Making Bathrooms more Accomodating- Reading Summary

In her article, “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating,’” Emily Bazelon addresses the reasoning behind the arguments of which gender categorized bathroom or changing room a transgender person should be permitted to use. The article takes an in depth look at the different perspectives in which the argument takes.

Public bathrooms are split into two categories, male and female. This division is purely based of human anatomy and nothing else. The problem lies, however, in the fact that although someone could physically be a male or female, they can recognize themselves differently; thus creating conflict in their comfort in choosing a bathroom in which to utilize.

Bazelon explains that there is a lot of contributing factors to a transgender person’s desire to use the restroom of their choosing. One factor of a transwoman’s desire to have equal right to the women’s bathroom could lie in the nature of a woman’s restroom having more privacy within its stalls rather than the men’s room’s use of open urinals. The author reveals the testaments of a 12 year old transgender girl in which she spoke with. The girl explained to Bazelon, ‘‘I don’t walk into the changing room and feel like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m here. It feels just as natural to be in there with girls as it does to be in the classroom with boys and girls.’’

Brazelon then goes on to explain the idea of accommodation. She posits, “it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.”  The attempted accommodation for the problem at hand has been presented in the article as allowing a student to shower near their peers in their own stall, or to provide the student with a private changing area separated by a curtain or barrier.  Brazelon describes this as “relatively small adjustments for the sake of coexistence.” While this accommodation is an attempt at solution, Brazelon fears that, “It often sets up a distinction between the normal and the other.” By subjecting transgender people to this separation, society would be host to unequal rights for people of different sexual orientations. Those whom identify as a woman should be allowed to live as a woman, not create an entire sub category of “identifies as a woman.”

To conclude her article Brazelon shares what The Transgender Law Center offers in their resource guide entitled, “Peeing in Peace.”  She explains briefly a few of the include techniques. The first technique include in the resource guide was entitled “Invisibility.” This technique encourages trans-people to utilize the bathroom of their choice, but to avoid conflict with anyone else in the bathroom by avoiding all contact.  The second Technique Brazelon includes is called “Gender Proof.” The goal of this technique is to prove to the other attendents of the restroom that you belong there, or that you fit in. Specifically she states that the resource guide instructs transgender people to ‘‘try pointing out your physical characteristics if they will help prove that you belong.”

BAZELON, EMILY. “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating.” New York Times Magazine. 17 November 2015. Web. 15 February 2016.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *