Monday, March 27, 2017

So Let's Talk Bathrooms

I heard someone on an NPR show way back when (okay fine, it was probably a few years ago) talking about ADA and how there tends to be this assumption that making accommodations for disabled people is super hard and causes an undue burden and how many disabled people are there really, and that in pretty much every case, the accommodations needed benefit more than just the disabled.  The example he used was making sidewalk corners wheelchair accessible and that doing that also works great for people pushing strollers, folks with wheeled bags, and people riding bikes.  
So, I thought I'd talk about bathrooms.  In DC, the right to use the bathroom that corresponds with your expressed gender identity has been the law for a while.  It is also the law that single stall bathrooms should be gender neutral.  This has had huge benefit for me as a cisgender person.  There have been studies, and in general women take a little longer in the restroom (about 60 seconds is the data I could find) and we could discuss to death differences in clothing, sit stand preferences, and likelihood a woman may be accompanied by a small person who will also need to use the facility, but in the end even 60 seconds more can add up when you really gotta go.  Putting to the side all the people who claim to be very worried about the birth gender of the people peeing next to them -  why do we care when there's no one else in there?  We do not.  So having all the coffee shops and restaurants that have single stall restrooms have both be gender neutral doesn't eliminate waiting, but does mean if one is empty you can go.  
So now when I go places where that is not the rule, I am irritated.  I think everyone should adopt this rule across the country.  (Other countries would be nice too, but let's start here.)
And those of you who are like, okay, but the shared stalls, um, no.  Not agreeing with you on that.  Unless you meant to say wherever you want to go.