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On The Transgender Public Restroom Debate

In recent years, the transgender public restroom debate has become increasingly relevant and prominent. The crux of the debate is this: how should transgender people be accommodated in public restrooms? Should they use either the men’s or the women’s, or should there be a third restroom especially for those who don’t want to or feel like using the men’s or women’s?

The Two-Bathroom Problem

via Theweek.co.uk

Having just men’s and women’s bathrooms is problematic for a lot of transgender people. Someone who’s biologically a male but is in the process of becoming a woman and dresses as such, for example, may feel like using the women’s restroom. But the fact is, it’s still a man with a man’s genitalia using restroom facilities meant for women. Plus, women may well feel uncomfortable sharing what’s supposedly a female-only space with someone who is technically a male. Men may also feel uncomfortable sharing a men’s restroom with someone who looks like a man but is a biological woman. For transgender people, having two choices can be difficult, simply because they don’t know which one is more appropriate for them to choose. A transgender person may feel a men’s restroom is more suitable for them, however they might get an unwelcome reaction; they might also get an unwelcome reaction should they go for the women’s. Either way, for some transgender people, having the options of men’s and women’s isn’t straightforward, since they don’t really fit into either category.

Three Or More Options

via Confidentials.com

Many transgender people are able to use standard men’s and women’s restrooms without problems. However, for some the traditional two-bathroom system doesn’t work. A solution that’s been tried out at a growing number of places is simply to have a third restroom that’s for anyone who doesn’t feel that the men’s and women’s restrooms are suitable for them. It’s a system that seems to work for transgender people, however it’s not without its problems. Not everywhere that has restrooms has the space to fit in a third option: many places have no choice but to offer just two restrooms. While having a third option is welcomed by many transgender people, not many places will make the effort to offer a transgender bathroom. Even for places with the space and the funds, creating a third restroom isn’t high enough of a priority, considering that less than 1% of people are transgender.

What’s The Solution?

via Cnn.com

There’s no obvious solution to the transgender public restroom problem. Debate will no doubt continue, but ultimately, while it’s undoubtedly an important issue for many, it’s very much a niche issue. It’s very unlikely that lots of public places will install third restrooms simply because the demand for them is so little and so few people will use them. For a long time, the two-restroom system worked. But nowadays, you have a vocal minority who want the system to be adapted so they can use public restrooms without feeling uncomfortable, or even embarrassed; they also want to be able to use restrooms without provoking negative reactions of any kind from others. This is a complex problem that’s surely going to be the subject of intense debate for many years to come. While people for and against will continue to argue their points, it’s clear that this problem doesn’t have a simple solution.



James Gibson
I'm a Classics graduate and have been writing for over three years. Hopefully going to go into novel writing some day. I'm mostly interested in theme parks and roller coasters - I've been on 300 coasters and plan on going on lots more!
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