Sex segregation in public restrooms
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Sex segregation in public restrooms is the concept of having separate bathroom facilities for male and female individuals.
Obsolete historical reasons
The segregation at one time had a purpose, a purpose that is now obsolete. At one time in the Western world, only male bathrooms existed because of the attitude that women should stay home. The introduction of female bathrooms was a means to allow women in the workplace but still have them "separate but equal". Over time, women have increasingly gained more rights, making the original reason of urinary segregation appear moot. Despite this, conservatives typically want to maintain tradition even if said tradition's reason is no longer relevant.
- To prevent harassment from men towards women.[note 1]
If restrooms were integrated, men would have to wait in long lines too.
- Separate restrooms introduce harassment towards transgender people because it brings contradictions and ambiguity to traditional, binary gender beliefs.
- Separate bathrooms introduce unequal treatment towards male and female bathrooms. Biological women need to use the bathroom more to tend to their periods. Urinals in male bathrooms consume more space and accomplish one type of excretion, making it less effective than toilets in two ways.[note 2] This wasted space can be put to better use for women.
Bathroom panic has a long history. In the mid 1970s, Phyllis Schlafly mobilised against the Equal Rights Amendment, using the argument that it would lead to unisex toilets, which would be dangerous for women. Even back then, Judy Carter pointed out that unisex bathrooms had existed for centuries, especially on public transport, with few to no 'privacy' issues.
This is despite the fact that right wing groups have admitted the bathroom issue is 'largely contrived'.
- Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey (1995). Basic Books. ISBN 0465026214. p. 198 especially.
- ERA and Bathroom Privacy
- Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress
- Lesbian Kicked out of Bowling Alley for Using the Women's Restroom
- Man barges in to women's restroom to accost androgynous woman
- Aimee Toms Harassed for Having Short Hair
- Bathroom Predator is a Myth