It was the late Christopher Hitchens who taught me not to shy away from clichés when they are appropriate. Sometimes, there is no other measure by which we might consider a subject other than a cliché. What am I talking about you ask?
Gender is a very confusing topic these days. Even an ultra-liberal like myself is constantly at risk of offending simply by not keeping up with the ever growing gender lexicon. There has been a discussion ongoing about which bathroom a transgendered person should use. In essence here’s the problem: a biological man with the psyche and persona of a woman may feel that they ought to be in the ladies room as their penis does not define them, while many ladies disagree. The proposed solution to this is a third bathroom for people who are cleanly defined neither as a man nor as a woman by mainstream society. This strikes me as the most ridiculous proposal but perhaps not for the reason you would suppose.
It makes me wonder why we even have separate washrooms for men and women? Many places in europe have gender-neutral washrooms and it’s very common in university residences as well. In our society, men and women are separate but equal. (You see now where I was going with the cliché talk?) So is separate washrooms for men and women the same as separate water fountains for black and white Americans. Lets go through the complaints and see if they apply to both.
It makes women uncomfortable.
Black people in white schools made white students uncomfortable too, that is until we decided that it was just bigotry.
This really just means that girls don’t want boys to hear them poop, Get over it. We already know you do it. Stop being ashamed of your bodily functions.
It’s a safety issue.
This is the one that people take most seriously. Is it true that men sexually assault women more than women do men? Yes. Is it true that Blacks commit crimes more than whites? Yes. What is the difference? Do we separate black and white people based on this fact? No because we decided that all people are equal. Why do we still separate men and women? I submit that there is no good reason. Women feeling unsafe isn’t good enough. Also, I would love to see the study that proves how effective an unlocked door with a picture of a lady on it is against sexual assault. As far as I know, no such study exists.
The bottom line is that people don’t like the idea because it makes them uncomfortable. I promise you’ll get used to it. Separate washrooms are a vestige of our sexist, segregated past. Lets do away with them and, in the process, solve the problem of transgendered people not fitting cleanly into either category. There’s more than two categories of people so we either have one bathroom for each of us or one bathroom for all of us. It’s one more step towards a common humanity. I’m not saying we all hold hands under the stall wall while singing barbershop music, I’m just saying that we should poop in private and wash our hands together.
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