooms prevent these sorts of casual chats between sexes and that would be a subtle handicap for female workers with male executives and vice versa.

    Even if you designed a restroom with different stall or urinal areas, I think the sinks should still be in the same section. Nobody chats while peeing, but lots of people do while cleaning their hands afterwards.

  70. 70
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Did barbaz get enough done so that person can brag to the pit about catching the bullies in a contradiction while also telling TERFs about tales of standing to true misogyny?

    Such is the exciting and death defying life of a troll.

  71. 71
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    If you think that “creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can” describes transwomen then you might have some phobia-related problem.

    Or she’s aware that “men will pretend to be trans women so they can spy on/assault women in the restroom!”, often with the implication that this accounts for many or most people who “claim to be” trans women, is a nauseatingly common fear-tactic of people opposed to making bathrooms less generally fuck-withy.

  72. 72
    ledasmom

    You don’t worry about moose/bison stampedes?

    (wakes from a sound sleep, shaking off cats):Wait, what? Moose/bison? Is this one of the inevitable results of gay marriage that the religious right keeps warning us about?
    Against a geyser-filled background, the majestic moose/bison stands tall, an antler rising from one side or the other of its head.

    barbaz@59:

    So, when is it ok to make some women feel uncomfortable and when is it not? Only if it pisses of moslems, too?

    Did you have a point, or are you just determined to act assholish? You led off with a common slur against trans women and then you decided to drag in a case where it was clearly stated that the problem was behavior, not a lack of segregated elevators. I am not really getting the idea that you are arguing in good faith.

  73. 73
    Inaji

    Janine, to my knowledge, Barbaz isn’t a troll (at least not here). Their behaviour in this thread, though…not good.

  74. 74
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    an antler rising from one side or the other of its head.

    To prevent poaching, I’m sure.

  75. 75
    ledasmom

    To prevent poaching, I’m sure.

    The moose/bison is more generally stewed or roasted.

  76. 76
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Inaji, I was not aware of that. Though the words said here sounds like classic baiting. Also hated how I was dismissed as being phobic, as if I just make up this shit. Classic pitter move.

    Difficult for me to “charitable” here.

  77. 77
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    barbaz:

    If you think that “creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can” describes transwomen then you might have some phobia-related problem

    WTF?
    You did not understand what I said.
    I said:

    Really? You can imagine that? What is the basis for this possibility?
    All you’re doing is perpetuating transphobia. Please stop.

    There’s a harmful meme that is bandied about by bigots that gender neutral restrooms will lead some men to dress as women so they can use the women’s restroom to harass or sexually assault women (there are assholes who extend this to trans*women, claiming that that’s their motive for using women’s restrooms). There is no basis for this idea, so when you expressed this:

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can

    you’re using some of the same transphobic tactics that bigots use. Being generous, I think you didn’t realize the transphobia behind your comment, but it’s there nonetheless…and intent isn’t magic.

  78. 78
    Inaji

    Janine:

    Difficult for me to “charitable” here.

    I don’t think there’s reason to be charitable, given Barbaz’s “why do you think I have a problem with unisex bathrooms?” after a load of nonsense.

    There was room to talk about potential discomfort, but I don’t think Barbaz is interested in an actual conversation about it. Here in ND, I’ve noticed more places going with single occupancy bathrooms, which I have assumed is a way to sidestep the issue of unisex bathrooms.

  79. 79
    blf

    A lot of men aren’t overly keen on urinals.

    Raises hand. Yes, they very much bother me — never been too sure why… — but what I REALLY HATE are troughs and similar. (So I don’t particularly like the few remaining pissoirs, albeit I do appreciate the attempted convenience.)

  80. 80
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    That reminds, blf. Recently, troughs were put up to auction after the dismemberment of the MetroDome in Minneapolis. I really do not want to know if anyone bid for it and got it.

  81. 81
    Inaji

    blf:

    Raises hand. Yes, they very much bother me — never been too sure why… — but what I REALLY HATE are troughs and similar.

    It’s always struck me that there’s an auto-assumption that men don’t want or need privacy. I find that very strange.

  82. 82
    Inaji

    It’s

    Mmmmph. Make that It has. Thanks.

  83. 83
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Inaji, blf:
    10 years ago, I had no problem with urinals and troughs.
    Today I’m not fond of them. I prefer to have a degree of privacy in a public restroom.

    (part of that is that I don’t like being sized up like a piece of meat when I use a restroom in a gay bar; I’m there to pee, not to fuck)

  84. 84
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    IT’S…

    (Sorry, could not let that pass by.)

  85. 85
    conway

    The only place urinals are acceptable is in stadiums, where ten thousand men are trying to pee in 15 minutes at halftime.

    Otherwise, sit down to pee, gentlemen. If for no other reason than to be nice to the poor bastard who has to clean the place when you’re done.

  86. 86
    Inaji

    Conway:

    Otherwise, sit down to pee, gentlemen.

    I’m all for this, too. (Mister sits, and if he didn’t, he’d be the one doing the cleaning.)

  87. 87
    Louis

    There’s only one objection (and it’s an objection-lite) that I can see, and that’s sneaky fucking building designers/admins/cost cutters not putting enough toilets in. It’s already a problem (esp in older/retrofitted buildings) where women (most commonly) seem to be underserved by toilet facilities. My only concern would be that unisex toilets would be used as a tool to reduce toilet floorspace in a building at the expense of “profit making space”. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen corporations/institutions make exactly these kinds of calculations! ;-)

    Mind you, it IS an “objection-lite” because it’s so damned easy to solve: Don’t be a bunch of rapacious turds, build adequate toilet facilities for the users of the buildings.

    The only other thing, because I’m a pluralist in many ways, is I would hope provision was made for people who didn’t want to go to a unisex toilet. The way I look at it is if some women (in particular) didn’t want to use a unisex bathroom, and given extant cultural misogyny etc I do get why that might be the case, I don’t see it as a grand hardship or violation to provide this for them. Toilets are about function and comfort after all.

    Also, I will speak in favour of the pissoir/urinal/trough/bush of convenience. I love them…perhaps too strong a phrase! I favour them when going for a widdle. Wander in, John Thomas out, make with the wee wee, wash hands, dry hands, leave, go to meeting, get shouted at for not putting Percy away. Okay the last bit wasn’t entirely serious. It’s truly not difficult to aim and be clean, and (for me) it has the virtue of being quick and efficient.

    Given habits of people peeing standing up and not managing the task of being a good shot, and other more personal reasons for objections, would unisex bathrooms as an addition (as opposed to replacement) be an idea? So Ladies stalls, Gents urinals, and Unisex stalls in separate rooms. Too much, too tricky?

    That said I can’t see a good objection at all to unisex toilets, only seriously minor details to fix like the above. If people were treated well, I can see no reason not to do it. AND I really like the “causes generally better behaviour” idea. More mingling of the sexes/genders strikes me as a bonus.

    Louis

    P.S. I like Richon’s point @ #69 about the disadvantages of not being able to chat with senior colleagues in the toilets. Hadn’t thought of it that way.

  88. 88
    ledasmom

    My boys sit, unless camping. The trees don’t care about splashes.

  89. 89
    twas brillig (stevem)

    @85:

    Otherwise, sit down to pee, gentlemen. If for no other reason than to be nice to the poor bastard who has to clean the place when you’re done.

    Yes, That’s why I respect [...er..., chuckle at] the signs I sometimes see hanging on the wall behind the toilet, “We aim to please. You aim too, please.” ;-P

  90. 90
    blf

    My only concern would be that unisex toilets would be used as a tool to reduce toilet floorspace in a building at the expense of “profit making space”. … [This is] so damned easy to solve: Don’t be a bunch of rapacious turds, build adequate toilet facilities for the users of the buildings.

    Semi-snarky comment: Executives have their own toilers, often private. What’s the problem?

    More factual, albeit perhaps dated (and mostly from memory), reply: At least in USAlienstan yonks ago, the UBC (Uniform Building Code), which is incorporated, mandated, or otherwise influences many (usually state?) building laws / regulations, does(? did?) specify a higher ratio of toilets to people for expected on-site females than expected on-site males. I don’t recall the specific details (it’s been too long since I read that section of the then-current UBC), but assuming things haven’t changed too much, that means there is a legal requirement in many areas for, in essence, more female toilets than male toilets.

    However, to the best of my recollection, it is (or at least was) pro-rated by the number of females / males expected(? predicted?) on-site. And I have no idea or recollection if the higher ratio of toilets:females was, in fact, adequate, nor how it was determined / measured. (Point also applies to toilets:males, obviously, but I am also obviously assuming females are more badly served than males.)

  91. 91
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sitting down to pee is nice.
    Possible TMI

    A few years ago, I learned the hard way to make sure the toilet seat is clean (as much as possible). I developed a really irritating rash on my butt after sitting on a toilet.
    I was bartending on a busy night and for the next 15-20 minutes I was scratching my butt. I had a lot of puzzled looks aimed at me. The rash went away on its own and never returned. Even though I don’t know for sure that I got it from the toilet seat, since then I always make sure to grab paper towels and soap to wipe down the seat before use.

  92. 92
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The sign one of my grandmothers had in the bathroom.

    If you sprinkle
    When you tinkle
    Be a sweetie
    And wipe the seatie

  93. 93
    conway

    No man’s aim is perfect. No gun shoots straight every time.

    1001 nights in lady’s homes taught me to have a seat. Plus, you get to readjust your clothes and walk back into the room looking good.

  94. 94
    Rich Woods

    @Tony #91:

    I was bartending on a busy night and for the next 15-20 minutes I was scratching my butt.

    I hope you only poured high-alcohol drinks for those 20 minutes!

  95. 95
    Inaji

    Tony:

    Even though I don’t know for sure that I got it from the toilet seat, since then I always make sure to grab paper towels and soap to wipe down the seat before use.

    You don’t have those seat protector thingies?

  96. 96
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Inaji:
    Some of the restrooms I’ve been in supply those (the restrooms in a few of the local malls for instance), but many of the restaurants and bars I’ve been to do not.

  97. 97
    Menyambal

    This guy sits down to pee. At home, at least. It’s quieter, cleaner and less hands-on … so I can read a few.

    I also kneel down to piss at my toilet, sometimes, which I have never heard of. One knee down, one knee up, and one hand to keep the bits off the rim. It is quieter and cleaner than standing, and faster than sitting. It ain’t easy on the knee, and not for use in a dirty pub, of course.

  98. 98
    Rich Woods

    Visting Amsterdam for the first time a few years back, I was surprised to see the city services wheel out a load of free-standing open urinals and place them in the main squares on Friday and Saturday nights. I could sort of see the sense in providing places where men could piss in public (and this really was public!) rather than paying 50 cents to use a bar’s toilet, but I couldn’t do it myself. I couldn’t imagine not washing my hands before picking up my beer glass again.

  99. 99
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    @91

    Oh my dog it’s true, then!

    When I was working for a parenting website, we had a woman posting there who insisted allowing your young boy to sit to pee would make him gay. And now here we have proof!

    When my son was learning, he darned well sat down. Time enough for dad to show him the fine art of aiming later, getting him to the potty was enough of a struggle.

  100. 100
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re blf @90:

    that means there is a legal requirement in many areas for, in essence, more female toilets than male toilets.

    I guess the UBC doesn’t apply to the Feds then. Elizabeth Warren was talking to Jon Stewart about the higher ratio of women senators to men senators there now is (still a tiny %) but that there were only a few female toilets, with MANY more for men. That did prompt the Senate to refurbish the the toilets; reconfiguring some of the men’s rooms into women’s rooms.

  101. 101
    Inaji

    spamamander:

    we had a woman posting there who insisted allowing your young boy to sit to pee would make him gay.

    I’ve seen people arguing that too. That idiocy needs to die. Everyone would be happier and better off if kids were taught that we all deserve privacy, and sitting down is a good way to keep things clean.

  102. 102
    knowknot

    Oh great. ANOTHER issue re which I must spend a weekend dealing with the discomfort of an examined life. (Joke. It’s part of what I come here for.)
     
    But I’m going to admit to my ignorance, which like most ignorance, feels like something else; and I apologize for length, but I thought a shorter version would look like I was just throwing a wrench…
     
    I can see (and have seen) it working out fine in smaller locations, and some more “locally focused” locations, especially when there’s a consistent social presence, or situations in which the “authorities” mentioned @29 by Beatrice are consistently present.
     
    But I’m trying to work this out in larger locations such as airports, at late hours, and given that my experience is that authorities are often absent or unresponsive in general. I know that anybody could sneak any where at any time currently, and that anything can happen, but if there’s an issue that makes the presence of an authority necessary, situations like this tend to limit their occurance due to the human tendency to avoid whatever when anyone might notice.
     
    I’ve tried to work out the benefit overall. First, I tried for a financial one, perhaps that a single restroom with more stalls might be more cost effective to build (can’t figure a maintenance break). But I don’t find the peeking / “multi-colored mirrors on his hobnail boots” issue to be all that silly… so I’d think the stalls would have to be more substantial re privacy, incurring cost.
     
    Then, given the sheer number of MRA / misogynist / miseveryoneelseist types we’re still dealing with, I’m having trouble not imagining the effect of having one more issue, especially one that’s so ripe for Limbaugh-Beck-etc-style flame mongering and, to be honest, sabotage, when we’re already dealing with so many others. Or to massively Godwin it, it might not be so good to plan a “supposedly enemies of the race” tour around the Königsplatz before some social issues have been dealt with.
     
    I don’t have a personal issue with unisex restrooms, having dealt with it comfortably before, and I’ve had some experience that makes me think that some European women, both straight and gay (not sure re all others), have fewer affecting issues around this; they tend to care less what anyone else thinks about whatever (?). But I’m trying to work out how smoothly this would go in the often generally sexually funny American culture. Porky’s and all that.
     
    I may be overprotective due to some past experience and the fact that I have daughters. But the poetry of the restroom seems to have ingrained sexualized contexts that make me a little twitchy on that front.
     
    There are issues of paruresis, which I’m guessing would be more problematic if the setting became more charged in any way, hypospodias which is often hugely embarrassing for males who must “always sit down,” (since, and I’m not kidding here, women necessarily use the toilets, potentially causing embarrasing waits), and whatever else I don’t know about in this regard.
     
    Grooming. Not even going to try to explain that one.
     
    And then, given a sensible concern regarding triggers, I’m wondering about the effect of not only talk, but graffitti as well. Or the effect on the several women I’ve known who have had issues re being spied on.
     
    Issues re international visitors? If that’s going to be handled with optional facilities, we’re going to be building as many or more restrooms than we already have.
     
    And last (because I’m becoming more concerned about myself than usual) I have to admit that I don’t know how changes might affect trans people.
     
    Oh. Here’s an article with something, which only made me more confused in the end, but most things do that:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/the-private-lives-of-public-bathrooms/360497/
     
    Damn. Must be compulsive honesty day, or something.

  103. 103
    knowknot

    @69 richcon

    … it occurred to me that gender-segregated restrooms prevent these sorts of casual chats between sexes and that would be a subtle handicap for female workers with male executives and vice versa.

     
    I’ve heard women say things that have made me think that this is not always so subtle. And it sounded meaningful, though I have no overall statistical data.

  104. 104
    ekwhite

    I have one comment about standup urinals. At my workplace we use waterless urinals in the Men’s Room. Supposedly, they save around 4000 gallons of water per year per urinal. A unisex restroom could have them, enclosed in stalls.

  105. 105
    anat

    To richon, @69: Nobody chats while peeing, but lots of people do while cleaning their hands afterwards.

    My husband tells me at least some of the higher-ups chat while using the urinals, and his boss will keep a conversation going across the stall door too.

  106. 106
    blf

    I guess the UBC doesn’t apply to the Feds then.

    Almost certainly true: The Feds exempt themselves from many things, and, perhaps more relevant in this case, the UBC is(? was?) intended to be a basis (for, as I recall, state (which I said previously)) laws / regulations with necessary local variations: For instance, in California, more stringent earthquake measures.

  107. 107
    carlie

    his boss will keep a conversation going across the stall door too.

    I absolutely despise people who keep talking when bathrooming. For those of us with varying degrees of discomfort (from simple shyness to paruresis), that kind of disruption is a freaking nightmare. THERE IS NO TALKING IN THE BATHROOM. The floor I work on has only one stall in the women’s room (because when it was built there were no women to worry about except a secretary or two, amirite?), so it’s basically like one single bathroom, except not because it just has a regular door, so when anyone comes in and it’s occupied they have to stand there and wait for the other person to finish, and I swear to god I can’t even count the number of times when I hear the door open and the person doesn’t just leave like a normal person but stands right there and waits. I have to give up and leave and go to the bathroom downstairs instead. And god forbid if someone I know is in there or walking in at the same time and they start talking to me; I have to pretend I’m just there to grab a paper towel and flee.

  108. 108
    llyris

    Richcon #69 That’s a very good point. Unisex for work places and other private/public places.
    But…
    Do people here really not understand why we’re talking about elevators? See, I’m fine with trans people, the dad with his young daughter, almost anyone. But I really don’t want someone to try to pick me up inthe toilet. The supermarket, the mall, the bus, the station, the pub, walking down the street; anywhere public,loud or quiet. I’ve had single men try to pick me up in a lot of places, and they certainly do take advantage of relative quiet to make a move. If you’re a single cismale in a Womens’ toilet I know I should get out of there immediately. But I’m not worried about the very rare utter creep. I’m more concerned about the much more common pushy, inappropriate jerks.

  109. 109
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and let me complain about the placement of the handicapped stalls in the back, when there isn’t a family handicapped stall available. The Redhead prefers to use women’s bathrooms, and if the handicapped stall was near the front, then there would be no need to pass in-use stalls during transit to the handicapped stall.

  110. 110
    Wren, a Tru Hoppist

    knowknot #102

    I’ve tried to work out the benefit overall. First, I tried for a financial one, perhaps that a single restroom with more stalls might be more cost effective to build (can’t figure a maintenance break). But I don’t find the peeking / “multi-colored mirrors on his hobnail boots” issue to be all that silly… so I’d think the stalls would have to be more substantial re privacy, incurring cost.

    If you have used an Eastern style toilet, you will notice that all the walls start at the floor. I don’t know why we can’t just do that instead of those 6-12 inch gaps between the floor and the stall wall. Stall wall…hmmm. Anyway, if we had walls that start at the floor and go up high enough, the peeking issue would be void. And these types of toilets are all over the place in Japan and Hong Kong (where I’ve seen them), so the cost can’t be prohibitive.

  111. 111
    Chuck

    So after reading all of this, I need to find a bathroom (power of suggestion, I guess). Do I grab my crotch now, or when I burst through the door?

  112. 112
    Kagehi

    I do not understand why some people get so angry and worked up over the idea of sharing a bathroom. Our attitudes towards bathrooms are quite odd at times.

    Huh.. Well, at least 4-5 times this year I have actually had both older ladies, and others, flat out ignore me, as a guy, when I was sweeping the floor in the bathroom, and policy, and even law, in some cases, say I can’t be in there when they are. And, that is in Arizona, which isn’t exactly “liberal”. But, if you really want to freak these “moralists” out, maybe sending them all on a trip some place where there are public showers, and no “separate” shower for men and women, like at the dock side facilities on, I think it was Roche Island, up near Vancouver, Canada. And, I can just imagine if such a thing where suggested as a, “general public thing in places with showers”. You think bathrooms have there people freaked out…. ;)

  113. 113
    Hatchetfish

    I’ve seen two ‘reasons’, one reasonable the other not so reasonable for the gap under stall walls: easier floor mopping (reasonable) and “less hanky panky” (mostly laughable).

    As for the overall issue: Don’t understand the fuss at sharing a room with other people. We do it all day long. We do it putting food in one end, what’s so awful about doing it when it gets to the other?

    My college dorms always had two multi-stall (and shower stall) bathrooms, and every year there was an anonymous vote beginning of the year: unisex (required unanimous agreement) or not? Every year they were unisex. Every year there was not a single problem.

    Maybe the most ridiculous argument I’ve heard against it was from a (catholic school) teacher, who apparently never progressed beyond the second grade “Cootie Theory of Disease”: Using a toilet after a person of any differing sex would greatly increase one’s risk of catching a Disease, as though STD’s could only be transmitted outside one’s own sex. Never mind this same teacher was convinced HIV was a disease of the gays, transmissable only to those of the same sex. (I never quite worked up the nerve to ask how there were both men and women with AIDS if HIV could only be transmitted to the carrier’s own sex.)

    Never really have worked out whether she believed this crap, it was just a shield for her true feelings of “ICKY!!!”, or both. I worked out a long time ago that she was an idiot though.

  114. 114
    plainenglish

    carlie @ 107, You are absolutely and completely brilliant about bathrooms. All you wretched eliminators, be gone and leave us be! What grumpy growlies I feel when I have to squeeze up beside some strange man to pee! How the piss can I do it! Oh, forget it, I’ll hold it till Jesus returns. Make whatever damned holes you want for yourselves… I want none of you there with me and I’ll sit or stand as the spirit grunts in me! When the time comes that there is nowhere left for carlie and I to pass-in-peace, then that will be it for us! Goodbye cruel bathrooms! Farewell dear, glorious and private piddle! What a world, what a world…..

  115. 115
    P. Zimmerle

    I have never once in my life run into a bathroom holding my crotch.

  116. 116
    richcon

    MSNBC says the bathroom clause was dropped from the anti-discrimination bill. Houston still has gender-based bathrooms.

    http://www.msnbc.com/craig-melvin/houston-passes-equal-rights-ordinance

  117. 117
    yubal

    My wife and me are debating if we (that would be me) should install a urinal in the bathroom when our son gets old enough to use one.

    I personally prefer to sit. At home because I am the one who has to clean the bathroom and elsewhere because I can close a door and be by myself.

    What was the topic again?

  118. 118
    richcon

    llyris: I can definitely see how in many environments like seedier bars, cramped unisex restrooms would be scary. It’s definitely something you’d want to do in professional environments first, then public well lit places like upscale restaurants or malls. (Philz Coffee in San Francisco has a two-stall unisex restroom, by the way.) If a place goes unisex and is big enough maybe it should offer the option of smaller one-sex restrooms too.

    While it’s also nice not to get hit on while peeing, the more (rightfully) accepting society gets of homosexuality the less protection same-sex restrooms offer heterosexual men like me. :)

  119. 119
    richcon

    Yubai: my house (growing up) had a urinal in a stall next to the bathroom (with its own door). With four boys sharing one bathroom that took care of a ton of messy logistics for us!

  120. 120
    yubal

    When I grew up it was still customary to use the bushes outside for the small business.

    I always hated that but that’s what you have to do when several families share one bathroom.

  121. 121
    weatherwax

    #48 lorn: “As a part-time job I used to maintain the bathrooms at a couple of bars and my observation was that while the men’s room was typically a mess, mostly a function of unsteady aim, the women’s room was the sight of some of the most disgusting and offensive abuses. Blood, urine and/or feces smeared on floor, walls, and at least once, some on the ceiling. Random piles of toilet paper and paper towels, sometimes a toilet and/or sink overflowing. Makeup and a few unknown substances applied randomly to the mirrors ”

    That’s actually the opposite of what I found when I cleaned restrooms in a department store many years ago. The women’s tended to be the dirtiest, just because it was the more heavily used. There were a couple of nasty accidents. And the floor was always covered with shredded TP, which I never figured out. But all of the deliberate mess was in the mens room. Soap dispensers torn off the wall and stomped on, used TP thrown out on the floor instead of in the toilet, etc

    I frankly wonder if most of the men in charge are just worried about the women finding out how often they don’t wash there hands.

  122. 122
    weatherwax

    #121: …their hands…

  123. 123
    yubal

    (Trigger warning. Intercultural differences)

    Just to add to the anecdotal evidence of bathroom mess, we had an occasion when one of our scientists was observed (under the cabin divide) to place paper towels on the floor, deficate on them and then put them in the toilet.

    There is apparently what people from that culture would do if exposed to a western toilet system given the lack of alternatives.

  124. 124
    mykroft

    My wife is quite handicapped. One time she told me about when we were out to the movies, she went in the ladies bathroom. She was struggling her way to the handicapped stall, when a giggle of girls passed her by and crammed themselves into the stall because it was large enough to hold the group.

    Sex doesn’t matter when it comes to being jerks.

  125. 125
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    janine

    The sign one of my grandmothers had in the bathroom.

    Scary thing: I had the same for many years…

  126. 126
    darthchimay

    …some man, as we often do, come running in the bathroom holding his crotch trying to get to a toilet…

    Wait, what? We “often” do this? I think the last time I did something like this was when I was about 5. I guess I just don’t live a slapstick lifestyle.

  127. 127
    playonwords

    Fine with unisex but urinals need to be fitted because waterless urinals save water – a lot of it. Obviously proper design would help by visually separating the urinal stalls but all too often washroom design is constrained by the space available.

    The real question then becomes why is it beyond the ability of humans to devise a urinal for both sexes?

  128. 128
    barbaz

    @Tony:

    There’s a harmful meme that is bandied about by bigots that gender neutral restrooms will lead some men to dress as women so they can use the women’s restroom to harass or sexually assault women.

    Why would a man have to dress as a women when the restroom is already gender neutral?

    (there are assholes who extend this to trans*women, claiming that that’s their motive for using women’s restrooms)

    I get that, but the problem with this argument is “transwomen are creeps”, not “creeps shouldn’t be allowed in ladies rooms”.

    @Inaji:
    I think the discussion about discomfort would be easier if mentioning the problem wouldn’t lead to accusations of transphobia. I’d also like to know why it’s not allowed to quote past discussions about discomfort in this one.

    @someone above:
    I liked the racism argument. I just can’t find it anymore…

  129. 129
    Olav

    Wren #110:

    If you have used an Eastern style toilet, you will notice that all the walls start at the floor. I don’t know why we can’t just do that instead of those 6-12 inch gaps between the floor and the stall wall. Stall wall…hmmm. Anyway, if we had walls that start at the floor and go up high enough, the peeking issue would be void. And these types of toilets are all over the place in Japan and Hong Kong (where I’ve seen them), so the cost can’t be prohibitive.

    I believe hygiene is a factor here. The dividers that leave a gap underneath make it much easier to clean/mop the floor. If the panel touches the floor it creates an area where all sorts of matter can accumulate and that will be more time consuming to clean (so you can expect it will not happen often enough). For this reason I would still prefer the more “open” design in any high traffic public toilet room.

  130. 130
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I’ve seen two ‘reasons’, one reasonable the other not so reasonable for the gap under stall walls: easier floor mopping (reasonable) and “less hanky panky” (mostly laughable).

    If only that were true for Senator *whatshisname*, who was a homophobe but was caught doin the fag stuff in a bathroom in an airport. The other guy said that while he was sittin’ in a stall, *whatshisname* flashed his foot under the “gap” as invitation to “get intimate”, to which he enthusiastically replied and was welcomed enthusiastically. [smirk]

    re unisex urinals:
    It seems that a urinal for females is limited by female anatomy. Males have that convenient spigot to pull out of their pants, while females don’t posses that spigot nor the fly, to bypass their pants. Even if females can hike their skirts and drop their panties; there’s still the aiming issue of directing the liquid into the urinal.
    I read somewhere [no citation. sorry] that conventional urinals, that have that little bumpout of the basin, were originally intended for both male and female usage. Females would just have to hover over that bumpout while discharging those liquids.
    To be nationalist: seems Japan worked this issue out long ago. Just put a hole in the floor that either sex can use as a urinal or a pooper. Easy. Even modern Japan toilets have “little flush” and “big flush” for pee vs poo respectively. Murican toilets are gradually adopting the little v. big flush, but way behind Japan adoption of same.

  131. 131
    kathleenmcnamara

    @127 they have made female urinals. Google female urinals to see what they look like.The issue is that female plumbing is different, so you wind up squatting over them, rather than standing in front and aiming. Also, when I was in grad school, the women’s bathroom had half the stalls with these instead of toilets, and I can say that they were poorly designed, uncomfortable, and too tall. Only time anyone used them was if all the toilets were taken and didn’t feel like waiting.

  132. 132
    llyris

    Richcon #118

    While it’s also nice not to get hit on while peeing, the more (rightfully) accepting society gets of homosexuality the less protection same-sex restrooms offer heterosexual men like me. :)

    Or in other words, you are all for unisex because you feel more protected from men? Ahem.
    Er. Um. Yes. So the threat definitely comes from men… Um.
    And I note that while I mentioned not wanting to be hit on you used the word “protection” So there is also a threat. An ever present threat that becomes background noise so I don’t even notice it most of the time. The constant threat of physical aggression. I don’t know which of the men who hit on me are going to get angry, aggressive or violent. Currently that is acceptable behaviour, while entering the womens’ toilet is not.

    It’s not like there are suddenly going to be more homosexual men there, although are probably right that they will be more forward when they feel less threatened. To be honest I really don’t know the statistics on the prevalence of sexual arseholery among homosexual men, compared to heterosexual men.

    I am probably not saying this well and I don’t mean to be antagonistic. But check your privileges.

    I would disagree about malls, because they are very public, full of strangers, and difficult to control. I’ve experienced a huge amount of leering, several hit-ons of opportunity, and even been followed through the mall for the purposes of attempting a pick up. The toilets are always tucked somewhere out of the way. I’ve occasionally felt threatened by men leering or getting too close to me on the long walk down the corridor to the toilet. I don’t want them following me inside.
    Maybe your suggestion of unisex, mens’ and womens’ would work.
    High class restaurants are better controlled. In Australia, anyway. And in my experience the code of behaviour of the patrons has been better. (Maybe not Macdonalds) And in a workplace? You probably know their name, you can identify them. That has some power.
    I absolutely agree that it would be a good step forward in controllable places.

  133. 133
    U Frood

    I can see arguments from the safety or comfort position. But I don’t understand why unisex bathrooms would be considered immoral.

  134. 134
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    To be nationalist: seems Japan worked this issue out long ago. Just put a hole in the floor that either sex can use as a urinal or a pooper. Easy.

    Um, yeah, it’s not just Japan and it’s hardly a great invention. It’s something Europe is gradually getting rid off (finally!), because they are stinkier than usual toilets (something about squatting over a hole in the floor makes people less likely to aim or flush), inconvenient (you have to squat, if you have knee issues or back issues or your body just isn’t working as well as it used to, that can be painful) and did I mention the stink and the filth?

    Short:
    Ugh, squat toilets.

  135. 135
    twas brillig (stevem)

    the more (rightfully) accepting society gets of homosexuality the less protection same-sex restrooms offer heterosexual men like me. :)

    Careful with that phrasing, it can be interpreted as homophobia-speak. I too often try to convey one thing and my phrasing get re-interpreted as the opposite. just passing along the warnings I’ve received from other poor phrasings.

  136. 136
    LykeX

    I can see arguments from the safety or comfort position. But I don’t understand why unisex bathrooms would be considered immoral.

    There seems to be some people who are unable to differentiate between “I don’t like it” and “it’s immoral”. They don’t have a clear subjective/objective distinction.

  137. 137
    grignon

    re: # 109, 110 &129
    Unisex BRs have always made the most sense to me. But modifying existing spaces could be prohibitively expensive, especially for small firms. That 12″ gap below and above the stall doors/panels allow for common floor drain, ventilation and lighting, all of which are required for these spaces. It also allows for inward opening doors, since alternative egress is provided by the gaps. Without those gaps, the doors must open outward, violating safety principles (doors between private and public spaces must open into the private space). This is why the wheel chair stall is at the end. In a small facility, the door often opens outward. The extra space required for an inward opening door keeps it at the back of the room.

  138. 138
    U Frood

    Certainly there’s no good reason that restrooms with a single toilet should need to be segregated.

  139. 139
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    barbaz:

    Colorado-based anti-LGBT activist Gordon Klingenschmitt emailed members of his Pray In Jesus Name group this weekend to denounce a January court ruling in Maine on the rights of transgender students, which Klingenschmitt held up as proof that “‘transgenders’ want your children.”

    “Liberals demand public access to rape your girls, at least visually in public bathrooms, or to expose themselves to your girls at school, without parental consent or protection of any kind,” Klingenschmitt wrote. “Maine parents should immediately remove their children from public schools, and teach them at home.”

    The GOP state legislative candidate also criticized the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which offers protections for LGBT employees.

    ‘Transgenders’ want your children. Liberals demand public access to rape your girls, at least visually in public bathrooms, or to expose themselves to your girls at school, without parental consent or protection of any kind. Maine parents should immediately remove their children from public schools, and teach them at home.

    For-profit business owners have NO religious exemptions, which will force Christians to choose: either quit your business or hire gays who may directly oppose the mission of your corporation. Owners of Bible publishers, Christian bookstores, Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby will no longer be permitted to operate a business that honors God and fulfills their owner’s mission to promote godliness in the marketplace.

    Klingenschmitt previously claimed that the transgender rights movement is led by a “demon of rape” that seeks to “violate your daughters” and accused transgender students of “raping, at least visually, teenage girls.”

    Whether you intended it or not, your original comment:

    Well, I could imagine that this might attract some creeps who will now visit women’s restrooms just because they can

    is very similar to the arguments used by Gordon the bigot above. You’re calling them “creeps” and he’s referring to transwomen, but your wild imagining (is it even a problem) is too similar to Gordon the bigots. It’s unintentionally transphobic. If you’re not going to believe me, why not listen to the trans*women who have told you your comment is transphobic?

  140. 140
  141. 141
    maddogdelta

    No worries, folks. The Christians have a solution to the “problem”
    http://www.click2houston.com/news/houston-mayor-receives-death-threats/26261096

  142. 142
    carlie

    That 12″ gap below and above the stall doors/panels allow for common floor drain, ventilation and lighting, all of which are required for these spaces.

    Most of the bathrooms I’ve seen have more like a 2 foot or even 30 inch gap below the stall panels, probably because it’s cheaper if they’re shorter.

    It also allows for inward opening doors, since alternative egress is provided by the gaps.Without those gaps, the doors must open outward,

    Interesting. That makes sense, but I’ve been in a quite posh hotel wherein the doors most definitely opened in, but each stall had a complete wall (not panel, but a wall) all the way to the floor. There was a gap at the top of the door, but the door itself also went almost all the way to the floor. They may have an exemption based on being a historical landmark, or the laws might be a little different state to state.

  143. 143
    carlie

    (To clarify: I’m not talking about the bathroom doors in the hotel rooms, but the public restrooms for general use in the conference room wing. I was only attending a meeting there, not staying.)

  144. 144
    JJ831

    The freshmen dorms at my university were co-ed. And that included the showers too. It was 2 sets bathrooms on the floor, of 4 stalls, and 4 showers in the back. I had heard some RA’s on other floor unofficially split them male and female, but we did no such thing.

    I have to admit it was a little awkward at first (especially for me, as my BM schedule seemed to be right in line with another residents tooth brushing schedule, no matter how I tried to avoid it). But within a week everyone was over it. We’d even have co-ed discussions with each other sittin’ on the head (I never said we weren’t gross).

    In fact (and another reason why these guys may not like the idea) – the co-ed showers ended up being one of the most private places a couple could find in the heat of the moment.

  145. 145
    JJ831

    @myslef
    ^Freshmen bathrooms were co-ed, not just the dorms.

  146. 146
    Callinectes

    I’ve missed this issue. What’s the motivation behind unisex bathrooms? I can immediately see how it resolves transgender access issues at a stroke, and I have heard how some political organisations have had outrageous disparities between the availability of female and male facilities. But is there more to it that I don’t know about?

  147. 147
    richcon

    llyris, stevem: You’re right, bad phrasing. Was trying to make a point with humor. My point was that this issue will become much more moot in time, since everyone would be just as likely to get hit on in gender-specific restrooms as gender neutral ones and people will overall get a better appreciation that it’s not cool. Time’s marching in the right direction. But problems are still there, which is why I’m a big fan of it happening in professional environments first and then maybe elsewhere as it becomes appropriate. I think college dorms are a great idea, as long as they also have very strong policies for dealing with abuse.

    By the way stevem, the only implication I can see in my bad phrasing (that I don’t appreciate being hit on in the restroom any more than llyris) is no more homophobic than a woman saying the exact same thing is man-hating. Thank-you for instead acknowledging that it was just a poorly phrased point.

    (I’ve been in enough of those situations that I get it, some scarier and creepier than others.)

  148. 148
    richcon

    Callinectes: my comment in #69 above mentions the case for them in business environments.

  149. 149
    yankonamac

    I’d like to weigh in a little on the side of “within reasonable limits”. I’m no stranger to unisex toilets and I don’t mind them, but I think they should only be considered when privacy is actually an option. The memory that came to mind when reading through the conversation thus far is one of South Carolina fish camps, these barn-like lakeside restaurants that serve up fried who-knows-what to thousands of people every weekend. I don’t really know if it’s still like this, but when I was a kid the toilets were another barn-like facility adjacent to the main structure, and the women’s half was usually thirty or so half-sheets of sterling board arranged into stalls and a length of pipe mounted just above head-height, from which was hung 1/3 of a shower curtain as a sort of makeshift door for each unit.

    As anyone who has gone within a thousand miles of South Carolina can attest, it’s damn hot and humid there most of the year, but these proudly no-frills places would never waste money on luxuries like aircon when a few box fans will suffice to keep your underpants from sticking to your ankles. The net effect is a room full of billowing curtains, behind which dozens of strangers try to find their happy place while still more queue up and pointedly examine the intricacies of their shoes.

    The (numerous) memories of these places are merely uncomfortable, but this discussion (combined with a vindictive imagination) introduced the idea of it being not just sweaty old women I tried to avoid seeing, but old men too. The minimal privacy afforded by even well-built multi-occupancy toilets when you’ve got significant business to attend to is humiliating enough–I’ve never quite understood how a “we’re all girls here” attitude helps in that regard–but when circumstances enhance the public nature of your public toilets, I’d really prefer to only expect passers-by who share my gender identity to hastily glance away when the curtain blows open again.

    Thing is–this is Texas we’re talking about. Maybe not Houston but a lot of the state is just as poor as SC and just as likely, I’d wager, to have low standards of restroom privacy and low amounts of money available to improve it. This isn’t just about who you wash your hands next to. This is about accidentally seeing little old ladies peeing, which is embarrassing for everyone.

  150. 150
    carlie

    Funny thing – the worst open-everything bathroom I ever saw in my life was at a Southern Baptist church camp. Yes, Southern Baptists, the Purity and Modesty People™. They had cabins that slept about 8, and the cabin bathroom had two sinks, three stalls, two showers. And no shower curtains, and no stall doors. I can’t remember if the place ended up giving us some stupid excuse about it being in the middle of renovation, but in that case they shouldn’t have rented it out, and should have given us something to rectify the situation. Instead, we had to go out and buy a box of large garbage bags* and MacGyver doors of sorts, similar to what yankonamac is talking about. The thought of it still haunts me.

    *and no, our adult in charge wouldn’t let us buy actual shower curtains to use, because that “cost too much”

  151. 151
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    richcon:

    While it’s also nice not to get hit on while peeing, the more (rightfully) accepting society gets of homosexuality the less protection same-sex restrooms offer heterosexual men like me. :)

    I didn’t read your entire comment originally, and you’ve since cleared things up a bit but I wanted to point out that it’s a bit more than poor phrasing (to me, as a gay man). It’s jarring bc on the one hand, you approve of society becoming more accepting of homosexuals, but that’s contrasted by an attempt at humor.
    But that humorous attempt makes use of one of the irrational fears of many bigots: that gay men hit on all men.
    There’s also the fact that homosexual and heterosexual men have been sharing restrooms for a very long time already (the humor falls flat bc same sex restrooms don’t offer *any* protection from being hit on, nor would unisex restrooms).

    BTW, I do not think you’re a bigot or that your comment was bigoted. I just think it’s problematic.

  152. 152
    madscientist

    I think it’s just an underhanded attempt to scrimp on a few dollars – make ‘em all unisex rather than build a few more as required to serve the population. I doubt women will be terribly happy about the state the guys leave the facilities. Oh well, no one’s complained about unisex toilets in China in the past 80 years.

  153. 153
    yankonamac

    Carlie, that sounds eerily familiar to a girl scout excursion I went on about twenty years ago, except we used towels instead of bin bags and asked each other to make noise if they were coming in so we could shout “don’t come past the second stall!” We made the best of it, but did feel cheated.

  154. 154
    richcon

    Carlie: You’d think getting to check off that “clothe the naked” commandment literally by hanging a few $5 sheets of plastic would have made them jump for joy.

  155. 155
    richcon

    Tony: In hindsight it does read that way, though that definitely wasn’t on my mind. My bad for not considering the stupid prejudices people have to deal with.

  156. 156
    David Marjanović

    “We aim to please. You aim too, please.”

    “Step closer!
    HE is shorter than you think.”

    Unfortunately I haven’t seen that one myself, only read about it.

    When I was working for a parenting website, we had a woman posting there who insisted allowing your young boy to sit to pee would make him gay.

    What is this unfuckery?

  157. 157
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    “unfuckery”…heh heh.
    I like that word.

  158. 158
    David Marjanović

    You need to hang out on Facebook more.

  159. 159
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    While it’s also nice not to get hit on while peeing,

    I originally read that as a fluid dynamics problem.

    i don’t think that was as intended.

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