Thursday, March 30, 2006

Integrate the Toilets, End Sexist Apartheid

The last bastian of blatant sexism (besides "singles" web sites) is in the toilet.

Did I just make a joke? No, regrettably not. Jim Crow still lives in bathroom.

Did I just make another joke? No, nothing is funny. Ever. Not when womyn are herded into the public extermination rooms instead of being permitted to use the men's rooms.

As a feminist, I am deeply offended by this bigotry. Are we not good enough to relieve ourselves where we choose? Oh, no, not at all. Womyn are not even permitted to look inside men’s rooms. The shrine of manhood, the urinal, must be protected from femyle eyes!

This is something that disturbed me from when I was a young child. I remember, standing outside the womyn’s room, weeping for the womyn who were not allowed into the adjacent Male Room of Hate. How I despised this abuse of womyn! And as I grew older, I felt guilty about how privilege was mine because of my genitalia (and because I was nominally white). I wondered why the Civil Rights Act did not abolish restroom apartheid. I wondered where the protestors were. They were silenced by the Christianists, that's where!

But things might be changing.

Following the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission hearing to add transgender identity to the city’s anti-discrimination code, a small protest took place on 13th Avenue to pressure the surrounding businesses to convert their male and female bathroom facilities to unisex.

This is nothing short of a grass-roots revolution! Freedom to womyn! And, just as important, freedom to the transgendered to decide for themselves which bathroom to use! Currently, in Eugene, "anyone has the right to confront a transgender person who looks to be walking into a bathroom of the opposite sex."

But read what the Nelson Mandela of the toilet movement has to say:

Shanti employee Rebecca Palak thinks it is “totally discriminatory” to be able to stop someone who does not look like they belong in a particular bathroom.

But until the day of equality is universal, there are steps that we, as a society, and as a community, and as a eco-habitat, can take:

1) Remove all urinals from men’s rooms so that the lines will be as long as those at womyn’s rooms. If that doesn't work, remove all stalls except for one. If that fails, remove all plumbing and let the male pigs defecate on the floor. And if that fails, close men's rooms entirely and let them fend for themselves.

2) Convert men’s rooms to facilities for womyn, the transgendered, the alternative gendered, and the ambiguously gendered.

3) Raise taxes; that always works.

Here on campus, we actually do have a few unisex bathrooms. I seek them out, and occasionally hold seminars in them. (We pull out the modular stalls and sit on the toilets. I teach while sitting in a urinal.) In other cultures, the bathroom without stalls is normal. Perhaps, one day, we too will have no stalls, no gender differentiation, and no inequality at all.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you shy away from making the obvious point--gendercide will never really cease until all men's rooms are converted to womyn's centers where we can participate in workshops that illustrate the evils of the patriarchy.

Anonymous said...

I have the perfect solution for can convert all the co-ed classrooms with the "Self composting Eco-Desk". This way everybody will be co-equals in the classroom and restroom. Just think...the lectures being taught can be instantly recycled for the next class in a very environmentally friendly way, plus you'll be promoting transgenderism for the masses. Not only that, but this would monitor all those suspected conservative students who cheat on exams when they pretend they "have to go to the restroom" when in reality they were going to check their cribnotes in the privacy of a toilet stall. Of course, you would need to raise taxes or tuition to cover the costs of these new Eco-Desks, plus the gallons of patchouli you'll need to freshen the classrooms for a pleasant, yet earthy smell condusive to a quality education. I see no problem with that and I know progressives everywhere could agree on this let's raise taxes or tuition...or even better yet....BOTH!

Anonymous said...

When I was in the Philippines everyone used a ditch. Made for many a sociable morning. Also, while in France, no one thought twice about such bourgeois things as separate restrooms. Amerika. You still have separate restrooms there? Why do I find that so easy to believe?

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