The impact of gender-neutral bathrooms

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The issue of gender-neutral bathrooms in public places is always up for debate, and no doubt is always joined by an abundance of varying opinions. No matter what your stance is on the issue, you’re bound to be disputed. As a huge supporter of equality and lgbt+ rights, I can completely and truly understand the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms and facilities, but there are also issues with this notion.

The idea of gender-neutral bathrooms is for inclusion and equality, the idea that everybody, no matter your gender, can do their business in a place they feel safe and comfortable. This is a lovely idea, but don’t you think it’s a bit unrealistic and slightly naïve?

Don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world everyone would be treated the same, no discrimination. But this is the real world. It exists everywhere. Gender neutral bathrooms are almost a recipe for more hatred to spark. Almost 60 per cent of transgender people avoid using public bathrooms due to this according to Reuters, but this issue isn’t going to be solved by simply making the bathroom accessible to all.

Transgender people are just as equal as any other member of society and should be treated that way. They should be seen and treated by what gender they identify as, meaning using whatever bathroom they feel they should be in, and they should feel safe in these. If people are going to discriminate and get violent in regular bathrooms, what makes people think they’ll stop just because a different sign is on the door?

Having gone into men’s bathrooms on desperate occasions, would you believe that they’re no different to women’s and nobody really cared that my friends and I were there? Realistically, a toilet is a toilet. This shouldn’t be an issue. If you identify as a man, go into the men’s. If you identify as a woman, use the women’s. And if you identify as gender fluid, you get a choice and I’d say go to the bathroom that’s the shortest walk away.

Another problem facing gender-neutral bathrooms is groups of men and women in them. Imagine being a young guy, going into these bathrooms and running into a hen party? Or a girl bumping into a lad’s holiday? Let’s think about how that will go down? I am in no way insinuating any type of assault here, because that can happen anywhere and in any type of bathroom. By this I simply mean a young boy being ‘fangirled’ over or a girl getting chants when she enters, only things that will be embarrassing on both parts.

Ultimately, I would love if we could all live in harmony and pee where we like but that just isn’t the case. People will disagree and fight this constantly. The truth is that we don’t live in an equal and just society, some people are going to discriminate, and an all gender bathroom won’t change that.

Ellen Fitzpatrick

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