Gender neutral bathrooms

Just a bit of a rant...

Over the last two years, gender-neutral bathrooms have become a big story for the media outlets. From States agreeing to them, then axing them, to people stamping their feet about trans individuals suddenly arriving in the bathroom not designated by birth.

The debate of where someone can relive themselves can be followed to many different origins, but I think the biggest is the issue of society wanting everything to fit into a box. Humans, by nature, require everything to have a label, and everything must have a specific place.

Everything must make sense, and labels do that for us.

Now pause for a second and reflect…

·         How pissed do you become when an item in a store is not marked with a price or labelled properly?

·         How irritating is it when Wal-Mart rearranges their departments and you can’t find the cat litter.

·         How often do you grumble about the silly set up of the grocery store aisles – why would corn syrup be in the baking aisle, while maple syrup and Aunt Jemima are six aisles over with the breakfast cereal?

·         And Costco, OMG, don’t even get me started. They can’t even keep their bananas in the same place week to week.

Let’s face it people, most of us don’t like change, and forget rapid change… our backs come up and we draw a line in the sand quickly.

But think about it.

·         Your city wants to remove a dam and naturalize a river, and the constituents start the letter writing campaigns and petitions.

·         The Board of Education wants a boundary change or changes to busing, and the parents hit the council meetings and present sweeping, emotional arguments against the alterations.

·         The government wants to change one small word in a country’s national anthem and, the place goes nuts, bringing out pitchforks and fire.

People just really, really, really hate change, even if it is for the greater good.

And forget about anything that challenges the idea of heteronormality in our predominantly straight world.

In Canada many years ago, Boy Scouts of Canada changed the all-male leader policy to allow female leaders in their ranks. Men stomped their big hiking boots, but it made no difference, because available leadership was dwindling, and stay at home moms were ready to do something more than laundry and bake. Eventually, the hoopla quieted, and the number of female leaders ranges in the thousands now. And the organization is stronger for having allowed the skirts to pitch a tent and join the campfire.

Years later, Boy Scouts of Canada upset everyone again by changing their all-male youth programs to co-ed. They did it to accommodate the smaller communities in the country who didn’t have a population big enough to support both a Girl Guide pack and a Boy Scout troop. It was met with little fan fair, some major boot stomping this time - because the name of the organization was changing, too - and some nasty letter writing (as nasty as Canadians get, anyway,) but the idea slowly gained ground, and the crowds quieted, and today, Scouts Canada has a solid following and separate tents, but everyone gathers around the same campfire and participates in the same amazing program.

Again, anything that bocks the status quo is a problem for people, but that’s most common when we are not affected negatively by the status quo.

If bacon was outlawed in Canada tomorrow…

·         Flag burning

·         Riots in the streets

·         Letters enough to bury the Big Nickle in Sudbury.

Note: Banning bacon would kill me more than my cholesterol filled arteries already are. Lol

But back to the bathrooms.

We’ve actually had gender-neutral bathrooms for years, and no one has batted an eye. Any one who camps knows there are often Kibos, latts, and Johnny-on-the-spots that have no picture on the door. There is no label. At outdoor rock concerts and festivals, the porta-pottys have no gender signs, no right or wrong place to pee. In many restaurants, public spaces, and stores, there are single bathrooms that everyone uses. So any fight there seems lame and incredibly uninformed at this point.

But most often, a gender-neutral bathroom is separate from the men’s and lady’s bathroom any way, so what’s the big deal? Our mall has five bathrooms – men’s, lady’s, family, accessible, and gender neutral, so again, what’s the big deal?

My kid’s high school has had gender neutral bathrooms for quite a few years now. The kids don’t have a problem with it. And if there is not room for an extra bathroom, then rip the sign off the door, not everything needs a label, and not everything has to fit into a box.

And if only one person is saved from fear or judgment because of a welcome sign on a bathroom door, then that’s enough for me, I’ll use the stall beside them.

Pee in peace, people!