Gender Neutral Bathrooms at Champs

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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I appreciate your comment, and I can see where my explanation fell short, my point was that gender neutral bathrooms are created with intention to help those who do not feel comfortable or welcome in segregated bathrooms. My intention was to point out that they are there for a reason, and that reason is to help people feel safe. By not using them as the intended purpose we are not honoring that there are there to make others feel safe. Apologies on my poor wording.

My point is that you can’t possibly evaluate that this is what is happening.

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I am not trying to argue here, I am seeking to understand. I am trying to explain an issue that I saw at Worlds which was a lack of respect to use gender neutral bathrooms as they are intended. I can understand that they were being used incorrectly based off past experiences of mine. My goal here is to point out an issue that may negatively affect others and possibly bring it to the attention of others who could do something about it. From you comment tho, it seems you are stating that nothing should be done about it.

The issue that I see is that two genders were self segregating the GN bathroom, this is a problem because if it is self segregated then someone who didn’t want to segregate is now forced to. No matter your gender, if you are going to use a GN bathroom you should commit to keeping it GN by using the next available toilet regardless of the which room it is in. Self segregating does not keep it anonymous.

I think most people aren’t clear on the behavior that you think is wrong. That’s why I asked you to clarify earlier. By reading the quoted part above it looks like you believe people were waiting until only other same-gendered people were entering the bathroom/stall? Thereby turning the bathroom into “men” for a couple minutes, and then “women” for a couple minutes? Rather than using it ad-hoc and allowing genders to mix within? I would agree that this might make a non binary person uncomfortable about timing exactly when they should enter. Though on the other hand I’m not sure it is right to ask someone to enter the bathroom when they are not comfortable doing so. In the later case . . . I would think them using the gendered bathroom is probably the way to go.

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Sorry if my original post was not clear, there were two lines that were well past the entrance of the bathroom. The lines were so long that had I wanted to use the bathroom I would have to pick a line to stand in and the lines were obviously split into the genders of the original bathrooms. Had I come to use the bathroom with the intention of not giving away my gender I couldn’t because the lines were so long that I would have to make an obvious choice on which one to stand in to wait, just like picking which restroom to use. Thus defeating the purpose of the GN bathroom.

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Just pick the line that is shorter?

I mean, the lines were way past the front of the door. I was not inside the restroom watching people if that is what you think. The lines were very long, and they were split into two distinct genders based off appearances. People who looked like men stood in one very long line, people who looked like women stood in the other long line. By self regulating into these very long lines I could easily conclude which bathroom was which. If I wanted to use the bathroom I would have to pick a line to stand in and wait in to use the bathroom. By picking a line, I was picking which bathroom to use which defeated the purpose of the GN bathrooms.

Yes, exactly, that’s what you should do at a GN bathroom. I wasn’t using the bathroom at this time, I was passing by it. However, how the lines were set up, I would not be comfortable using the bathroom if I were trying to keep my gender ambiguous.

I think one of the main problems was that while there was a sign on each door that said “Gender Neutral”, the men and women signs were still quite visible next to the bathroom doors. As a cis man, if I see that, it also tells me which restroom has urinals in it.

I did actively consider at one point choosing the other gender-neutral restroom as a way to try to break the social norm that developed of cis people choosing whichever restroom the other people who presented as their gender were choosing, but thought about the lack of urinals and the social awkwardness that I could avoid (only because of cis privilege), and chose the restroom with urinals instead.

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This is incredibly stupid of me, but honestly over the internet, that instruction never occured to me. Having never seen 2 gender neutral bathrooms next to each other with lines, I hope that approach would’ve been intuitive in person, but I’d been reading your posts trying to figure out the correct behavior. D’oh. Large, clear, well-made, and well-installed signage to the effect of “Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: if using, please support comfort for all by selecting the shortest line. Gendered bathrooms are over there if you prefer” would be very helpful.

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I’m a cis white male, I used the Gender Neutral bathroom a single time, and only to wash my hands. As I walked up to the GN bathrooms, the bathroom on the left (the reassigned male bathroom) had the door leading in shut which to my tired brain indicated that it was closed, so I choose the bathroom on the right (the reassigned female bathroom) which had an open door and line coming out. I cut ahead of everyone since I was only washing my hands, it wasn’t until I was lathering up with soap that I noticed that despite the bathroom being labeled as GN, I was the only male presenting person there who had walked past a line of female presenting folks to wash my hands.

As I walked out out a saw a few male presenting people coming in and out of the the other bathroom opening and closing the door. It finally clicked to me that everyone had seemingly self sorted regardless of what the lackluster signage said.

All of this is to say, I hope I didn’t make anyone uncomfortable with my presence, and I agree with Mr Noble that we deserve venues with true GN bathrooms, not half hearted attempts.

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These restrooms were marked as gender neutral in the FIRST Championship app, so it was an effort by FIRST/the event planners to ensure a gender neutral restroom.

I agree that the root of the problem is the building layout.
I disagree with the scope required to correct it. Multi-person gender neutral restrooms aren’t just signage updates. They also require stall and facility updates (particularly to the formerly-male bathroom), preferably with full-height partitions. Of the handful of convention-centers or other large public venues I’ve visited, I’ve only seen one that had a multi-person gender neutral restroom (the Philadelphia Convention Center, and it was far away from the show floor). A couple others have had single-occupancy restrooms that could be more easily converted into gender neutral facilities. As far as I was able to see, I don’t believe GRB had single-occupancy restrooms anywhere near our events.

This isn’t an excuse to say that GRB shouldn’t update their bathroom facilities due to the scope required, only that it’s not an simple or immediate fix to create such an implementation.

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I created a new thread for this topic as it was derailing the Did you face sexism, racism or homophobia at an FRC event this year? SHARE YOUR STORY! thread.

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I think an important thing to note is that on the main floor there were a couple of sets of restrooms that had “men” and “women” signs on them. And in the middle or right outside of the entrances there were gender neutral signs. This may have caused some confusion.

Another thing to note is the fact that, especially for men in today’s day and age, if a person presenting as male were to walk in to the gender neutral restroom that also happened to have a “womens” sign on it, said person I can almost assure you would have received strange looks or glares. There may even have been comments on it. This makes it feel as if a cisgender person had one option where there would be no issues and another that may potentially have some sort of issues mentioned previously.

With that being said, a good example of a gender neutral restroom was at MSC. There was one out in one of the less busy hallways, it was in a locker room type deal. The thing that made it a “successful” GN restroom was the fact that there was only one restroom in the area. Giving everybody wishing to use this restroom no chance to “self segregate”. Due to this there was no problems.

Now, I don’t know the full solution to the problem of GN restrooms being segregated in Houston but I think a good start would be to cover up the “men” and “women” signs if we want them to be more gender neutral.

Just my two cents, let me know if there are any flaws in my logic or if you have any thoughts :slight_smile:

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