The most distinct and clearest visual marker that separates male and female are the signs on public bathroom entrances. Having Men on one door and Women on the other; people in society have to choose what gender they are every time before they enter a bathroom. In this new generation gender equality is slowly being adopted in all aspects of life in society. But restrooms being a public convince, freely available in most places and are open to all; are still a place where gender is separated. Restrooms are ultimately where we as humans go and obey the dictates of our bodies, therefore it is natural to feel vulnerable. Due to this, humans have created a standard were when someone confuses male and female and walk through the wrong door, that person risks discomfort or even real trouble. But now transgender people are asking society to rethink this old convention of signs.
The world is not yet ready to idea of mixing male and female anatomy in multistall bathrooms and locker rooms. As evident in in the voters rejection of a broad equal rights ordinance in Houston. This law would have protected individuals against discrimination in housing and employment, as well as public spaces, on the basis of several categories, including age and race along with sexual orientation and gender identity. The opponents won , by nicknaming the law the “bathroom ordinance” also making a t-shirt and TV ad showing a sinister man threatening a girl in the stall, as a result successfully instilling fear in the voters.
In contrary to Houston recent rejection for gender equality bathrooms. School districts have been generally accepting to transgender student. Transgender students are call by their preferred names and are allowed to join the sports teams of the gender with which they identify with. On the other handing, deciding where they should change and shower and use the bathroom has been more pragmatic. A great example would be a case in suburban Illinois, where a transgender high school student that underwent hormone therapy and passport identified her as female, asked to change in the girls’ locker room. The district refused and had her change in a separate room down the hall. She and her parents ordered a civil rights complaint to the the United States Department of Education. The Education Department granted her the right to change and shower in the same locker room as her female peers; a curtain addressed all her needs and other students’ concerns. It was just that simple to give a transgendered high school student the comfortability she needed to shower and change at school.
The main goal in creating public bathrooms that are open to all genders is accommodation. Accommodation is a word that implies moving over to make room for others, whether you want it or not. Society have been able to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, by putting a bar next to a toilet and a button that opens the door. Why can’t a transgender shower in their own stall amongst her peer by just providing them with a privacy curtain. A small adjustment for the sake of coexistence.
As we approach the future and more transgender people are able to use the bathroom of their choosing. The Transgender Law Center offers a resource guides that help transgenders go to the bathroom they identify with. Having a public bathrooms that accommodate to transgenders means that the place must allow that person to feel comfortable and be able to belong, something all us human need.