Co-ed Bathrooms

There seems to be a growing awareness about gender identity with more and more news stories about transgender folks.

Transgender student wins $75k in school bathroom discrimination suit
I'm a Transgender Teen and Which Restroom I Use Is None of Your Business
CBS News Poll: Transgender kids and school bathrooms
Fear and Loathing in Public Bathrooms, or How I Learned to Hold My Pee
New Laws Are Making Public Bathrooms Safer for Transgender People

Lots of debates about how bathrooms should be. Should people be able to choose a women's or men's bathroom based on her or his own gender identity? Should all bathrooms be (one-at-a-time) unisex? Should bathrooms be co-ed?

I went to college in the 1990s at a fairly liberal university, and we had co-ed bathrooms. It wasn't scandalous. It wasn't really that weird at all, frankly.

Last night, I was at an event, and I saw what I think is probably the best bathroom setup I've ever seen. There was a women's bathroom. And then there was a co-ed bathroom.

What's so great about this setup?

  • Women's bathroom lines are typically longer than men's bathroom lines at large events. So if there's spillover, the women do not have to wait in line at the women's bathroom—they can go to the men's bathroom instead.
  • Transgender folks don't have to worry about being accused of using the "wrong" bathroom. They can just go to the co-ed one and not be hassled by transphobic people.
  • Women who have PTSD around men and violence and want a safe space can go to the women's bathroom and avoid the whole co-ed situation.

I have seen this setup in only one place, though. I wonder why it's not more common. I identify as male, and I've often felt bad that I go straight to the bathroom while seeing a long line of women waiting for the women's bathroom. This whole strict gender divide seems ridiculous.

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