Gender neutral bathrooms

I wrote my name tag and was surprised to be asked to note what pronouns I wanted. “She/her/hers”, of course, I thought. I was more surprised to hear that after prolonged negotiation with the University they had agreed a gender neutral bathroom. No, I would not want to use that, I wanted the women’s; and while the SNP has won the Holyrood elections, and have pledged to allow Scots to choose an undefined gender, X rather than M or F on birth certificate and passport, I doubt I will. There aren’t the complex legal hoops, being judged as enough by doctors and lawyers, either.

One person, I am fairly sure AFAB, had put “He/She/They” on his/her/their name tag. Choose for yourself. That could be defensive, so she is not hurt by misgendering or deliberately insulting pronouns, but it could also be genuinely not caring. Gender pronouns are a cultural concept, of which he does not recognise the validity. That appeals to me.

Sex and gender are both cultural and physical. The TERFs say they are solely physical. This replies that they are solely cultural: as a human being among human beings they does not recognise those cultural stereotypes, expectations, requirements. Seeking partners they seek mutual attraction rather than hetero- or homonormativity; or are perhaps asexual.

I don’t see the attraction of gender neutral bathrooms, I find the idea horrible, but I suppose that they subvert that cultural expectation too. Sex and gender are irrelevant.

There were several AFAB people there, apparently without binders, gender neutral theys rather than trans hes. I want people to find their own way. The greater the variety of choice, the better.

I met a man who said there is my lot, “The Sibyls generation”- if I had not been sensitive about turning fifty this month already, that might have set it off- and these Millennials subverting and discarding gender or sex difference, and he felt in between. He is 36. He has been on T for just three months, and has a singing teacher helping with his voice. I expressed surprise at his male-shaped chest, and he said he is wearing three binders.

A Muslim man said that there is racism in the trans community. He went to a F-M gathering, where men shared their coming out stories, and he felt they did not fit his experience as a Muslim. Everyone else was white. He needs to be with Muslim LGBT folk. Even Christians were surprised he was still Muslim, but why should we let those in the faiths who are wrong about gender and sexuality throw us out? And, although they are wrong about those things, they fit us so well in other ways.

At last it is sunny sandals weather. I have painted toe and fingernails pearlescent, and have a loose, shocking pink sundress for cycling. Someone observed how “dainty” my feet were, in the Quaker meeting, and I am delighted.

Chagall, the Lovers

6 thoughts on “Gender neutral bathrooms

  1. Beautiful girl, the subject of gender neutral bathrooms leaves me cold, I’m afraid, though I warm to thinking about the dilemmas of being LGBT Muslim. I would not call it racism, per se, to be in a minority of one, even if my story was different from other people’s – everyone’s is. It is strange how we sometimes lean on props of description, even when they are unhelpful: – eg ‘disabled’ – they are part of what other people identify about us. Our commonality derives from an unhelpful observation …..

    Lots of love and hugs! (((XXX)))

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    • I would not want to use a gender-neutral bathroom either, but I like that they (plural) do. I can see that it is a useful symbol for them. And Trans is something I observe about myself, rather than anything any other has put on me; possibly others classify me as trans and find some stereotype for me when they read me. And disability- my friend left the MS society because she did not want to sit round listening to people with MS moaning, and facing similar problems sharing them in a group can be affirming.

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  2. All most of us really want (I believe) is to live free. To just be. We quickly learn it’s easier to accept ourselves first, then to be disappointed by the lack of acceptance we might run into being individuals. I have gone to clubs in the past where the bathroom was used by everybody. When I had to pee, it didn’t bother me, I just went. Personally, I prefer my bathroom at home.

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    • Welcome, Jen. It is lovely to have you here. As long as there is no smell other than a sickly air-freshener, loos are loos. Though I have seen them with the partitions of the cubicles pink in one, and blue in the other- actually at the Employment Tribunal in Manchester. So there you go.

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  3. We in NZ have been able to choose to identify as either M, F, or X on such things as driver’s licence, passports etc for some time. All one need do is state in writing that is how one wishes to be identified. It’s somewhat more difficult to have one’s birth certificate changed though.

    Gender neutral toilets are making an appearance here, although I think it’ll be some time before they are common. I no longer feel very uncomfortable using such facilities, and my wife, having grown up where they were relatively common thinks nothing of using them.

    I often wonder about the use of the word “bathroom” in the context of loos. This is something that baffles most Kiwis. Are we the only English speakers that don’t use this euphemism? Perhaps it’s because we don’t go to the bathroom when we want to use the toilet. Instead, even the smallest homes will have a separate room for the loo, usually adjacent to, or nearby, the bathroom.

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    • On “bathroom”, most of my readership is from the US, and I have been influenced by reading of “Bathroom bills” excluding trans women. But alternatives have similar derivations: toilet in the mid C17 meant “the action or process of washing, dressing, arranging the hair, etc.” Then it meant a dressing room furnished with washing facilities, and finally a lavatory, derived from latin lavare to wash. Use of words for dunny or cludge drives out other usage, as with any euphemism: “incontinent” meant “immediately” in C17. And if I want a bath I would say I am going to have a bath, not I am going to the bathroom. Some houses here have a separate room for the loo, but less than half I would say.

      In Welsh- I learned this from signs in supermarkets- the term for toilet paper is papur tŷ bach, “little house paper”, which I felt was a childish or twee euphemism akin to “smallest room”. I have just found the wordpress “special character” set does not include ŷ- Cywilydd arnynt!

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