*The NBA has just announced that it will move its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte because North Carolina passed a law requiring all to use restroom facilities consistent with their gender at birth, not their gender identity, allegedly to protect the sexual privacy and safety of females.
But there’s a much simpler inexpensive method to protect the interests of transsexual users, who do not want to be forced to chose a restroom inconsistent with their gender identity, and at the same time to protect the interests of concerned female users, and it’s being tested at George Washington University.
It’s a win, win, win for all concerned, says GWU public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
It satisfies the needs of transsexuals (as well as transvestites) – who dress in a manner inconsistent with their anatomical sex – to be able to have ready access to conveniently located restrooms without having to declare any particular gender preference or identity, while at the same time insuring that girls and women will not find anatomical males (transgender or otherwise) in their female restrooms.
It also avoids the need for schools and businesses to construct many more single-user all-gender restrooms (another popular solution) – which is expensive at best, and often near impossible in existing buildings – so it’s a win, win, win situation, says Banzhaf, whose been dubbed the “Father of Potty Parity.”
Banzhaf has won over 100 gender discrimination legal actions, supported LGBT rights, and criticized the North Carolina statute for requiring even transsexual people who have completed sexual re-assignment surgery to use restrooms corresponding to the genitals they were born with but no longer have.
What his law school has done, says Banzhaf, is simply to re-designate what was formerly a typical men’s restroom – with 3 urinals, 1 toilet in a stall, and 2 wash basins – as an all-gender restroom.
Since the percentage of students who are transsexual is very small, most of the time the room functions as any other male restroom would, with many men able to urinate in a short period of time.
However any person – including not only transsexuals, but also transvestites, men who are simply bashful, have shy bladder syndrome (paruresis), etc. – can enter this restroom without exposing themselves or identifying with any particular gender, and relieve themselves in the privacy of the stall.
Because typical women could even use this stall toilet if time is short and the lines at the nearby women’s room are too long, both F2M and M2F transsexual students can relieve themselves in the room’s toilet without revealing anything about their anatomical gender or gender identity, notes Banzhaf.
Since in most buildings male and female restrooms are usually close together, this system would open up almost half of all restrooms to transgender students so they would no longer have to search for and then travel far to single-user all-gender restrooms which are often few and far between, says Banzhaf.
While GWU’s system would occasionally expose typical male users to an anatomical female, most men seem unconcerned about any potential privacy invasion and, unlike the reverse situation, have no real fears about suffering sexual assaults or even rape from anatomical females, Banzhaf notes.
So this approach – converting all or at least most male restrooms into all-gender restrooms – would probably solve most of the problems states such as North Carolina are now facing, and do so without adversely affecting transsexuals, nor typical girls and women concerned about privacy and sexual assaults.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA
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