Gender-neutral has become a hot political topic and bathrooms are becoming a focal point for campaigns on both sides of the debate. For some, anybody who identifies themselves as a woman should be allowed to use the female bathroom. For others, nobody with a penis has any right being in a female bathroom, regardless of whether they identify themselves as female or not.

As self-identification becomes law, to be classed as the opposite sex a person needs to do nothing but identify themselves that way. In Canada, the C-16 bill makes it illegal to discriminate based on gender, and gender is entirely decided by individuals.

Therefore if a person is born "assigned" male, but states they feel like a woman, they are legally entitled to use female only facilities, a vice versa. These laws are being called for across the world.

Urinals in the ladies room

On July 19th, Facebook user RositaAngulo Libre de Marulanda posted a video from a New York High School.

In the video she enters the bathroom and shows that whilst there are the sinks and toilet stalls commonly found in the female bathroom, there have also been installed two urinals opposite the end stall. She observes that in order to use the last stall you have to enter the area where the urinals are, and when you use the last stall it opens directly onto the urinals offering the user no choice but to be exposed to the people urinating.

She describes how to her it feels like an invasion of privacy, and a crime waiting to happen, as indecent exposure cannot be avoided due to lack of shielding around the urinals. Any woman using the bathrooms at the same time as a Trans person will be exposed to the trans woman's penis, whether they are comfortable with it or not.

Outraged reactions

Since posting the video to Facebook it has had 3.1k views and there have been reactions that share RositaAngulo Libre de Marulanda's outrage.

The concerns about exposure to genitals is a focus for women.

Whilst using cubicles ensured privacy both for the trans woman and the women, putting urinals offers no choice but exposure.

Separate toilet facilities for women became a legal requirement in the 19th Century. Until then it was found that women were not comfortable entering the workplace due to exposure to men and the dangers of indecent exposure, abuse and rape. Women were granted private bathrooms due to the vulnerable position they are put in when using the toilet.

The concerns are that if women have no choice but to share their safe spaces then again they will choose not to be put in that position for safety, and will be excluded from work and education as they were prior to the initial sex segregation laws.

Prioritising the installation of urinals over providing text book and school supplies is very controversial. When there is nothing preventing any person urinating in a toilet stall, toilets can be used by both males and females, why was installing urinals deemed necessary?

Pro gender-neutral bathrooms

Whilst there are a lot of people concerned about trans women being allowed into the female bathrooms, there are also calls for completely gender neutral facilities, ensuring that anybody, regardless of their body or gender, is able to use whichever bathroom they personally feel more comfortable in.

Feeling uncomfortable using the bathroom is a big concern for members of the trans community. Just as women are stating concern at feeling uncomfortable about being exposed to male bodies when trans women use the female bathrooms urinals, trans women also don't wish to feel that discomfort.

Users of gender-neutral facilities point out that nothing negative happens to them. If being safe is the concern, then being gender neutral should not take that away.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are happening

Regardless of how you feel about the notion of gender neutral bathrooms, female bathrooms having urinals, or gender identity, gender neutral facilities and self-identification laws are happening. It has recently been announced that all schools in Scotland are to have gender neutral facilities, and the rest of the UK and USA are anticipated to follow. Some are fighting against these changes, others are celebrating them, but it is an increasingly hot topic regardless of your politics.