North Carolina’s ridicuous bathroom bill, stating that everyone must use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender assigned to them at birth, set off an explosive debate that rippled across the country.
When Target responded with their commitment to allow people to use whichever restroom they felt most comfortable in while visiting their stores, ultra conservatives vowed to boycott them.
It raised consciousness of the issue, causing people to question the way we label the facilities in public establishments.
In the ultimate desire to be politically correct and create an atmosphere of inclusiveness, some have resorted to extremes.
At a recent photoshoot, the studio posted a sign next to the restroom door that stated it was for men, women or transgendered individuals. While I respect their desire to create a comfortable environment for everyone, there was in fact only one, private restroom in the entire studio. I am pretty sure that a year ago, that sign just said restroom. Was this overkill, or an attempt to boast of thier open-mindedness? I am willing to bet that a year ago, that sign simply stated restroom.
Later in the same week, I attended an event in the auditorium of at Cooper Union, a local college in the East Village that specializes in art, architecture and engineering. The restrooms, which had clear gender labels on them just a year ago, now had cryptic signs on the doors. One showed stalls, and sinks, and the other showed stalls, sinks and urinals.
In Europe, most public restrooms are unisex, offering fully enclosed stalls and communal sink areas. While not as conducive to primping and gossiping as single sex facilities, it offers equality, accessibility, and most importantly privacy. I mean, who designed toilet stalls that exposed people’s feet, and could be looked under, over or through anyways? The idea that anyone can walk into the bathroom and recognize who is sitting on the toilet by their footwear is ludicrous, causing women in offices a lifetime of embarrassment and subsequently, constipation.
Should we be patting ourselves on the back for being so modern and inclusive by posting witty signs, when we should be finding ways to allow people to take care of their natural biological functions in private?
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