Eliminating Conflict by Design.

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League shared a potential design for a gender-neutral restroom that the theater chain hopes to build at its new location. (Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse)

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League shared a potential design for a gender-neutral restroom that the theater chain hopes to build at its new location. (Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse)

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.


  1. says

    I used to know a person with a vagina who claimed that using a urinal (the duchamp style) was very easy to learn and involved pressing a pair of fingers at the right angle to aim with. Not unlike urinating with a penis, really. It’s all learned behaviors.

    I observe that individuals of all sorts appear to be able to urinate all over the place. I believe that people who stand up and take aim with a penis, especially aided by alcohol and backpressure from beer, are more likely to get urine all over the place.

    Our lawmakers should concern themselves with pee on the toilet seats!! Not the plumbing that put it there!!

  2. says


    Our lawmakers should concern themselves with pee on the toilet seats!!

    I wish they would. Drunken piss spray all over the place is unpleasant.

  3. Onamission5 says

    I like that there are more stalls than urinals, and that every stall has its own sink! Makes for ease of having to do a quick clothing rinse if that need arises.

  4. rq says

    As a(n immigrant) European, I look at that design and I just see common sense. Okay, it seems a bit over the top with each toilet also having a sink of its own, but still, common sense. Why is it so hard to accept that it is this easy to let people have their own privacy?
    Anyway, well done, movie theatre designer.
    (Next they’re probably going to pass a law that means that every bathroom door has to be clearly marked with one or the other symbol, none of this ‘both’ stuff.)

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 6

    A sink in the stall seems to be more and more common in Finland, even in men’s rooms, though the sinks are usually quite small. Often there’s a bidet shower with the sink so that you can wash down there while seated.

    I’m not a guard or civil engineer, so this should be taken with a grain of salt:

    In the design, there’s no outer door, which probably makes it more safe in real life as more of the area is in plain sight and security of any gender can easily patrol there.

    I’m not sure if the stalls are wheelchair/walker accessible (probably not). With a mini-sink the stalls might be more compact and you could have one wheelchair accessible stall in the same space without sacrificing functionality.

    I guess one benefit of gender-neutral bathrooms could be that it might make it a bit easier to mass-produce pre-fabricated lavatory elements for public buildings as you would need to make just one type for each price point. (AFAIK, nowadays bathrooms for apartment buildings are usually pre-fabricated here.)

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