Take the long view — the opponents of transgender/unisex bathrooms are all wrong. The history of ancient bathrooms shows that they’ve been unsegregated for ages and that separate bathrooms are a recent invention.
The evidence is ambiguous but one of the interesting features of most ancient and medieval bathrooms is that they generally do not appear to have been segregated by gender. Even though women were prohibited from participating in or entering many kinds of all-male spaces in the ancient world, the latrine wasn’t one of them.
In fact gender-segregated bathrooms were an innovation of the Victorian era, when they struck a blow for women’s rights. Up until the introduction of segregation in the nineteenth century, men had exclusive access to public restrooms. The result was that women were effectively tethered to their homes. While urinating over gutters or into “urinettes” (a small portable device that was used under long skirts and discretely emptied) were options, they were hardly preferred. Gender-segregated bathrooms, therefore, were actually a positive step. The 1887 Massachusetts law that mandated that workplaces provided bathrooms for female employees made it possible for women to hold down jobs without “holding it.”
Now I wonder, though, how the history of clothing was affected by this practice. In ancient Rome a woman would hitch up her stola and tunica intima to use the latrine, so there was still some privacy hidden behind folds of cloth. I’m more disgusted by the fact that they all would have shared the same sponge-on-a-stick for wiping themselves afterwards, which is why I’m bring my own roll of toilet paper when the physicists get around to inventing that time machine.
I’m also thinking that only providing bathrooms for men was the kind of sneaky exclusionary trick that was also done by not having pockets on women’s clothing.