Friday, March 04, 2005

Neutral Restrooms

For those interested in gender politics and American social spaces, today's NYT has an interesting article on the problems faced by transgendered restroom users.

Ms. Dennis is one of 250 or so members of People in Search of Safe Restrooms, a group founded here three years ago. It reflects a small but active movement, mostly on college campuses but also in a few cities, in which the bathroom, that prosaic fixture of past battles against racial segregation and for the rights of the disabled, has become an emotional and at times deeply personal symbol of a cultural and political divide.

In fact, bathrooms have become a cultural "fault line," said Mary Anne Case, a law professor at the University of Chicago, where the Queer Action Campaign for Gender-Neutral Bathrooms recently got 10 single-use restrooms on campus designated gender neutral.

"Very few spaces in our society remain divided by sex," Professor Case said. "There's marriage and there's toilets, and very little else."

To young transgender people, especially college students, the issue has particular resonance.

No comments: