OUR Restroom Dreams of Gender-Neutral Single-Stall Bathrooms

Hello you lovely, brilliant, badasses, you!

I am not sure if we’ve met yet, but my name is Kristin. I run Everyone Is Gay, and I also was one of the co-directors of this year’s A-Camp! I have the fanny pack to prove it.

I recently teamed up with Allison Weiss (you may know Allison from her abilities to write inexplicably accurate songs about your recent heartbreak despite having never met you) to launch a fundraising campaign for OUR Restroom, AND I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT.


What Is OUR Restroom?

I am so damn glad you asked. OUR Restroom is an initiative that will allow humans from across the globe to reach out and tell us about businesses in their area who have single-stall, gendered restrooms. Let’s say you go to a new, awesome diner in your town, and you notice, “Shit! They have single-stall restrooms but still have them marked ‘Men’s’ and ‘Women’s’!” Well, after you finish your fries, you’d jump on your computer, and head over to OURrestroom.com!

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Next, you’d fill out that business’ information to add it to our database.

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Then, once you click “Add This Business,” we will send your favorite diner (The Peach Pit, obviously) a postcard, an email, and a social media nudge to let them know that some of their patrons have reached out to us and would love to have those gender markers removed from the bathrooms.

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We will explain to them that transgender and gender nonconforming people can be made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe by having to chose between a men’s room and a women’s room, and further explain the other awesome benefits that come from removing those gender signs.

Most businesses simply don’t have the information they need to understand how easy it is to make all of their customers feel safe and happy, and OUR Restroom is going to bridge that gap.

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What Can You Do?

Oh my goodness, please donate if you can!

We are raising funds to both launch the site itself, as well as to fund the first year’s worth of postcards, mailings, and other informative materials needed to make this a success. You can read all about the breakdown of funding needed on our campaign page, and also learn more about the project itself!

In exchange for helping us make this a reality, we also have some pretty awesome rewards, some of which include: a digital compilation of music from artists like Mal Blum, Allison Weiss, Vivek Shraya, and Jenny Owen Youngs (it’s called The Restroom Sessions, and will be made up of acoustic covers recorded from the artists’ bathrooms, nbd), a t-shirt featuring Lil Zee (the best nonbinary mascot of all time), or even dinner with myself and Allison Weiss!

You can also help us SPREAD THE WORD!!!! The power behind social media is not to be underestimated, and the more of you who are able to share the campaign with your friends, the closer we will get to getting rid of gendered, single-stall restrooms once and for all.

Lastly, if you don’t watch Lil Zee in action in our campaign video, I don’t really know how we can ever be friends.

Thank you for reading this, and please come on over to OURrestroom.com to learn more & support!

Kristin is the co-director of A-Camp, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Everyone Is Gay & My Kid Is Gay, author of This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids, and co-host of Buffering the Vampire Slayer, a podcast about (you guessed it!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Kristin has written 60 articles for us.

41 Comments

  1. Sounds cool! Unfortunately, some states (eg MI) have laws requiring buildings to have a certain number of gendered bathrooms and this can’t address that, but hopefully will prompt people to be more thoughtful.

    • Ooooooh but this totally CAN address that, because another part of the work that I would like to accomplish, apart from notifying individual businesses, is actually working with representatives to put laws in place like the ones currently happening in Seattle, Philly, and NYC (which require / will require single stall restrooms to be unisex!)!!

  2. No trans women no support. Sorry, great idea, but this reeks of white cis feminism, without really keeping the needs of trans women, specially trans women of color in mind.

    Will you be sending these in english or will other languages be included?

    • That’s a good question, I’m wondering if say a place that is predominantly owned by non-English speakers if they will get it also in their native language(s). Los Angeles/SoCal is a good example if this with its diverse business neighborhoods.

      • GREAT QUESTION.

        As with the work that I do on Everyone Is Gay and The Parents Project, we will absolutely be working with people who can translate the postcards and the emails sent out, as those requests come through!

        I am working with Spanish, German, and French translators at the moment, and would absolutely work to find additional people to help with translations as needed.

        Thank you <3

        • If I may speak from some experience, I would suggest getting Persian, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean speakers. L.A. has big Korean, Chinese, and Persian(I chose the language here cause some Armenians know how to speak it and it’s also the langue spoken in Afghanistan), and I know I would be put a few places in LA on the site.

          • Absolutely, and noted on all counts! These are the kinds of conversations that will help shape the first-year goals of OUR Restroom, and I am very thankful for them!

    • Hi hi!

      This campaign is specific to single-stall restrooms, not shared spaces, but we are all ears to hear more of your feedback.

      We’ve spoken to many people (trans and nonbinary people especially) in the initial stages of the project, and are very aware of the need for women’s spaces (and for those women’s spaces to be inclusive of trans women)! However, this effort is focused on removing gender from single-stall restrooms, allowing gender nonconforming and nonbinary patrons of those establishments to use them with increased comfort and safety.

      I am going to answer the language question in response to Al, just so I am sure you will both see it.

      Thanks!

      • I’m a trans woman, and I don’t understand the objection either. As I said above, the law that just passed in New York City requiring exactly this was supported by all trans people and organizations so far as I know.

    • How does a requirement of gender-neutral single-stall restrooms not keep in mind the needs of trans women, or specifically of trans women of color? Please explain, because I honestly don’t see how it’s objectionable. The New York City law that just passed, mandating the same requirement, was passed with the uniform support of every single trans organization I know of.

    • I’m very happy that the language question will be addressed! I think maybe the objection in this comment stems from the design, which I agree, seems to be coded for a white transmasculine person (a few years ago, ‘Ze’ was a popular pronoun among transmasc ppl especially), although some of that is probably not the designers’ fault (a “unisex” stick figure being identical to the “man” stick figure in popular consciousness)

  3. I find it rather odd that this article doesn’t point out that gender-neutral single-stall restrooms just became a legal requirement in New York City (and businesses must comply with it no later than next January 1), and are apparently required in a number of other cities as well:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-york-city-adopts-gender-neutral-bathrooms/

    NEW YORK — Single-occupant restrooms at restaurants, bars and other public places in New York City will all be gender-neutral under a new law signed Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    The bill, which requires that “men” and “women” signs on single-stall restrooms be replaced with ones indicating they are unisex, is “yet another step toward becoming a place where all can live with dignity, free from fear and free from judgment,” the mayor said.

    The legislation was designed with transgender people in mind, though it could also benefit the women who get stuck in long lines while the men’s room is empty and parents tending to children of the opposite sex.

    Similar legislation has been adopted in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.

    The New York bill passed the City Council on a 47-2 vote last week and has met with little opposition.

    See also http://ny.curbed.com/2016/6/23/12008680/city-council-approves-plan-to-make-all-nyc-single-restrooms-gender-neutral

    So I very much hope that nobody associated with this campaign wastes their time, energy, or money on New York City or any of the other cities mentioned.

    • Hi Donna!

      I actually just moved from NYC to LA this past January and am SO F*CKING EXCITED about the laws that were just passed in my city!!

      The campaign page does talk about the fact that in a handful of cities in this country (the press release also quotes a NYC representative, but I didn’t add it in to this article!). These laws are effectively helping to take gender off of single-stall restrooms — and I can promise you that we would never start an initiative like this one without being informed of them.

      Apart from alerting individual businesses (which are user-submitted, so they would always be reported in cities that allowed gendered, single-stall restrooms), a big goal that I have with this project is to work with representatives in the many cities without these laws to see similar thing happen across the country (and beyond)!

      <3

    • Out here in LA West Hollywood and parts of Long Beach also passed similar ordinances, but weirdly some places, like a certain gay bar(chain) in Long Beach has one bathroom for men, and the other marked as all gender.

    • I was one of the Philly community leaders working on this & some earlier bills.

      We passed this by a veto proof margin also in 2013. One of the important points worth making is that these facilities don’t just serve Trans people who feel unsafe in gendered rest rooms. Just as curb cuts were first conceived of as accommodations for those with mobility differences & it was quickly learned that they also helped people with baby strollers, delivery people with hand trucks or people with their hands full – these facilities assist families where someone needs assistance, people who have medical issues that require privacy to address, address the facility resource imbalance between men & women and equalize line wait times – and others.

      It’s something nice we trans people get to contribute to everyone.

  4. uhh, i dunno if this is the best place to point this out, but…i am an Alaskan, and i saw you guys had state-specific resources on the everyoneisgay site. i was interested in bentalaska, but the link provided takes me to some kind of…porn review blog? i think maybe you were meaning to link to here – http://bentalaska.blogspot.com/ – although it seems that there’s been no updates since 2011… ^^’ apparently the facebook group is more active.

  5. You know, you could just wear a sign around your neck that says “I don’t give a shit about other people” and save the rest of us the bother of having to read your tedious whining.

  6. Hey Kristin (and Allison)! I think it’s so awesome that you guys are launching this initiative 🙂 this is such an important issue which I think so many people don’t know about or don’t care about. I was wondering, would you be willing/ able to let people add businesses in other countries (like Australia)?

  7. This is a really cool project! I’ll donate as soon as I get my next check 🙂

    In the meanwhile, are you looking for contributors for your codebase? I just found the project on Github and though I’m fairly new to js, I may be able to lend a hand.

  8. Yes!!!! Just contributed to the indigogo campaign. I have logistical question about getting the “goods”. Best to ask here or via email elsewhere?

  9. I’ve always thought that single-stall gendered restrooms are ridiculous and unnecessary. I’m so glad that someone is doing something to make public spaces more accessible to trans/non binary folks.

  10. This is a great idea, thanks! I’m in Philly where the single stall bathrooms should already be unisex, but I often see that they aren’t. Hopefully the messages you send to them will be tailored to indicate that they aren’t in compliance with the new law (and could get fined?).

    Donating now.

    • Oh HELL yes! This is absolutely something we will do!! The best part so far about the project is how much I am learning about the ins-and-outs of the laws, and the nuances (like this one!!) that exist in different locations.

      THANK YOU!

  11. @kristinnoeline (not sure if that works) Had another thought just now. Is the OurRestroom campaign addressing other types of gender specific language found in bathrooms? For example, bathroom signs that say “Ladies, please do not flush feminine products down the toilet”. Signs like this could easily be changed to “Please do not flush menstrual products down the toilet” or “Please do not flush pads, tampons, etc.” or things like that instead.

    Lots of people who aren’t female or a woman or a lady menstruate and signs like these can be very alienating even in unisex restrooms.

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