I find myself somewhat bemused by the odd brouhaha over restrooms currently underway in the United States. When my wife last visited Europe she discovered that the restrooms in most of the places she visited were gender neutral. Each toilet was in its own enclosed and lockable room, while the sinks for washing one’s hands afterward were in a common area, used by both men and women alike. She had little trouble adjusting to that.
In our homes, all our restrooms are gender neutral. One doesn’t have a men’s room and a women’s room in one’s house. Likewise, even the small church I’m currently serving as interim pastor has gender neutral restrooms: we have two restrooms in the building, and both have but a single toilet in each. The doors lock, and so whoever needs to go simply goes in, locks the door, and takes care of business. With the way restrooms are set up in most places in Europe and the way they function in our homes, there is no concern or thought about whether it is for a male, female, or transgendered.
Besides, there’s this whole “separate but equal” problem in the first place regarding public restrooms that are designated for “male” or “female.” If one pays attention at major public events—such as sporting events or concerts, it is not unusual to see women standing in line outside their designated restrooms, while men don’t have to wait like that. The men’s rooms and women’s rooms have been separate for a very long time in public spaces, but they have hardly ever really been equal. I’m rather surprised there hasn’t been a female revolt already to insist on gender-neutral restrooms.
The solution to the current brouhaha over who can use which restroom is relatively simple: just transition to the European style of gender neutral restrooms.