Are Public Bathrooms Really ‘Accommodating’? : A Summary of Emily Bazelon’s Article

  In Emily Bazelon’s article “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating”, she argues that public bathrooms should be more “accommodating” to fit the needs of all groups of people, and not just the socially constructed genders, male and female. She begins by giving insight on the struggles that transgender people have when they have to which restroom to enter. It is difficult for them because their only options are “Men” and “Women.” Bazelon states that if they enter and the people inside “think [they’ve] confused male and female and walked through the wrong door, [they] risk discomfort, or even real trouble.” She argues that this is because the gender categories which determine who can enter the restrooms are “fixed.” According to Bazelon, the idea of “mixing male and female anatomy in [multi-stall] bathrooms and locker rooms” is a touchy subject for a lot of people. In Houston,  a law that “protected against discrimination in housing and employment, [due to] race, age ,sexual orientation and gender identity” was voted against and given the nickname, the “bathroom ordinance”. The “opponents” of the law even made shirts with images of a man threatening a girl in the bathroom, in order to discourage people from supporting the law, by “playing on voters’ fears.” To take her argument a step further, Bazelon provides a story of a transgender teenager, male to female, at a high school in Illinois, who was not allowed to change in the girls’ locker room because of privacy concerns”. Instead, she was sent down the hall to a separate room. Her parents brought a “civil rights complaint”, which resulted in the Department...

Reading Summary 4

Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’ The world is slowly changing around us and all most of us can do is watch it unfold. There are many groups that are fighting for their rights so that they can be respected. Transgender is a group that comes to mind as more people are just now understanding more about this type of sexuality. However, there is still some issues that need to be worked out and one of the main issue is their use of public restrooms. In Emily Bazelon’s article, ‘Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’’, she discusses the struggles that many transgenders have when it comes to using a public restroom and how we can make it better for them. Bazelon starts off the article as an illustration of the struggles of the public restrooms we have now. There is a restroom that says MEN and one that says WOMEN. When it comes to the wait, it seems that many men have no issue to quickly use the restroom and then come right back out. Meanwhile, women sometimes have to wait in line because of the amount of time it take women to use the restroom. She claims that both restrooms have a slightly different environment as like females who like to chat with their other girlfriends. However, “…some of them are disturbed by what they see as an incursion by male anatomy” (Bazelon) some women can only see transgender women as men. When a man or woman go into the opposite restroom is perceived as a mistake and becomes very discomforting to the people in that particular restroom. This is when Bazelon...

Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’

(http://www.mydoorsign.com/)   ‘Accommodate’ can have a compulsory aspect — it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.   Emily Bazelon‘s “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating‘” is an article that articulates and brings to question the basis of the Public Restroom System we have in place in America. Bazelon informs us that “Transgender people, most prominently, are asking society to rethink all of this, from signs to design to who gets to enter where.” In the 19th century states began to require sex-segregated restrooms on a discriminatory premise, much like racial segregation, yet we still implicate this irrational division as a social norm in today’s society. Bazelon goes on to say similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act, there should be a small alteration to the original design to accommodate for all individuals. “For people with disabilities, reasonable accommodation is about a bar next to the toilet and a button that opens the door. For transgender kids, it’s showering near your peers in your own stall, and then maybe getting dressed behind a privacy curtain.” Bazelon emphasizes.   (http://www.rawstory.com) Bazelon Mentions an incident involving a  “transgender high-school student that identifies as a female was undergoing hormone therapy and asked to change in the girls’ locker room.” located in the suburban Illinois. The school district refused the teen her rights stating that, “Privacy concerns required sending her to a separate room down the hall.” This resulted in a civil rights complaint from the teen’s family soon ending with an intervention from the United State Department of Education asking the district to “give her the...

Reading Summary #3- Making Bathrooms More Accommodating

Making Bathrooms More Accommodating, is an article written by Emily Bazelon. This article was published by The New York Times Magazine in November 2015. With all the new changes in our society, given the LGBT community, the openness of transgender people and the transitioning phase, this article seems to have come right on time. In the article. Bazelon talks about the up in the air discussion about the gender specific bathroom and shower/locker room laws which arises the three questions that transgenders would want to be addressed. Those questions range from the topic of signage(what do we about it/ do we get rid of female/male restrooms, architectural design-creating multistalls of said bathrooms and most importantly who gets access where (should a person who identifies as male enter into a female restroom or vice versa). Going to the restroom in public is something that we all find ourselves having to do, but one thing we all have in common is the sense of feeling comfortable when entering into a bathroom and shower/locker room. Which is why this article brings up an important discussion as to how we plan on accommodating transgender people, whether we want to or not. See one thing about this is, as society changes, we tend to want to make everyone feel comfortable, welcomed and most importantly equal, but as we create new laws to form equality, there are other things that must be in line for that to take place. For example: we establish that any said transgender person should be acknowledged as the preferred gender of their choice, but if we acknowledge a male as...

Reading Summary Three

Making Bathrooms more ‘Accommodating’ by Emily Bazelon If you sat down and thought about the number of visual markers within society that draw our attention to sex difference you would be amazed. Signs that say MEN and WOMEN on bathroom doors are prominent examples of those visual markers. Bathrooms are supposed to be spaces of vulnerability and free for all to utilize in public places, but they require certain terms to enter. Something as simple as going to the bathroom may not be as simple for a person that identifies as transgender or disagrees with their assigned gender they were given at birth. In Emily Bazelon’s article Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’, the author addresses the issue associated with men and woman designated bathrooms and proposes that society should create non-discriminatory bathroom or locker room spaces for everyone to use. In Bazelon’s first paragraph she introduces the arguments of people that oppose the idea of “accommodating” men, women, and transgender people. For example in Houston voters rejected an ordinance that was nicknamed the “bathroom ordinance” that would have been used to protect against discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, etc… Through the use of T-shirts that read “No men in Women’s Bathrooms” and TV commercials that portrayed a man threatening a woman in a bathroom, voter’s fears were invoked and they rejected the plan. Bazelon also gives examples of the progression towards accommodation that has recently been seen within the school system. Several school districts across the country have agreed to use the preferred gender pronouns and names of transgender students, but when it comes to bathrooms and locker room...
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