In “Making Bathrooms more ‘Accommodating’” Emily Bazelon discusses the problems that transgender people when it comes to bathroom use and the growing concern in the LGBT community. Bathrooms are essential public spaces that people cannot do without. They are however very specific based on the gender. A bathroom is either marked male or female. A person who needs to use one of these facilities has to confirm if they are entering the right room otherwise, there is risk for discomfort, one own discomfort or the discomfort of other users. Using the wrong bathroom may also lead to trouble. In some cases, there will be queues to use the female bathroom when the male is empty. This highlights one of the smaller concerns with the system (Bazelon).
Questions have been raised about this issue by people who are transgender. The transgender group is asking for rethinking of the design; the signs used to indicate which bathroom is which as well as which bathroom to go to. There is great resistance by people to having stalls that are for all genders as well as locker rooms. It is understandable as people fear what may happen especially if men can freely go into women’s bathrooms. This fear has been used by opponents of the equal ordinance rights that were campaigning for the equal rights of people based on several factors including gender (Bazelon).
The problem of making the bathroom more accommodating can be seen in the treatment of transgender students. They are allowed to pick the gender they want for sports and other activities and are also be referred to by the name preferred as well as the relevant pronoun. However, they are still not sure of the bathroom that transgender kids should use. There is need to make the bathrooms more accommodating for children. The term accommodate has been described as one that means to make fitting (Bazelon). This means to cater for the needs of those who are not catered for. The idea is making provisions for those who are exempted. This can be seen in the fight for rights of the disabled who could not access many buildings because they had stairs and also could not access bathrooms in many places therefore locking them out. The term accommodating has come under a lot of criticism because it seems to imply that one group comes in and alters what has been the norm. However, according to those fighting for the rights of the transgender people, the term means giving two ways. It is more about reaching a compromise.
The separation of men and women bathrooms has been a social creation that was necessitated by the fact that women started frequenting places where men worked before. This led to the division. There were also other factors such as white women claiming that they will not use the same toilets as black women because they will get syphilis. Transgender people have to prove that they are either male or female in order to belong wherever they enter a bathroom. This seems a bit unfair as they should be comfortable wherever they go in and others around them should be comfortable as well. This is why the idea of a unisex bathroom makes more sense than having the single gender bathrooms(Bazelon). Males have urinals and urinal bowls, and this is actually a means of accommodating them though it is seen as normal. Belonging is a human need, and it is time to ensure that this is there for everyone.
Bazelon, Emily. “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’”. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.