Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The politics of the public toilet

The LA Times is reporting that a transgender public restroom initiative, supported by groups which, especially, don't want people with male genitalia to use women's restrooms, failed to gather enough signatures to make it onto the California ballot.

"Backers of a proposed ballot initiative that sought to require transgender people to use the public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex say they have failed to qualify the measure for the California ballot. Privacy for All's initiative would have prohibited transgender people from using the single-sex facilities that matched their gender identity unless a doctor confirmed they had undergone sex reassignment surgery."

Even though I think this "problem" is so small as to not matter -- I've personally never once in my 51 years seen a human being who I thought was transgender enter a public restroom I have been in or been near -- I think there is a reasonable public policy solution moving forward.

I would favor a state law which requires large new public buildings -- or old ones which are substantially renovated -- to have one out of every three public restrooms designated as unisex. This requirement would not apply to any private buildings or any public buildings with less than three public restrooms.

The men's rooms would still be for people who were born male and live life as males. The women's rooms would still be for people who were born female and live life as females. And the unisex restrooms would be for anyone who wanted to use them.

And while I would not make a law requiring public buildings with two restrooms to accommodate transgenders, I think those businesses which have transgender customers or employees would probably be better off by choosing to have either both of their restrooms designated as unisex or simply have one for women only and the other one unisex.

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