Guest essay: SS bathrooms not that hard to do

By Prof. John Banzhaf

 As more states pass laws requiring transgender students to use school restrooms based upon their anatomy, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed a simple solution to their needs: gender-neutral bathrooms, something I helped establish at George Washington University, where I am a  public interest law professor.

George Washington University Prof. John Banzhaf

Asked on CNN by a M2F [male to female] transgender student, “Do you really think that the girls in my high school would feel comfortable sharing a restroom with me?” — to which the obvious answer is a resounding “no” — Youngkin replied that “We need gender-neutral bathrooms and so people can use the bathroom that they, in fact, are comfortable with.”

Although the student didn’t explain it, girls are likely to feel very uncomfortable for at least two separate reasons. One is the invasion of their sexual privacy by any student with a penis in their restroom, regardless of stated sexual identity or preference.

The other is that a girl who finds herself alone and half undressed in an isolated restroom with an anatomical male, even one in female clothing, may reasonably fear some kind of sexual assault or even rape; especially since several such crimes have already been known to occur.

So simply adding one or two individual-user (“single-seater” [SS] like airplane lavatories) gender-neutral restrooms to schools which do not already have them should not be difficult or expensive, although such rooms would require the installation of pipes to bring in water and then remove waste.

Since, according to the CDC, fewer than 1.5% of students 13-17 identify as transgender, having enough SS restrooms in a typical school — for no more than 15 students even in a large school of 1,000 — should not be difficult or unreasonably expensive. 

Some LGBTQ advocates argue that transgender students should not be restricted to only one or two SS restrooms, but rather should have access to the same number as any typical boy or girl at the school would have.

But this argument doesn’t recognize that eliminating discrimination does not always require completely equal access. For example, students who use wheelchairs cannot expect, much less require, that every entrance to a school or other building have a ramp installed so they can use it to enter.

Rather, the ADA and other statutes require only a “reasonable accommodation” or a “reasonable modification”; i.e., only ramps at a few entrances so that these few students are not unreasonably inconvenienced, and not a wheelchair-accessible ramp at every entrance.

If it is too difficult or expensive to add one or two SS lavatories to a school, another answer — which provides even more alternatives to transgender students — is to simply change the sign outside a typical multi-user men’s rooms to read “All-Gender.” 

Just as you find on airlines, trains and long-distant buses. 

5 thoughts on “Guest essay: SS bathrooms not that hard to do”

  1. This is a totally logical solution. I would not feel comfortable in a bathroom shared with a person having a penis. What is the problem? As for all of this disproportionate media attention on transgender issues which constitute so few persons, enough already. With respect to gender/sexual preference issues, I am a complete libertarian. Whatever floats your boat if it doesn’t hurt or endanger others. This focus on them by both political parties is really too much and it takes away from far more pressing issues.

    1. I am inside the media, and I am astounded by the media attention that is commanded by 0.07 of the population. I think they are the newest victims’ class. MSM loves victims. It’s like catnip.
      Do they face problems and discrimination? Yes. But what bathroom to use and what team to play for should be among the least of them.

  2. Well, consider all the far rightwingnuts like DeSanctimonius, MTG, Boebert, etc.. and their ad hominem attacks on the LGBTQ community ( instead of, you know, actually governing). Boebert goes as far as calling Democrats “groomers” & “pedos”.
    At least Trump once said that if Caitlin Jenner visits Mar-a-lago, she can use any bathroom she wants.

  3. This seems sensible to me. After all, the bathroom in everybody’s homes are “unisex.” In college, by design, I lived in co-ed by room dormitories. Because they were built in an earlier age, they tended to only have one bathroom on the floor for about a dozen people.The way this was handled was simple: we took a paper plate and divided it into pie-slices, with a cut-out paper pointer thumb-tacked to the middle. On entering the vacant bathroom one would set one’s choice: “Female — care” “Female — don’t care” “Male — care” and “Male — don’t care.” On leaving, one set the pointer to “vacant.” (Nowadays, I guess, one would have to add another few pie slices to reflect additional choices.) There was no instance that I ever heard of, of anyone violating people’s preferences. Of course, the folks in these dormitories were self-selected. Students also had a choice of single-sex dormitories and coed by floor, instead of by room. The shy, the fearful, and those who simply preferred a more frat/sorority-type atmosphere had other choices.

  4. Our society is slipping inexorably into insanity. Pissing away our intellectual pelf on such drivel would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

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