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.
For sex segregation
- Transgender people should
use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sexbe able to use whichever bathroom they want to, and/or additional unisex/non-binary bathrooms should be provided.
- Unisex-only bathrooms are an extreme solution to reduce the harassment of transgender people. It is not a problem of bathrooms, but of transphobia.
- Reforming bathroom design standards is a better solution for toilet equality. Historical inequality in bathroom design does not mean that going forward, sex-segregated bathrooms cannot be designed to give women equal treatment.
- In some cultures, it is acceptable for a woman to use a men's bathroom when there is a line for the women's bathroom.
- To prevent harassment, particularly from men towards women [note 1]
- The need for safe spaces.
- People, especially women, may avoid unisex toilets, leading to discomfort and wasted funds.
- Loss of urinals, which take up less floor space, conserve water, reduce spillage and increase pee-poo efficiency.
- Have you been inside a mens' bathroom? They are fucking
disgustingfun. It is a feat of engineering that the volume of flowing urine on the floors doesn't cause erosion.
- Potential for discomfort and awkwardness.
- Bullying in schools, especially regarding menstrual hygiene.
If restrooms were integrated, men would have to wait in long lines too.
- Tradition and morality.
- To prevent men from raping women.
- What about public changing rooms?
Against sex segregation
- 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. Cisgender women spend longer and need to use the bathroom more frequently for various reasons, including to tend to their periods.
- It would potentially be cheaper in the future to build one large restroom instead of two smaller ones, as plumbing only needs to be run to one location. For existing restrooms opening them up to both sexes can improve the overall efficacy by allowing individuals to go to whichever location is closest and/or move to a less occupied restroom if the existing one is full.
- Existing hesitation with restroom use is mostly cultural, as demonstrated by the numerous cultures, present and in the past, that wouldn't have minded shared restrooms. After an adjustment period people would get use to the new arrangement and many of the issues listed as arguments for sex-segregation, such as embarrassment, would likely fade away as it becomes the new norm.
- Urinals are sexist and you can't poo in them.
Bathroom panic has a long history. In the mid 1970s, the conservative political activist 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