Ay what’s good everyone. It’s been a hot minute since an update but we’re back. You know when you keep accumulating baskets but the amount of eggs you have stays the same? That’s sort of what’s been happening. Sometimes you have to ask yourself why you have forty baskets to carry your one carton of eggs around. Like are you claiming all these baskets as yours because you need all of them, or do you just want to let the world know how many baskets you have? Are all these baskets making you happy or is the adding of new baskets to your collection making you happy. Sometimes you gotta objectively look at yourself and make that call without beating around the bush. Are all these extra baskets getting in the way of taking care of cultivating your eggs? Then throw away/recycle/compost those mothers because you don’t have time for extra nonsense baskets cracking your eggs and all that. So anyway that’s where I’ve been.
UW is in the midst of a paradigm shift. In an effort to make campus more gender-inclusive, the homies that run the school decided to make more gender-neutral bathrooms. A few of these existed prior to this year but they appear to be a little more common than they were a couple years ago.
This is neither good nor bad. People that are uncomfortable with participating in the gender-binary restroom system should have a place to use the bathroom in public and semi-public places without moms from mid-western suburbs who voted for Michele Bachmann in the 2012 GOP primaries complaining like “How am I going to explain to my children how a man dressed like a woman is allowed to use the women’s restroom because they feel like it?” ad nauseam. At the same time, these one-stall-per-room configurations are a more inefficient use of space if looking to accommodate a large group of people. Like virtually everything in the universe, there’s trade-offs, but I’m generally okay with putting up with the personally inconveniencing aspects of things if it benefits a marginalized demographic minority that’s had to deal with stupid petty bullshit since basically forever, as long as their experiencing something doesn’t compromise my experience of the same thing.
All this being said, I think this trend of making single-occupant gender-neutral bathrooms (SOGNB’s) will continue to increase in popularity so the rest of y’all are going to have to deal with how to use them correctly, since a disturbingly large amount of UW students don’t have a clue how to conduct themselves in this type of environment. And this isn’t even from a being-insensitive-to-trans-people perspective. I don’t think anybody at UW is really outraged about the general existence of gender ambiguous people on campus and their conduct within restrooms. This all virtually stems from people physically being unable to indicate that a SOGNB is occupied or not. People regularly fail to lock the door behind them when they occupy a SOGNB, and I regularly run into these people and in turn regularly experience completely avoidable emotional trauma as I walk in to the sound of girls peeing or someone saying “Umm, there’s someone in here…”
If you choose to use a SOGNB for whatever reason, you need to lock the door behind you. I’ll repeat for effect: if you choose to use a SOGNB for whatever reason, you need to lock the door behind you. If you do not, you are not smart. The opposite of smart, in fact. Dumb, even. You are dumb if you do not lock the door behind you when you use a SOGNB.
It’s not cool to break anyone’s sense of privacy in a designated private area within a public place. But this isn’t the fault of the person walking in on someone because it’s not their responsibility to indicate the occupancy status of a private room they’re about to use, since they’re, you know, not using it yet. It’s the user’s fault for misleading the unintentional intruder to invite his/her use. You shouldn’t subject people to a false sense of security, particularly if these SOGNB’s have a stall built within them. You can drastically reduce the amount of unwanted people that want to enter rooms you occupy by locking the door behind you.
It doesn’t matter that you were around when the SOGNB used to be a women’s room or men’s room or that there’s a stall within it. It doesn’t matter if you think either party is overreacting. This whole matter is a courtesy thing but also a safety thing. What if a creepster catches you peeing and tries to fondle you? I don’t think this has happened yet (San Fran has a lot of public SOGNB’s and there’s been no reported asaults, per Google), but you invite the possibility of it when you shit in private, unlocked rooms. To say that this point is irrelevant because perceived dangers of public restrooms still exist is moot. First off, it’s against the law for the opposite sex to enter a public bathroom; second, these bathrooms only have locks for the toilet stalls, if any; and third, these kinds of restrooms are meant to be accessible to anyone so putting a lock on the entire thing defeats the purpose of even having one, so if you’re against SOGNB’s for a safety reasons you might as well advocate against all public restrooms for all their inherent dangers.
It doesn’t matter that it’s geared for the general public to use. SOGNB’s entire reason for existing is so that people that are in a public place that have to go to the bathroom that don’t want to be subjected to using a public restroom precisely so that they don’t have to be subjected to that. You break the sanctity of that use when you mess up and forget to lock it. If you’re making noise about people “getting what they ask for” because SOGNB’s are accessible to the public and someone walks in on them, go shit in a public restroom and leave SOGNB users alone forever.
I think part of the problem is that instead of building new SOGNB’s within existing buildings, we’re just retrofitting bathrooms that used to be just for one gender. So instead of thinking “Yo this is a radical new bathroom that’s only designed for one person I should lock the door because it would be mad awkward if someone walked in on me de-Chipotleing myself,” people are more inclined to think, “Wow this is just the same bathroom, it even has all the stalls and everything, am I even sure this is a SOGNB?” So people in charge of the bathroom gender designation portion of building design need to make its intent really clear, and people retrofitting existing bathrooms need to do something like knocking all the stall walls down to get rid of all smaller private spaces within this space already designated as private.
This is not a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. Lock the door when you use a single-occupant gender-neutral bathroom.