Emily Bazelon’s Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’

Emily Bazelon’s New York Time’s Magazine article  “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating'” addresses some of the social norms challenged as of late. Namely, bathrooms are being taken under new scrutiny due to the now more widely accepted notions of gender fluidity.  Restrooms have always been seen as  gender specific and therefore constraining places.

People have long been opposed to making areas like restrooms and locker rooms unisex; we are still seeing laws shot down that would help protect against discrimination in public spaces and employment. Discrimination ranging from age, race, to sexual and gender identity. The defense playing up the idea that women would be more threatened in a gender inclusive restroom.

All of this push back has been particularly difficult for the LGBTQ community, transgender peoples more specifically. Bazelon gives the example of a transgender student in Illinois who was not allowed to change in the female’s locker room although she was receiving hormone therapy and had a passport that recognized her as a female.

This idea  of accommodation has run rampant in talks of these adjustments, but is often found problematic. “Accommodation” causing a binary “between the normal and the other.” At the beginning accommodations were thought to be letting a woman have her private space i.e. the restroom and now feminists would say urinals are special accommodations for men to get in and out quickly. Gender in determinable in so many ways beyond social, but chromosomal, so accommodation is a tricky plan. So much so that transgender people must find a way to blend even when allowed to change in a locker room with a curtain for privacy.

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