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A guy asked this about a convention where several boy/girl bathrooms were temporarily repurposed into unisex bathrooms. (Not all of them – you could still find your standard male/female pooping places if you were uncomfortable.)

And I’ve been thinking about that question. “Why do we need unisex bathrooms?”

Because the answer is blazingly simple if you’ve attended Penguicon: look around that convention’s room parties, and you’ll see a fair number of genderqueer and trans and cross-dressing attendees. Some of them go to conventions specifically to have a weekend where they can relax and present as whatever gender they choose and not get hassled about it.

Going to the bathroom and deciding which box to check is, presumably, a buzzkill for these people on an otherwise-supportive weekend. Hence the unisex bathrooms.

But that’s not the question the guy was asking.

He used “we,” but he meant “he.” As in, “Why do I need a unisex bathroom?” And being a cis dude who dresses like a dude, he didn’t see any need for them. As such, he concluded the convention was doing stupid things for stupid reasons.

Which was a stupid conclusion, alas.

Because this addled man’s affected with a sad disease that can strike at anyone, but tends to afflict straight cis men: They have forgotten the difference between “we” and “me.”

I personally don’t need unisex bathrooms either. But when I ask the question, “Why do we need unisex bathrooms?”, I am capable of looking around to more than my experience and doing the elementary deduction work required to uncover why. Sometimes I even ask other people than myself and the people who look like me.

Why do we need unisex bathrooms? Because not everyone’s you, dude. I have never once attended a panel discussing gun safety or libertarian philosophy, but if someone asked me the question, “Why do we need those panels?” you bet your bippie I’d pull my head out of my neon-rimmed ass and look around to other people before answering the question.

Solipsism’s a helluva drug.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Date: 2017-05-05 06:37 pm (UTC)
klgaffney: Detail of a painting of a couple; a girl held close to an anthropomorphic wolf in a hat and suit. (context is important)
From: [personal profile] klgaffney
*nodnod* Yeah, I don't know what the city is doing about the pre-existing gendered bathrooms other beyond what everyone was already doing, which was just refusing to police who went where. The one place I went to did what you mentioned, replaced all the signs with M/F. The Family ones I've seen at the shore more recently, but I don't believe I saw them before living in CA for a while. I think it's the 'against the law' thing that is the big battle right now.

I'm not saying that it's horrible/wrong to meet a stranger at a club; the club scene may have evolved just like the bars, but I wouldn't know 'cause I haven't experienced any recently. I got a bit OT. But--even so, my last experiences involved a different world/context/language-and-assumption set, even from my bar experiences during the same time period, which is one of the something else I'd have to take into account. Meeting people in coffee shops is a much different experience; a bar or coffee shop is/was typically my goto for meeting strangers and even when it's turned out badly, I've either been able to request assistance, assistance has been offered, I could handle it myself, or whatever--end result was walking away okay (again with more than my fair share of luck or whatever. I was very much a creep magnet--or well, I was a kid running around in a bullshit decade when being a creep was still at least borderline acceptable.).

I really do think the solution lies in bar/club staff having policies in place and being prepared to do something about creeps, like every other workplace should require. But then, my bias is that everyone should be prepared to deal with creeps and monsters (their own or someone else's), because unfortunately, creeps happen. And that alone would not only go so far towards making the bathroom thing moot, but it would help with so many more potential issues, too.

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