Of all the basic human functions, a visit to the bathroom shouldn’t require a lot of thought. Nor should it require a two page pamphlet. Two weeks ago, en route to a pee, I found a two page pamphlet on the ‘gender neutral’ bathroom door. The pamphlet contained sex and gender definitions (including the latest iterations), URL links about gender neutral bathrooms and why we needed general neutral bathrooms.
Call me crazy, but didn’t we all grow up with gender neutral bathrooms? I used the same toilet as my father, as did my sister and brother and all of our friends, whether they were male, female, gay, straight or anything in between. Our household wasn’t fantastically liberal either. It was what it was. Ironically, it’s only the attributing of male/female signage that manifests a gender neutral discussion. Many restaurants only have one bathroom or uni sex bathrooms.
The question is:
Do we need to make an issue out of gender neutral bathrooms?
Sex and gender were once used interchangeably, and in some instances (natural sciences for example) they still are. (Animals and insects haven’t seen the need or desire to explore trans-genderism, and if humans had to focus all our spare time on finding food or trying to stay alive perhaps we’d be in the same boat.) For the record, I support anyone being anything (if they so desire) and if it doesn’t impede on the health or livelihood of anyone else have at ‘er.
For those new to the updated gender conversations: sex these days refers to biological sex. (Ie the sexual genitalia you were born with.) But just because you were born with a penis doesn’t mean your gender, or gender identity, is male. Gender has transcended basic male/female differentiation descriptions and now refers to the cultural and social understandings layered on top of biology.
SO…WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Since neither sex nor gender has anything to do with sexual orientation, here’s where it becomes a melting pot. You could be transgender and lesbian, gay or straight. Or you could be the latest buzz word ‘cisgender’ which means your gender identity and behaviors ‘match’ (according to gender binaries) the sexual genitalia you were assigned at birth. This doesn’t mean you are straight. You could be cisgender and bisexual.
Confused yet? You aren’t the only one struggling to keep up.
In an attempt to remove all possible perceived negativity or biases around the fluid subjects of sex and gender, more words and an increasing number of explanations (and pamphlets) are now required. Of course, education is required for those not exposed to these conversations (or who refuse to accept them) but the more labels and terms we come up with in an attempt to define gender and the gender identity experience the more we’ll all have to navigate.
I certainly don’t mind…but when it comes to nature calling: less is more.
Have one bathroom with no signs.
Take away labels and you don’t need a two page pamphlet.
Going to the bathroom has never seen simpler.