Yesterday a friend of mine made a short post about public restrooms and transgender people, which prompted a firestorm of responses after one particularly daft American Idiot posted a retort comprised of a flag emoji, “u” in place of the word “you,” and the classic line, “I don’t care if your [sic] gay straight sideways whatever I have many different friends lol and never have heard wining [sic] about the bathroom.”
I won’t spend any more time on that brilliance than I have to, but it did bring up an important question. What are our actual solutions with regard to this issue? My knee-jerk response was to suggest unisex public restrooms. I mean, most of us use the same restroom at home. Nobody frets over who uses a Porta-Potty (the trepidation is more about having to use said convenience in the first place). I was about to present a grand unisex strategy when my going-on thirteen years of experience in retail struck me like a bolt of lightning.
Guys, I am intimately familiar with what goes on in public restrooms, and it’s fucking revolting. In the men’s room, specifically, there’s almost constant whackin’ going on in there. Let me pause to apply a disclaimer. There is a way to masturbate in the privacy of a public restroom stall that will not arouse suspicion. I will not confess here to having done so, but hear me now and believe me later, people are busting nuts quickly, quietly, and efficiently into the toilet all day every day all over the world and flushing it down without bothering anyone. It’s a bodily function like any other and we shouldn’t be ashamed of this or shame others for it.
That said, there still exists a huge segment of the population who get their kicks out of jizzing on everything in sight. The restroom I’ve been forced to clean for over a decade now is usually dripping with cum, and I gave up long ago trying to Sherlock this situation to a standstill. In my early managerial days, I actually had a folder full of evidence (don’t worry, no samples, just dates, times, and a list of destroyed merchandise, although I’ve often fantasized about submitting swabs to the state crime lab). I’d stare at the CCTV for precious minutes on end in attempt to pin down a culprit, and I even approached the regional loss prevention manager with my endeavors, to his absolute horror. I never successfully apprehended anyone, but believe me, I have the guy who keeps pissing all over the toilet paper whittled down to four or five suspects, including a regular customer and an employee. Watch out fucksticks, I’m coming for you (no pun intended).
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve entered a stall at work and had to step around someone’s steaming manmilk. Better yet, sometimes it’s on the toilet seat, the paper dispenser, or even the changing station (I got out bleach for that one, believe me). I don’t even want to go in there after we unlock the doors for business unless I’m armed with Clorox wipes and rubber gloves. I absolutely don’t want my kids in there, regardless of gender.
Maybe this is endemic to bookstores, but I seriously doubt it. I didn’t spend nearly as much time in the john at Sam’s Club because I didn’t have to clean it, but I do know the lockable unisex restroom was used for a romantic encounter by a couple of lovestruck employees on at least one occasion. Still, I’d rather deal with that situation than nutsicles hanging off the rails in the handicap stall.
Men can be absolutely disgusting, folks. I think you all knew this, but it’s all the more reason not to have unisex restrooms. There may be some strange horny outlier woman leaving snail trails in women’s restrooms all over America, but I seriously fucking doubt it. Even so, it doesn’t make it a trend. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe in the ladies’ room, but none of them had anything to do with the issue at hand, which is that someone is apparently going to be exposed to unsolicited sex (or its aftermath) in a bathroom. It was more like, “Oh, the sanitary bag has fallen down into the bloody rag receptacle, I think I’ll shove my kid’s dirty diaper and my empty Starbucks cup in there for good measure and place my used tampon on top like Dracula’s first birthday candle.”
Hell, I have a solution. Let’s split it by gender then split it more. Maybe we could have a kids’ restroom and an adult one. Maybe a family one, adult ones for men and women, a kids one for each, and separate ones for people who require assistance. Nah, that’s a bit out of control. How about we dig a latrine in the alley and make the men go spray their DNA outside? Maybe this is why there used to be restroom attendants. The towel and mint thing was just a cover. Dude was actually there to keep people from blasting semen all over the fucking walls.
I keep seeing this well-intentioned no sex in the champagne room argument where people, often women, imply that everyone is in there to do their business and leave. Maybe it’s because they don’t have to dodge nad tadpoles daily on their way to the pisser, but it’s not true. The men’s restroom is a den of debauchery. I’ve run a few straight couples (this is worth highlighting) out of there over the years, but I’ve never seen any sign of predation. It’s always been hot-and-bothered shoppers or lone wolf goo-graffiti artists.
So, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with transgender people. Well, one would assume people would be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender, or the facility they’re most comfortable in, since it’s not always so binary. The genital configuration they were born with isn’t as important as their current attitude. If they want to shove used toilet paper in the trash can, they can use the women’s room like everyone else. If they feel the need to junk-slime the tile, they should perhaps do it in the men’s room regardless of their delivery system.
There’s a case to be made for three restrooms, men’s, women’s, and other, because some folks have kids, are differently abled, or just want to go without dealing with the aforementioned associated bullshit. It’s not without its logistical issues (expense, lack of space, occupied by lovers), but I concede it’s a step in the right direction.
As a (mostly) straight cis man, my hot take on this subject means little to nothing. I’m not a loo engineer, and I probably won’t sway any bigots by appealing to their better nature. Right-wing politicians have done a great job painting transgender people as perverts, and the fact that we’ve all been going to the restroom with them without noticing since forever will inevitably be lost on the misled masses. I expressed this idea in that initial online discussion only to have another Great American reply, in broken English (OH BOY I AM NOTICING A TREND) that, and I’m translating from Redneck here, she didn’t mind using the restroom with post-op people who passed as their gender.
The implication was that she didn’t acknowledge transgender people unless they’d had surgery, and even then it was more of an out of sight out of mind thing. I’ll grant that most sexual violence is done with a penis without getting into the demographics of to whom. I’ll not erase the percentage of people victimized by women, but we can all agree that man, woman, or none of the above, if there’s a sex crime going on there’s generally at least one dick involved. That’s why people focus on trans women in this regard, and it’s not just conservatives. See also Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.
Thing is, the conservative/TERF trope of the hirsute faker cruising bathrooms in a miniskirt isn’t real. It’s just not happening, folks. I know that just because I’ve never seen it doesn’t make it not so, but I’ve seen people in dresses in the men’s room because they didn’t know where else to go. They were visibly embarrassed and they definitely weren’t cruising. The onus of evidence is on those who claim some crime is being committed. I can’t prove a negative. I just don’t see it, and as a 38-year-old world traveler, I’ve seen a lot of goddamned restrooms.
However, I will say the only man I’ve seen barge into a restroom he didn’t belong in without asking permission was a Jonesboro city cop in pursuit of a shoplifter. The only sex I’ve known of was between consenting hetero cis people, and the only love leavings I’ve had to clean were left by single lonely dudes in the men’s room. Sure, I can’t be certain of their gender or orientation, but 100% of the soggy periodicals I’ve recovered featured naked women in various salacious situations.
Let’s get the water closet out of the closet here. Why must we pretend the places where we milk out our leavings are the holiest of holy holes? It’s a minefield of vectors in there no matter what, guys, and the people who’ve deflowered its surfaces since time immemorial are not trans. My mind isn’t closed to exceptions, but we have to examine this statistically. Over 90% of the population is cisgender and heterosexual. My anecdotes do not equal data, but please present some evidence of wrongdoing to counter mine other than, “My preacher said so.”
If you’re still afraid of the non-existent specter of transgender people jumping out of stalls and sexually assaulting your entire family, allow me to point out that your beloved President’s opinion about how women should be treated is on record. As the one who rescinded Obama’s instruction on restrooms, he’s not off topic. If your argument is, “Think of the children,” then think of how you’re going to explain his lecherous boasting to them. If your argument is about public safety, consider the effect his remarks had on impressionable young men who look up to that tangerine turd. If you think beskirted strangers are waiting to penetrate you in a public restroom, consider that most crimes are perpetrated by friends and family, coworkers, or the guy you just met at the bar. Or, hell, the President of the United States of America.
There’s a Supreme Court decision coming up on this one, but I’m sorry to say I can’t hold out much hope in this political environment. It’s going to be a long road, but I want you all to know I fully support your use of the facility of your choice. Luckily, my company supports me in this endeavor. If you pick the men’s room, though, please step carefully. There may be puddles.