Reading Summary 4


This is a sign to a gender-neutral restroom. It is for everyone, regardless of how they choose to identify.

Summary of “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating.” By Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon’s article, titled “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating”, starts by describing the heteronormative viewpoint that our society exhibits. It illustrates the obvious differences between the Men’s restroom and the Women’s, from the signs on the doors to the “proper” etiquette that is understood. It also describes the strange position that most transgender men and women struggle through on a daily basis. Whether it is at work or in school, many transgender individuals feel isolated or looked down upon for visiting the bathrooms, which most individuals take as commonplace and fundamentally expected.

In the women’s room, the long lines have created a sense of togetherness as women stand together waiting for a stall to open up, while men can enter and exit within the same two minute period. Many feel that their sense of camaraderie will be destroyed if transgender women are allowed to use the same bathroom as them. The issue that many women see is the entrance of the male anatomy into their private escape from the patriarchal society that surrounds them. Opponents of a law that would protect against discrimination in housing and employment, the Broad equal right ordinance, made t-shirts that said “No men in Women’s Bathroom” and used fear mongering to play on the public’s apprehension, by showing a TV ad with frightening images of aggressive men threatening defenseless women. Voters rejected the Ordinance

In schools across the country, Transgender individuals are called by the gender that they assume. This major step is great, but deciding how the school district approaches showering and restrooms has been more complicated. One transgender girl in Illinois was sent to a separate room from both the boys and girls to change. Once a Civil Rights complaint was addressed the government swooped in to rectify the situation. They added a privacy curtain for her use and the other girls. This Solution is an example of accommodation and the author of this essay points out what this means.

The main aspect that she chooses to explain is “moving over to make room for others, whether you want to or not” (Bazelon). Accommodations have been made by congress in many situations. For example, those of certain religions were forced to conform to an American view of their traditions, but in the 1960’s Congress allowed them to express their faith and wear traditional religious clothing or exhibit prayer at certain times. As well, many disabled Americans had issues being in certain buildings for the reason that they couldn’t open doors, get past the stairs, or use the restrooms. In the 1990’s congress created the American with Disabilities Act to make sure accommodations were made so people could live, work, and function in the building without an excessive amount of effort. It is brought up that Transgender Americans have done most of the accommodations without much done for them.

If bathrooms are slightly modified and people are more accepting, Bazelon believes that coexistence is possible. She finally raises the fact that humans all have the need to belong, but also the right. No one should have to change themselves to fit it, yet the Transgender Law center says to either not look at anyone, or try and prove that you are the gender you identify as by pointing out the characteristics that you share with the stereotype of that gender. In my eyes this seems like a truly terrible thing to advise someone. If you identify as a woman but you have a penis, low voice, and muscular features, then who cares. You don’t need to explain yourself or why you are a woman to anyone. If you identify as a man, but you have breasts and a vagina, you don’t need to avoid eye contact and act like you don’t exist to be accepted. You only need to act how you would any other way. Changing yourself to fit it, isnt fitting in. It is being pretending to be something you aren’t.

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