Monday, November 23, 2015

Go Before You Go

It looks like us guys are going to lose the bathroom advantage that evolution gave us.  The days of gender-specific bathrooms may be coming to an end.  An increase in legal challenges by those who identify as transgender are putting both public institutions and private businesses in the incredibly awkward position of having to provide facilities that meet standards that federal agencies have yet to actually detail--while preventing incidents that would rise to cases of indecent exposure to a child.

In listening to our interview with Oshkosh School Superinendent Stan Mack last week, you could hear the frustration in his voice as he and the School Board try to come up with a solution that satisfies the handful of transgender students in the district--while not leading to hundreds--if not thousands--of complaints from parents who don't want their daughters to share facilities with people who have penises.  Mack is of the opinion--due to a ruling in an Illinois lawsuit--that installing a unisex bathroom and retaining existing gender-specific facilities will not be good enough for the Federal Government.  That is apparently seen as "separate but not equal".

That leaves two options: Existing bathrooms that feature all stalls with doors that lock--meaning an end to the "urinal era" in men's bathrooms--or a series of unisex facilities with separate entrances and locking doors.  Either way, it's an expensive solution.

Small private business will likely avoid lawsuits from both sides by removing the men's and women's signs and having locking doors.  Malls, larger employers and places like Lambeau Field and Miller Park will dump the urinal and go to all stalls.  Which means us guys can no longer stroll right past the long line to use the ladies' room--do our business in 30-seconds--and stroll right back out without missing any of the action.  They might want to relocate the concession stands adjacent to the bathrooms from now on--you're going to be there awhile.

Now, will this assuage the concerns of parents sending children into public bathrooms?  We already have news stories of peeping toms (and worse) hiding in gender specific restrooms.  How would you feel about having all gender designations removed--and everyone having a "right" to be in there?  And we are just talking about bathrooms right now.  What do you do when a transgender student wants to play sports on the team he or she "identifies" with?  Will locker room facilities have to be individualized or partitioned?  And how do health clubs plan to deal with such situations?

My suggestion is very low-cost.  Let's all just go before we go out--you know, empty the tank--and conversely, hold it until we get home again.

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