In “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’”, Emily Bazelon argues that the classic male and female gender roles have been set in our culture since the victorian era, which is what makes it so difficult to accommodate and change bathroom “norms” for transgenders. For example, Bazelon talks about how throughout history there has been “accomodations” for all of the new conflicts that arose. In other words, Bazelon speaks to the fact that the current transgender issue is just like every other issue that society has had to face.
The whole segrigation of the sexest roots all the way back to the Victorian era when states (men) started to segregate water closets. The segregation continued in the modern workplace when men thought that women needed “‘retiring rooms’ out of concern that they were prone to dizziness and fainting” because women needed a safe haven to rest when outside of the house. This predisposed notion that we have been taught to use separate bathrooms for males and females causes today’s society to have a harder time accepting nontraditional gender roles. Bazelon discusses how past generations were very close minded to any real inclusion of people that don’t fit the traditional “mold.” This hesitation of acceptance is true to transgenders as well as something as simple as a person’s religious beliefs.
Religions has also dealt with roadblocks when it came to working around religious holidays or day time worship; companies had to “accommodate” around that individual. Bazelon talks about how the word can be seen as something good and welcoming, something to harmonize a situation. Furthermore, she also talks about how, “it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not,” making it seem as if giving accommodations to transgenders is an issue that we do not have time to deal with. Therefore, Bazelon talks of how we have approached this new topic with such a bad attitude and such hostility that it has polarized the transgender community. The way that people approach accommodations is with a “distinction between the normal and the other.” It is a combination of people being afraid of change as well as not wanting to accommodate for something they don’t completely understand. People in our society don’t believe in just giving there is a strong ideology for everything to be a two way street, if changing something or raising taxes to help a group of people doesn’t help you personally in some way the people feel no obligation or desire to help. People keep their minds closed and don’t try to learn about new issues that come up when they have nothing to gain, that is part of the problem when it comes to changing policy and people’s ideas in this country.
Emily Bazelon’s main argument is that throughout history there has been a clear divide between those who are seen as “normal” and those who are seen as “other” whether that be today’s issue of transgender rights or religious identity. Bazelon is calling us to action to change the way that we view the “other” category and realize that they are labeled as such because we as society do so, and we as society can change that. There are great examples of transgender students that have been perfectly integrated into the changing room to which they identify, by showing us that Bazelon is showing us that it is possible for all of us to integrate.
Bazelon, Emily. “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating.’” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/making-bathrooms-more-accommodating.html?_r=0