I get email from the Illinois Family Institute. You can tell from the name that this organization is a regressive defender of the patriarchy, but I haven’t gotten around to blocking them yet — they don’t spam me that often, and I get a perverse thrill reading the sordid illogic of these religious fanatics. The latest email warns me that privacy in bathrooms is going away, and to support that wild claim, they cite … The Atlantic.
The Atlantic is probably the last source I’d go to for information about gender issues, they’ve been pretty badly wobbly on the topic. I would inform The Atlantic, however, that if the IFI — a notorious anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-feminist cabal — is praising you, you’ve got a real problem.
The article cited is When the Culture War Comes for the Kids, and I didn’t pay much attention to it when it came out, but IFI helpfully highlighted quotes they wanted to cheer on. Like this one, about a school that had gender-neutral bathrooms:
Within two years, almost every bathroom in the school, from kindergarten through fifth grade, had become gender-neutral. Where signs had once said boys and girls, they now said students. Kids would be conditioned to the new norm at such a young age that they would become the first cohort in history for whom gender had nothing to do with whether they sat or stood to pee. All that biology entailed—curiosity, fear, shame, aggression, pubescence, the thing between the legs—was erased or wished away.
That’s amazing. What does gender define? Whether you sat or stood to pee. That’s a remarkable trivialization of all the cultural forces brought to bear on young people to compel them to conform. This is the first generation in human history ever to urinate in desegregated spaces! I don’t think that’s true.
But it’s that next sentence that floored me.
All that biology entailed had me curious about what this writer think biology implies, and then it turns out to be…
curiosity, fear, shame, aggression, pubescence, the thing between the legs. Hang on there, guy. Human nature might drive curiosity, which is perfectly healthy, but fear and shame and aggression are responses instilled in us by cultural mores. You aren’t required by biology to be ashamed or afraid of your genitals! Fear and shame is what IFI does, and apparently, The Atlantic.
Sure, puberty and
the thing between the legs (what curious gender-neutral phrasing, as if he’s afraid to say it right out) are biological phenomena, but the thing is, they aren’t erased by where you go to the bathroom. The schools might wish they could eradicate all the trouble of puberty by changing a sign on a restroom, but that’s not going to happen. It’s especially not a concern of kindergarteners. I guess it might start impinging on some students in fifth grade, but it’s more of an issue in middle school.
It’s a bizarre complaint, and I’m not sure why IFI is pushing this as some fresh horror from progressives. Here’s how they summarize it.
For years, deceitful homosexual and “trans” activists sniffed under their sprouting snouts, “How will you be affected” by the “trans”-ideology and the addition of “gender identity” to anti-discrimination laws and policies? Some people provided answers to those questions. “Progressives” responded by howling “hater” back at them, and most conservatives responded with silence and blank stares. And now private spaces are being eradicated.
private spaces are being eradicated? Nothing in their screed supports that claim. Kids aren’t being ordered to defecate in the hallways, restrooms are still discreet places for personal functions, they’re not being turned into public showcases of children’s genitals. The only people who would like to do that are the lying prigs at places like IFI, who think it appropriate to demand specific knowledge of what is in people’s pants.
I suspect that restroom privacy is only being erased in the same place that pubescence and
things between legs are — in the paranoid, obsessive nightmares of religious bigots.
I think some of your tabs didn’t close correctly…
Tsssss, like every healthy biological family we have three bathrooms: One for men, one for women, and one for our daughters to protect them from trans people. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle if you need to wee at three a.m. and your bedroom’s on the second floor but your designated bathroom is in the basement, but it would totally destroy biology and decency and everything if we just had one loo on each floor and all used it according to which floor we’re on and whether it’s free.
Thank goodness we didn’t have any children with willies because building a toilet in the attic might have been a bit of a problem…
“[S]niffed under their sprouting snouts”?
That’s a hell of a line.
This is reminiscent of the time Ben Shapiro thought there were urinals in girls restrooms where trans women would whip out their genitals in front of his daughter.
Do home-schooled kids have separate boys and girls bathrooms in their own house?
The IFI apparently uses weasel words as well. They should be open about their belief that no one is actually gay or trans, they’ve just been manipulated to think they are. But why did anyone become gay in the first place, if it’s not a natural inclination? Satan of course! Or the Fall.(The Adam and Eve one, not the Mark E. Smith one.)
“sniffed under their sprouting snouts”
Chuckled at that one, what a silly thing to write. Oh wait I imagined Pinnochio’s nose growing, but they were probably going with a banal and lazy “feminists are old maids with hairy lips” and “transgender people are women with beards” bigotry mashup.
Ed Seedhouse says
I’ve been sitting to pee for decades now, so I guess I’ve turned into a girl?
I find sitting down more relaxing than standing, and as the pants have been dropped there’s less risk of dripping on my clothes. If I’m forced to stand it’s a wrestling match to get it out because I’m 75 and fat. For the life of me I can’t think why I ever thought urinals were a good idea. Age changes perspectives, I imagine.
Thanks to the IFI I’ve learned that I’m a trans woman.
I always thought I was a cis man. And yet I sit to pee unless I have access to a urinal. Since I’m part of a generation for who, according to them, gender determines whether I sit or stand to pee, that must make my gender that of a woman.
Or maybe my gender depends on whether I’m using a facility that has a urinal. Perhaps I’m a woman at home but a man in multiple occupancy bathrooms?
The mind boggles. I keep hearing about some sort of mysterious social pressure on people to change their gender identities. That always sounded like bs to me, but it turns out that not only is it true, but it’s coming from the anti-lgbt groups.
They have this weird conception of “privacy” where we’re supposed to care whether members of the “opposite sex” see our genitals, but not whether other members of our own gender do (and of course, there are only the two genders). I always found that utterly bizarre, personally, and it has never ever described how I felt about things, at any age or stage.
Of course, there’s a simple solution — make public bathrooms more private. Get rid of those stupid half-height stall doors, and give us real private spaces that no one can look into. (And if they must have urinals, those weird fixtures that don’t exist in private homes, then at least put dividers between them.)
I’d think that would satisfy everyone, but I’m sure there are some dubious but well-entrenched reasons why it can’t be done.
Robert Serrano says
Urinals are there to make a private act semi-public (try silently urinating at one without splashing on your clothes). As a side benefit, they also maximize “pee-shyness,” ensuring that many men can be trapped at the urinal indefinitely, just by having another person walk into the restroom.
On the environmental front, urinals also lead to wasted water, since many men will pre-flush (and sometimes flush again during) to produce a noise to cover the sound they’re making. And of course, these men still flush afterwards, to maximize the impact.
This seems like an appropriate place to ask this question: when did gendered bathrooms become the norm, anyway?
I used my first gender-neutral bathroom (other than the ones in my house) only last week. It was all stalls. The sexes intermingled only while washing up at the sinks. It was all very decorous. Nobody was washing private parts at the sink. I don’t recall ever seeing a man wash his equipment at the sink in a men’s room. What do people think goes on in these gender-neutral bathrooms?
About half or the bathrooms (I’d say nearly all, really) of the restaurants I go to have single occupancy bathrooms. One for women, one for men. Unisex would be fine. One restaurant I went to had large unisex bathrooms. One was all stalls and one was all urinals, The sinks were outside the bathrooms and the signs were, well, appropriate. My doctor has two single occupancy bathrooms, designated male and female. It is pointless but maybe it just needs a bit of time. Legendarily the Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as it ought to because they used to be race segregated.
Jonathan Norburg says
cjcolucci: “What do people think goes on in these gender-neutral bathrooms?”
Obviously, wild Bacchanalian orgies and gang rapes of impressionable young Christian children, forcing them into lives of homosexual and lesbian prostitution and voting Democratic. I see it happen every time I use a gender-neutral bathroom, and I’m tired of having to step over the writhing bodies of half naked transsexuals, just to get to the sink after using an easily lockable stall.
My elementary school (in the sixties, in Wisconsin) did not have separate boys and girls bathrooms.
Ed Seedhouse@8 Point acknowledged, but TMI dude!
I think urinals are about saving space and maximizing throughput and they’re effective in both ways. Well, obviously they take less space, but at least a little time is saved by not having to open and close the stall. Also, psychologically, people will not dawdle.
The metal dividers they place in between are very welcome in my opinion and handle most privacy concerns.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Has anyone ever stopped to ask, if educators are erasing the genitals of conservatives’ kindergartners, What the fuck were conservatives doing drawing pictures of kindergartners’ genitals in the first place?
Maybe you’re the baddies, conservatives.
They also mean that more space and opportunities are awarded to, in their overwhelming majority, cis men. Just in case you ever wondered why the lines in front of the ladies ‘ are so long.
Not long ago I went to a unisex bathroom where I could really sit on the loo because the stall was too small, but thank goodness they also had two urinals.
I’m not an expert on lavatorial history, but I believe the gender-segregated toilet room emerged in the 19th Century, with the rise of large factories employing workforces of mixed genders. It is a product of Victorian era prudery and a trapping of capitalism.
There is certainly no evidence that Roman or Medieval toliet facilities were gender segregated (apart from the ones in already segregated spaces). We know that many (most?) Roman public bathing establishments tended to segregate by gender somehow, either with separate baths for men and women or different times of the day for each (we’ve excavated signs from Pompeiian bath houses that specify “viri” and “feminae”, and Roman moralists like Seneca were always getting het up about the evils of mixed bathing). But the really quite well preserved public toilet blocks in Roman cities have never shown any evidence of segregation, either in the fittings or the signage. Nor did any of the withered old prudes who objected to mixed bathing have a word to say about mixed toilets.
I had my first experience of one while visiting Venice a few years ago. I hurried into one stall, and my husband took the one next to me. I finished first, and when he came out, I introduced him to the young gentleman who had struck up a conversation with me while we were both washing our hands. He was delighted to practice his English with Americans, and taught us a couple of useful Italian phrases during our short conversation. It was a new experience for us, but we embraced it.
Since then, I’ve seen a few Starbucks restrooms and a couple of restaurant restrooms set up the same way, mostly in California.
Change is a good thing!
Robert@11 I have never encountered someone flushing a urinal to cover up the noise of their urination. Not flushing them is pretty common, which is probably why many of them, in my part of Canada at least, have sensors to flush them automatically. One Saskatoon mall has waterless urinals.
Some places now have single occupant unisex bathrooms. Some of these are conversions of previously gendered single occupant bathrooms. Others are newly built.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
My elementary school and high school both had one disabled lav, shared between ALL of us wheelchair users, regardless of pants-parts. Both were built specifically to accommodate our needs, as none of the schools had accessible loos at that point. In middle school, I had to make do with the regular stalls — not exactly the safest thing to do, though. (Falls suck, and the landing hurts.)
I move to amend the Antifa Atheist Sharia Law Code of Social Justice to stipulate that all home toilets are to have large glass walls installed on the outer walls thereof, specifically for the use of transgender individuals.
Curious Digressions says
Mixed gender bathrooms in elementary schools would be useful in getting kids moved through more quickly. Just send more kids through the line that is moving more quickly rather than having a predetermined queue length for each.
There would have to be at least one group of parents who would melt down about staff from the “wrong” gender in the “watching” their child in the restroom.
@ 19 Crip Dyke: Gold, as always.
Giliell @ 2
Sadly, the problem with bringing up the absolute absurdity of, “bathrooms in people’s homes”, is that they, almost always, function as a “stall”, in which only one occupant is allowed at a time.
PaulBC @18 – As said by someone that doesn’t have to a) maintain them, b) clean them, c) clean up after someone over flushes them, d) mop the floor 50 times a day, because (and this isn’t even in a bar), no one can seem to aim at one, etc. lol