While activists and officials on both sides of the debate are lawyering up, the founder of a popular Austin movie-theater chain has unveiled plans for his business to sidestep the debate altogether, before it’s had a chance to fully take root in Texas.
The idea, outlined on Facebook by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League, is to design a restroom that is “comfortable for all genders.”
“Instead of taking sides on whether or not sexual predators will be invading the restrooms of our stores or public schools, we’ve been thinking about what an inclusive commercial gender-neutral restroom design might look like so that these challenges are not even part of the dialogue,” League’s post says. “The consensus was that we’d have a room with ‘standing’ toilets (heck, we’re even looking at those all-gender urinals) and individual rooms with sinks, mirrors and trash cans in each room, our ‘seated’ toilet area.”
“I don’t want to have any ‘men’ or ‘women’ signs in the building,” the post adds.
The restroom would be placed in the next Alamo Drafthouse location, League said, noting that he has been working with an architect.
His Facebook post includes a drawing of the evolving design that he hopes will meet city code.
What exactly a gender-neutral urinal looks like remains an open question, even for those involved in designing one.
“It’s new territory,” Alamo Drafthouse architect Richard Weiss told NBC affiliate KXAN. “It’s something we’re looking into. It’s essentially a urinal that has a throat that comes out, it’s a deeper stall.”
“The ultimate goal,” he added, “is that everybody should be able to do what they want to do where they want to do it.”
In a subsequent Facebook post, League clarified his position on transgender people and restrooms.
“My intent on the previous post was to discuss architectural design details for the proposed bathroom,” he wrote.
But, he added, he does not consider himself a neutral voice on the issue. Instead, he’s taken a side.
“My side is that bigotry and the associated violence and/or shaming stemming from your choice of stall is unacceptable,” he wrote. “But changing that mindset is likely going to take a long time. My hope is that by changing the design of restrooms we can in the meantime avoid some potential violence.”
He told KXAN that he was moved to take action by stories of young people becoming targets of violence.
“It’s the stories you hear of transgender kids getting beat up in high school bathrooms,” League said. “That’s a real problem and like I say, you can’t necessarily change everybody’s mind immediately on these issues, but you can hopefully by design eliminate conflict.”
Full Story Here. And a Way to Go! to Tim League, for being thoughtful, for listening, for caring, and for seeking a solution.