The Case for Gender-Neutral Toilets.

I embrace the debate over gender neutral toilets. I embrace the debate with the same enthusiasm as I would embrace anybody in a public toilet who would prefer not to define themselves in binary terms.

Society likes putting people in boxes. Society wants people to know their box, to be happy in their box, to relieve themselves, in the dark, dank corner of their own squalid box. I say it’s time to puncture some air holes in these boxes of ours and learn to breathe again like people did in the old days when they hunted, and made tools, and went hunting with the tools they made. It’s sobering to remember that the word ‘gender’ didn’t even exist then. I bet ‘binary’ didn’t either.

“I have a dream, and you can call it a pipe dream if you wish (because toilets are connected by a series of pipes)”  

My main interest, being unfortunate enough to be regarded as a man without ever proving proficient in the qualities deemed inherent in male culture (like hunting and making tools), is in the abolishment of the urinal, this great steaming trough of indignity where bestial convenience triumphs over a right to privacy. With gender-neutral bathrooms, there will be no urinals. Urinals suggest gender exclusion. Instead, there will be wall to wall stalls, where the doors go right to the ground. And the walls will be multi-coloured too, not this archaic pink for girls and blue for boys gender fascist stuff, but not ‘neutral-coloured’ either because that would imply some kind of bland greyness reminiscent of an East German bunker or naval vessel. Maybe just leave it white, and have user’s graffiti the interiors as they see fit. It’ll happen anyway.

Imagine! It’ll be fun. We can fight intolerance with inclusion. Everyone can get involved. There can be a national competition where the public gets to vote for the new gender-neutral toilet symbol- the one displayed on the entrance door. It’ll get too cluttered if you have the traditional male figure, next to the female figure, alongside the paraplegic figure and whatever else.

No, we’ll have one all-encompassing symbol, like Prince did, himself a sort of hero of gender-neutrality, and you know he would have approved.

The benefits know no bounds. Parents of an opposing gender to their child can enter without fear of recourse, cleaners of both sexes can clean without having to erect those little yellow signs warning us of their presence, and there will be baby changing facilities, condoms, sanitary towels- the complete public toilet experience. And of course, all facilities will be both free to use, and plentiful.

What all this surmounts to, is that I have a dream, and you can call it a pipe dream if you wish (because toilets are connected by a series of pipes), but a dream nonetheless. A dream that we can all just go to the toilet, in peace, and wash our hands of all this business with the boxes.

Tristan

 

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