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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: 2017-05-06 05:47 pm (UTC)
arlie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] arlie
I'm also in California, and was surprised to discover that a fast food restaurant I occassionally visit had quietly changed the signs on their two single stall bathrooms to indicate that they were both unisex. I had used the "wrong" gender one occassionally, when there was a long wait for the "right" one, but I can't recall whether they'd changed anything inside it.

In any case, I haven't had a wait since, so I'd be in favour just for the more efficient queuing even without any other issues. (And how's that for a selfish, think-only-of-myself type of argument.)

Like others, I'm not sure how large, multi-stall bathrooms would play out in practice. It worked fine when I was in college, but there was a rather exreme lack of total strangers in the bathrooms of newly co-ed dormitories. Also, women appear to have taken the initiative in liberating the bathrooms - in aging, previously all female dorms which were still mostly inhabited by females, and the male-designated bathrooms were brand new and thus in far better condition than the female-designated ones. (No one was talking much about TG issues in those ancient days; the salient issue in this case was equity.)

There's no reason a person cannot behave badly towards members of the same gender category in a uni-sex bathroom, but a lot of us have far more expectation [and fear] of cross gender misbehaviour, particularly males misbehaving towards females. (And FWIW, on the same campus there were issues with males invading female-labelled bathrooms in more public buildings with sexual assault in mind, leading to women needing to get a key or combination from library staff in order to visit "their" bathroom.)



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