Gender Neutral Bathrooms at Champs

Remark made by an official when I asked where the bathrooms were, that was to the effect of “the bathrooms for females are to the left”
A team that seemed more interested in misgendering people while scouting than actually doing any scouting, (Despite wearing pronoun pins/correcting them) you could tell it was deliberate and many others had similar experiences with them being hostile.
Did hear secondhand about a team’s safety captain harassing/bothering/being creepy towards a friend on another team.

But otherwise, my experience at events has been very positive and welcoming.

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Actually I do have something to share, it really bothered me at the World’s Competition there were some restrooms marked as gender neutral, but there were two lines of cisgender men and women using them as the segregated men and women restrooms. This infuriates me because there were segregated bathrooms at Worlds in addition to the gender neutral ones. If you are a cisgender person and you are using the gender neutral bathroom as a normal segregated one, stop it. You are taking up a resource that was not meant for you and violating a safe space.

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First, I do mostly agree with your statements below, but I do want to ask, did you ask every single person in those lines if they were cisgender?

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I’m extremely confused by this logic. Can you please elaborate on why you feel this is inappropriate?

There were not really that many convenient bathrooms for anyone. You don’t know how people in those lines identify by looking at them. Additionally, gender neutral bathrooms are meant to be just that, gender neutral, and should be a safe space for everyone. I personally chose not to use the gender neutral bathroom because I potentially could have made someone feel uncomfortable as a cis male using it, but your logic that a safe space can’t be shared is confusing. Wouldn’t it have been more beneficial for others if they saw me in line for the gender neutral bathroom so that I would have normalized it’s use for others? That would have helped not segregate them, right?

The heart of the problem was in my opinion bathroom availability in general.

Please elaborate if you can, I’d appreciate a better understanding of your perspective.

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Gender neutral washrooms are not intended to be washrooms for exclusively trans people. The intent is to provide a washroom where people who would prefer not to self declare their gender within the binary when using the toilet can do so. This includes many cis people too.

I can understand why you felt upset by the people (who presumably may have been cis or trans) self segregating by perceived gender into the different bathrooms as this defeats the intent of the washroom in the first place.

It’s important to remember that anyone cis or trans can rightfully use any washroom they please (*in north America at least) and all washrooms should be a safe space for all people.

Personally I know a number of cis people who occasionally receive criticism when using the washroom of their assigned gender at birth as they do not perfectly fit within the bounds of their gender. Ironically as a transgender woman I’ve never had an issue using the women’s washroom as I am gender conforming and am often seen as cis gender.

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So a few things, what you define as convenient and what I define as convenient is going to differ, so let’s just talk about the facts, there were both gender neutral bathrooms, and segregated bathrooms at the World competition. I found segregated bathrooms about a 10 second walk away from the GN bathrooms with no lines, the only difference being that the segregated bathrooms where further from the entrance. Had these people continued walking, they would have found a segregated bathroom.

You are right, I do not know how those people identify themselves, so from now on I will use female/male presenting persons. However, please do not let this detract from the point that a group of people were taking advantage of a resource that was not meant for them. If it was meant for them then they would be using it as it was intended.

I understand your point about GN bathrooms being safe for everyone, and in a perfect world they would. However, they are specifically there for trans and non binary people to feel safe while using the bathroom, and that needs to be respected and honored as the intended purpose. If non-cisgender people felt safe and comfortable in segregated restrooms then there wouldn’t be GN bathrooms in the first place.

To your point about using the GN bathroom, yes it would be beneficial if you were using it as intended. Especially if it is a multiple stall bathroom like the ones at Worlds, you using the GN bathroom as a GN would encourage others to use it as its intended purpose as well. However, if it is a single stall bathroom, or a one person bathroom that has been designated as GN and there are other segregated bathrooms available for you to use, use the other bathrooms and keep the single stall GN bathroom free for non-cis folks.

The overall issue here is that the GN bathroom was being used as a normally segregated bathroom, all male presenting persons went into the men’s room, and all the female presenting persons went into the women’s room. For it to be a truly GN bathroom all persons would have been using either bathroom and there would be a mix of genders in both. Had this been the case, I would have had no issue, but because they used it as a normal bathroom now a non binary person would have the same experience using it as they would in a segregated bathroom, which defeats the purpose of having a GN bathroom.

Be careful when you say bathroom availability, remember we were in a three story convention center with multiple bathrooms on each floor. From my personal experience I only saw one GN bathroom, and several segregated bathrooms. So there were several bathrooms that could be used, and in my experience when I saw this incident there was only a line at the GN bathrooms, the segregated bathrooms on the same floor, within a very short walking distance away had no line.

I’m going to let @Maddie_Q respond to this for me because after my initial reply to your posts, she is who I discussed with on this topic to make sure I’m not misunderstanding the purpose of gender neutral bathrooms.

I don’t know if further explanation from my perspective will help, but I hope the perspective of someone along the LGBTQ+ spectrum will.

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I appreciate your comment and clarification, and I do agree with your statement. My frustration is using the bathroom as it was not intended, not that cisgender people were using it. Apologies if that is how it came off.

Was this the actual layout? I can’t find the map now, but I believe the restrooms near Carver were labeled “GN” and “Women’s.” There was a “Men’s” bathroom in another location across the exhibit hall. I do not recall seeing any location where both “Men’s” and “Women’s” bathrooms were repurposed as gender neutral. Maybe this explains why people were lined up as they were?

The purpose of gender neutral bathrooms is how @Maddie_Q described them. When using a GN bathroom as a segregated bathroom instead of how it was intended then you are defeating the purpose of them. I apologize if I confused you on how they can be safe, they are intended to be a safe space for everyone, but should be used correctly to ensure they are safe space.

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My take on the gender neutral bathroom situation at Houston was pretty straightforward. The venue did NOT have any gender neutral bathrooms. ALL of the bathrooms at the venue had large and permanent markings that labeled them male and female. ONE SET of bathrooms, inconveniently right in the middle of the venue and directly across from each other (so very non discrete) had a small piece of paper tacked on over the permanent signage making them (for this event only) gender neutral. Because it was just a piece of office paper, I couldn’t honestly tell if this was an official effort on the part of FIRST, or an act by someone trying to create a space where none existed. I still dont know the answer to that. And of course over the time of the event the papers were torn down and replaced, making it even more unclear. The real root of the problem was twofold: one, the venue is waaayy behind the times, and need to do some renovations costing maybe a thousand dollars and one day of work. And two, if this was FIRST’s official solution, to make an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet printout, it was less than half-hearted and didn’t work. I don’t blame the cis folks for interpreting the signage as meaningless, and I don’t blame anyone who needed a non-gendered bathroom for feeling ignored, because frankly you were ignored.

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You do realize you are Texas? This whole thread is about how unaccommodating Texas it. The reasons for gender neutral bathrooms are far more varied than specifically for trans and non binary. :slight_smile:

I would doubt that they were marked on the map, but the bathrooms had signs posted on both sides that said “Gender Neutral”, you had to walk in a little into the bathroom hallway to see which gender the bathroom was supposed to be, but from the outside it was covered by the gender neutral sign. From my memory they were near the pits on the far back wall.

Nope. No it’s not.

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They were marked on a map - that was my only source of reference during the event - and not consistent with how they were apparently labelled at the door.

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This is a fair point, thank you for pointing it out. When I saw them the signs were up and untattered to my memory, which made them seem like they were done intentionally and made the assumption they were done by FIRST. I can appreciate your comment and will reflect on the situation in a different light.

My apologies, I misread your comment, yes to my memory they were both labeled gender neutral.

I did not ask everyone in line, and I should have said female/male presenting persons. My point was that people were not using the bathrooms as they were intended.

Could you elaborate on this? I honestly haven’t encountered many gender neutral bathrooms yet, and my assumption about their intent was different from what I think you are saying. Is it that cis presenting were using them that is unintended? Or where the people you are talking about using them in a way that you believe is not what they were intended for?

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I very much disagree with this premise, as a non-binary person. Using these bathrooms shouldn’t come at the cost of necessarily outing oneself as trans - and the only way that ambiguity is possible is if it’s a “no questions asked” bathroom for everyone, not a “you must be this trans to ride” bathroom.

You’re gendering people based on their appearance to decide if they are using the right bathroom or not. This is pretty much definitionally transphobia, and no different than other bathroom gender policing.

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