September 28, 2005

Single Sex Bathrooms

Via Jane Galt comes the perennial question: Why don't we have unisex bathrooms? Yeah, why don't we? From a utility standpoint, single-sex bathrooms would be quicker, on average, for women—those urinals keep the restroom traffic moving—and cleaner, on average, for men (the shame factor). From a cultural standpoint, some men might find it weird that suddenly people are talking and brushing their hair in the bathroom (or whatever), but they'll get over it. The main worry, of course, is that unisex bathrooms would lead to more sexual assaults. Even if that's not true statistically, still, the first assault that did happen would cause the company or venue that adopted the unisex bathroom to come in for special opprobrium, since it went out of its way to do things differently. So people are reluctant to stick their neck out and be the first-movers. Perhaps you can use the money saved by consolidating restrooms to hire a guard. Or security cameras. But perhaps that's unworkable.

MORE: Here's why the GLBT community is getting behind single-sex bathrooms: "In a 2002 survey conducted by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, nearly half of all transgender respondents reported having been harassed or assaulted in public restrooms."
-- Brad Plumer 1:27 PM || ||