Monday, 14 October 2013

Guest post: Gender-neutral toilets are for men too!

Die deutsche Version dieses Eintrags ist hier.

I'm really happy to introduce the first guest post on this blog, by an anonymous contributor.

I'm a six foot tall bearded man who wears black a lot. The issue of gendered toilets affects me because I can't really pee standing up.

I'm lucky in that the gender I was assigned at birth, and the gender I look like, is one that I'm comfortable with. When I say that I can't pee standing up, this isn't anything anatomical - the embarrassing truth is that I simply never learned to do it, not in a neat, aimed stream.

This means that when I go to the bathroom, I need to be able to sit down. Unfortunately, men's toilets often only have only one or a few stalls. Especially if there's only one stall, and it's been - shall we say - made unusable by a previous occupant, this puts me into a real bind. There may be multiple perfectly usable stalls nearby, but they're all marked as for women.

If the area leading up to the stalls is unisex, I sometimes end up using a for-women stall instead, but usually the toilets are completely separated, with different rooms for men and women. At that point, my only options are to bear the mounting pain of a full bladder or to just leave and go home, cutting short whatever I came here to do.

Being at a concert for three hours with a painfully full bladder is not the most pleasant experience, which means that I often feel quite anxious about the bathroom situation, which in turn tends to mean that I need to go more urgently.

In conclusion, don't assume that all men can pee standing up. Some, like me, can't manage due to a combination of anxiety and lack of skill, others may have medical or anatomical complications, and yet others are simply too shy to whip it out in front of others. Unisex toilets reduce this problem a great deal.

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