Unisex bathrooms: Yay or Nay?

A couple of girls on my friends list recently declared that segregating bathrooms into “male” and “female” is sexist and stupid and should be abolished. While I agree that in small businesses there is no need to have a single bathroom each with the words “male”
and “female” I think that when stalls are involved, that the bathrooms should still be segregated.

Their arguments for only unisex bathrooms were as follows:

1 People who do not conform to typical expressions of gender such as transgendered people often face discrimination for going in the “wrong” bathroom.

2 Women’s bathrooms often have long lines in busy areas as compared to the men’s.

3 Two separate bathrooms mean more work for janitors and are harder to keep clean and take care of.

My response to those arguments:

I personally prefer three bathrooms in large areas such as big movie theaters and ballparks. A “male”, “female” and “family” bathroom. I wouldn’t have a problem with using a unisex bathroom, I have many times before, but I prefer a women’s over a unisex. I can understand the need for some to have a unisex bathroom, parents with small children of the opposite sex, caretakers of handicapped or mentally challenged people of the opposite sex and even some transgendered people who might prefer to use a “unisex bathroom.”

However, a good deal of transgendered people face discrimination for merely walking down the street and while bathroom use is a hard point for them, I think that laws should instead be passed protecting their right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

I did an informal poll of all the transgendered people I know and all of them said that they thought the unisex bathroom idea was silly and even if they had a unisex bathroom available to them, they would prefer to use the one that corresponds to their gender identity. I realize that my friends are a small sample of all transgendered people so I am interested in hearing from more of you.

I also have a few friends that have public bathroom anxiety. They feel embarrassed using the public bathrooms because of the “sounds” and try to avoid it at all costs. They said that if all public bathrooms were unisex, they would have such anxiety that they didn’t think they could ever use one again. I realize my few friends are a small minority, but I still think that is important.

As for women and men having unequal amounts of toilet space, I do think that is a problem, but that can be fixed by offering more stalls in the women’s restrooms as compared to the men’s. If the amount of stalls is small or there are no men in the other restroom, then I have seen girls take over the men’s for a short period of time.

I think the amount of stalls required per person who works in the building is required by law, so I don’t think that making all bathrooms unisex is going to make janitors’ work any easier, as one unisex bathroom would probably be the same size as two single sex bathrooms. It might even have to be more as urinals would no longer be used.

Finally, I don’t want to have all bathrooms be unisex for several reasons.

1 I can easily see perverted men hanging out in the bathroom and leering at females who come in or go out. There are already men who try to film women going to the bathroom and it would be much easier for them to go about such activities.

2 Most women and even a few men use the bathroom as a place to do personal hygiene checkup and grooming. That’s why bathrooms have mirrors and some people go out of their way to use restrooms that have mirrors and in women’s restrooms, mirrors are often in different places than sinks. Checking for food stuck in your teeth, adjusting your clothes, reapplying your makeup… I have no problem with doing that in mixed company, but I know several women who do. Other women I spoke to said that they would be too embarrassed to buy tampons in a unisex bathroom or said that they would not be able to use the bathroom on a first date if there was a chance their date would be in the bathroom too.

Are single-sex bathrooms on the way out? Are they really sexiest and out-dated? I am interesting in hearing your thoughts even if you just want to say that you would or would not have a problem using a unisex bathroom.

Sounds good to me, but I don’t think the chicks are going to go for it.

I really don’t want to do my business with a woman in the next stall doing hers. I don’t want to hear her peeing, pooping, farting, stinking, whatever. I just don’t wanna know, ya know?

What they need to do is create a quickie pee stall for women that takes up less room than a full stall.


The funny side effect of unnisex bathrooms is how it revives the age-old complaint about leaving the seat up…I love it!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Ya’know, even if they are sexist - and you can make a case for that - I don’t think they are out-dated. I’m all for equality, but I’m not ready for that.

I’m with Mack. Don’t want to ruin the image of women by sharing a bathroom. And I guarantee women don’t want to use a public facility used by Joe six-pack. It won’t matter if the seat is up, down, or torn off.

I don’t really see how separate bathrooms are terribly sexist, although I do appreciate seeing “family restrooms” at malls sometimes now - what a great idea for parents with opposite gender children and people in need of assistance from their spouses!

However, I see no real need for unisex restrooms assuming that there have to be a certain number of stalls per person regardless of location - and hoping they put more of the stalls in the ladies’ room.

As silly as it sounds, my first response to the idea is “How would I escape my date if he could follow me into the bathroom?” My second: “Where would we go to talk about the guys?” Having heard other peoples’ conversations in the ladies’ room, I suspect I’m not the only woman to think that, either.

Besides, our social mores don’t allow for men to use a urinal in front of the opposite gender, and eliminating urinals would cause even more of a wait for a stall. Can you imagine the lines for unisex bathrooms in sports stadiums?

I don’t care if the guys see me pick my teeth, put on makeup, or set up a whole lemur-like ring of hair-fixing. I do mind a bit if they see me trying to coax that last tampon out of the machine, I admit, and I could do without hearing any grunting. Personally, I’d prefer those European stalls that are a lot more sound-proof all around.

I honestly don’t think I care one way or the other. Given a choice between a multistall unisex restroom and a women’s restroom, I’ll use the women’s room as it’s less likely to be unsanitary (men can’t aim, but insist on peeing standing up). But I’m not put off by the idea of a unisex restroom.

I do, however, want privacy. No public urination for this gal.

My uni was built in the late 60s and hence decided that unisex loos were in. Fast forward ooohhh, 7 years and because of the complaints by women of the state of the loos, they became single sex. We therefore had to hike a block to go to the designated female loo in our block.
Bad idea!
Also, in Japan, many loos have a urinal and one or two stalls past it. Having to walk past men peeing, is not my idea of a comfortable situation. I have been known to hide in the stall waiting for the man/men to leave if they came in after me. Having done some poll taking of my own, Japanese women are also uncomfortable with this style toilet but men don’t really care.

I would really love unisex bathrooms, preceisely for reason one. My attempts at passing thus far result in me getting dirty looks in the women’s room and running a very real risk of getting my ass kicked in the men’s room. And sometimes I just can’t hold it until I get home.

I have nothing against it myself, but I pity the women who have to share it with us males. I imagine the odor would be that of lovely perfume mixed with piss.


I also have a few friends that have public bathroom anxiety. They feel embarrassed using the public bathrooms because of the “sounds” and try to avoid it at all costs. They said that if all public bathrooms were unisex, they would have such anxiety that they didn’t think they could ever use one again. I realize my few friends are a small minority, but I still think that is important.


I’m one of those folks who has always had “stage fright” in public bathrooms, just around other women. A unisex bathroom (with multiple stalls, not the single-user type) would be one of my worst nightmares, especially if I had an upset stomach :eek:

Basically, people are just embarrassed about the thought of having to go potty when strangers of the opposite sex can hear (and, God help us, smell) it.

I can state with confidence that no woman wants any part of my bathroom experience and I really don’t want to know that women have to go too.

I don’t think it’s sexist, it’s just a natural aversion to exposing vulnerabilities to the opposite sex.

I am for unisex bathrooms. I get to talk to the babes while waiting in line :wink:

Just have a large room for stalls and a separate room for urinals.

[highjack]Who’s up for a fetish thread?![/highjack]

Men’s rooms during very crowded concerts at the Nassau Coliseum automatically become unisex during band changes and intermissions, whether the coliseum management knows it or not.

Well, on the one hand, I certainly don’t want to deal with men who leave the seat up (or, far worse, hose it). Urinals would need half-walls or something, at the very least, and yells of “Aw, shit! If I throw a quarter under the door, could somebody get me a tampon?” would be right out.

OTOH, though, I don’t know that men would be any worse than the dreaded hoverers, and I seriously doubt they’d get any more urine on the seat and walls. (I’m still foggy on how the paranoid cows manage that one.) I don’t really give a damn if men are using urinals behind me, provided I don’t have to look at it, and I’ve pretty much quit needing feminine protection altogether, so those aren’t really issues for me.

Provided the unisex bathroom was well-designed, it wouldn’t really make any difference to me one way or the other.

Having cleaned the bathrooms in businesses, I can say that the men’s room stinks and the ladies room doesn’t. Just for that reason, I’d like to keep them separate. Let the stinkers stay in the men’s room and leave the ladies room nice.
Not that I haven’t smelled a bad ladies room, just that the men’s room takes on a certain aroma that’s permanent and off

I admit that there doesn’t seem to be any ready alternative to gendered stall-type bathrooms that would be acceptable to most; however, I think that under no circumstances should individual bathrooms (i.e. a room with one toilet) be gendered. It’s stupid, it’s exclusive for the reasons mentioned above, and it solves no extant problem.

At one place I used to work, the bathrooms were identical and individual - and they were still gendered. I have no idea why. And when the student society at my university decided to make an individual bathroom unisex, there was a minor hulabaloo that I have yet to understand.

(It will, no doubt, only confuse the issue to point out that not all trans people consider themselves as belonging to either of the traditional gender categories, nor do many ‘present’ well enough as one or the other to avoid hassles and worse when attempting to use either bathroom.)

I (a girl, for the record) am all for unisex stalls.

The amount of fear related to our bodies is rediculous, and gendered bathrooms just add to that. Women MENSTRATE. Every woman knows this. Every guy knows this. It’s not any sort of secret whatsoever. So why should it be the least bit embarrasing?

I dunno, but acting like our bodies are shameful secrets doesn’t seem to be the way to stop it. Are there really women out there that are uncomfortable applying make up in front of men? How does that even work?

In high school drama, boys and girls changed into constume in the same room. It wasn’t a big deal at all. It wasn’t any sort of deal at all. And yet these same students, in gym class with seperate locker rooms, went apeshit over anything that even hinted that boys and girls existed and are built a bit different. It’s all about how you treat things. And when you start treating things like it’s no big deal, it stops being a big deal pretty quickly.

My college had unisex bathrooms, and all the freshmen freaked out about them for, oh, say a week. And then they all got used to it. I really liked it because it meant I could continue to talk to my guy friends while I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed.

And I just think it’d be good for all of us to stop freaking out about gender and sex so much. For trans people, this is really really important, and I personally know some people whoes biggest fears of living as their identified genders is the bathroom issue. They basically don’t want to feel like freaks, and the whole gendered bathroom thing garentees that they will.