“They’re the same.”

Someone wrote…

While waiting for the single-size woman’s restroom to open up, a shop owner encouraged me to use the men’s room instead. While I go for androgyny most days (you’ve even posted me on here before!), it’s usually pretty clear that I lean towards the feminine side. “They’re the same,” he said. And so my morning started off with a physical manifestation of my own views of gender: sure, there are binaries that most of the world expects you to stick to, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, just get your business done.

What do you do when the not-your-gender single-stall restroom is the only one that’s free?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on December 19th, 2008 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 6 comments »

6 Responses to ““They’re the same.””

  1. Anja Flower

    I just wait, usually. I guess I’m just not quite that comfortable with my public gender presentation – but if someone offered the men’s room to me, I’d totally use it! It’s a matter of comfort, not philosophy. :3

    I’ll have to try that in the future…
    Wouldn’t it be nice if there were just two bathrooms labeled “restroom?” No gender markers?


  2. Britni

    I go in whichever one is open! Especially if they are single stall restrooms. What’s the difference, really? There isn’t one. The bathroom is there for you to do what you have to do, and the sign on the door in no way changes the function of the bathroom.


  3. Steve C.

    I’ve always thought it was completely ridiculous that people feel the need to gender single-stall bathrooms (well, kind of bathrooms at all, but especially the single-stall). I usually use the “correct” one when they’re all open, b/c I feel like it’s conversation I don’t need to have with someone unprepared to deal with it. But when one’s in use, I use the other one in a heartbeat. Happily, the building I work in now is filled with single stalls that just say bathroom. Not even the little MAN SIGN/WOMAN SIGN. These bathrooms are for everyone. How reasonable!


  4. April

    I always try the ladies room first and if I don’t feel like I’m going to go in my pants, I’ll wait. But if I absolutely cannot wait, I’ll use the boys room in a minute.

    When I was 8 months pregnant I had gone to a Garth Brooks concert at a big arena in Orlando. As with most pregnant women, when you gotta pee, you GOTTA pee. The bathroom there had many stalls but the line for the ladies room was a mile long. There wasn’t a line at all for the boys room, so I said screw it, I’m going in! As I walked into the bathroom I said, “Hey boys, there’s a woman coming in so hide what ya got if you don’t want me to see it!” They all laughed and none of them seemed to mind.


  5. quiteneil

    I use whichever one is open.


  6. Tualha

    The way that people so often unthinkingly put pointless gender labels on single-user restrooms says an awful lot about how pervasive and unconscious the binary model is.

    But not universal. Kudos to that shop owner!


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