Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Same Old, Same Old With A Twist

We are used to being forced to use the wrong bathroom but what happens when you get kicked out of a single use bathroom?

Well it happened to a trans man out in Seattle, she was kicked out of a “family” bathroom.
Transgender Patron Denied Access to "Family" Bathroom at Seattle Public Library
The Stranger
By Rich Smith
June 9, 2017

In a very thorough Facebook post, a transgender man says two Central Library employees and one library security staffer denied him access to a "family" restroom on Monday, June 5.

According to Ryan Alley, one employee said he couldn't use that restroom because he didn't have a "family" with him, despite the fact that he says he's used the bathroom solo several times before. Alley then asked to speak to a supervisor, who allegedly affirmed the first employee's decision and added that the family bathroom wasn't available to transgender patrons. After asking to speak with someone else, Alley says, a security guard was called.

He includes video of his interaction with the security guard in the Facebook post. When the guard asks Alley to stop recording, Alley says he doesn't feel safe enough to stop recording. "Then you're not safe enough to use the bathroom," the guard replies.
The Seattle Public Library issued a statement,
Here's the statement from a spokesperson at SPL:
An adult patron recently requested use of the Family Restroom located inside the children’s area of the Central Library, which by Library Policy is for use by children with their caregivers.
The patron was not with a child and was offered private use of another public restroom on the same floor, but the patron declined.
The Library has been in contact with the patron and we are working to ensure accommodations are available when he visits the Library in the future.
The patron has contacted the Office of Civil Rights, which is looking into the matter.
In March 2017, the Library began the process of design and installation of a new gender neutral restroom for Level 3. Construction of the restroom is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Until that restroom is available for use, the Library will provide an option for transgender patrons requesting private use of a restroom.
The Library continues to be committed to providing a safe, welcoming space and experience for all patrons – children, teens and adults.
To clarify, this patron was not excluded from the Library for requesting use of the Family Restroom. Instead, the exclusion was based only on a failure to follow a staff member request.
Based on an administrative review of these circumstances that 3-day exclusion was immediately revoked and the patron has been welcome to use the Library.
But here is the kicker… The Seattle municipal “All-Gender Restroom Ordinance” says,
What does the ordinance do?This ordinance applies to single-occupant restrooms in public places in Seattle. This ordinance amends the Seattle Municipal Code to create all-gender single occupant restrooms. The measure applies to existing and newly-built City facilities, as well as public places in Seattle. It allows use of single occupant restrooms by any person, regardless of sex or gender identity, and prevents those restrooms from being restricted to a specific sex or gender identity. Restroom facilities without appropriate signage already in place will require new signs to be posted. The deadline for posting new signage is March 9, 2016.
So here we have a clear case of the staff not knowing or choosing to ignore the municipal ordinance. Was bias involved, we don’t know.

Listen to the gobbledygook the Seattle Public Library put out…
To clarify, this patron was not excluded from the Library for requesting use of the Family Restroom. Instead, the exclusion was based only on a failure to follow a staff member request.

Based on an administrative review of these circumstances that 3-day exclusion was immediately revoked and the patron has been welcome to use the Library.
So in other words, he was illegally denied access to the bathroom and when he protested the illegal order he was thrown out of the library for questioning the refusal of using the bathroom.

We are told to use the gender neutral bathrooms but in this instance even that was denied us.

But change maybe coming, we just need to look to Google in Boston for the answers,
How Architects Are Fighting For Gender-Neutral Bathrooms
Design could play a powerful role in the battle for equitable public restrooms, but outdated code poses a serious problem.
C O Design
By Meg Miller
September 16, 2016

Yet designing these more equitable restrooms is often a challenge for a reason that has nothing to do with the debates of today: building code.

130 YEARS OF BATHROOM BUREAUCRACYWhen the Massachusetts bill passed earlier this summer, Ng was celebrating with other LGBT advocates at a party at Google’s Boston offices.

He found himself admiring the design of the bathrooms there: a series of fixed, single stall bathrooms that each contain a toilet, sink changing table, and lock. “Regardless of who you are and what you were born with”–or whether you are a parent with a young child–“you can use any bathroom,” he says. “It’s the definition of Universal Design: Each is outfitted with the exact same thing.”

That design solution seems simple enough, and many architects are already working to create bathrooms that are private, safe, and accessible for all genders, so that how you identify is a nonissue when you go to do one of the most basic and natural things in the world. But doing so means dealing with rules and regulations as outdated and frustrating as the bureaucracy that advocates come up against on the legislative side. The practical barrier to gender-inclusive restrooms? It basically boils down to building code.
I love this bathroom design!

I know at UConn when I was going to grad school I was asked to sign a petition to have more gender neutral bathrooms for trans students, I said no.

The reason I said no was because I wanted assurances that we would not be forced to use gender neutral bathrooms. I said I am in favor of gender neutral bathrooms but I wanted something in the petition to the effect of saying the gender neutral bathrooms were for everyone, and at no time is meant to limits the use of the bathroom of your gender identity.

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