I propose that having separate restrooms for men and women is equivalent to segregation. As long as men aren't allowed into women's restrooms and vice versa (and they aren't, really, even if there is no specific law saying so, because many places prosecute on a sexual harassment basis), I consider this an infringement upon basic rights and discrimination by gender.
I'd like to quote the decision of the Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case.
"We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment."Did you catch that? I'll paraphrase: "Separate but equal is unconstitutional because separate means inherently unequal." I know they were talking about educational facilities, but the same principle was then applied to buses, and train cars, and all other manner of public facilities. I've yet to understand what makes restrooms different.
Oh, I know there are some arguments, of course. There is the, "I don't wanna see the other gender naked every time I walk into a restroom" argument, but I don't see guys naked every time I walk into a men's restroom, so I think that point is moot. If it doesn't apply now, it certainly wouldn't apply then. There's also the, "It would make sex in restrooms way too easy" argument, but, the way I see it, we're making it unfairly easy at present for gay couples. Now, I've met people who want to discriminate against gay couples before (which I am most definitely and completely against, by the way, and not afraid to say it), but never anyone who wanted to discriminate against STRAIGHT couples.
My friend said she didn't want to have to explain to her young kids, when she had them, the differences between men and women before the kids were ready. I may choose to address this in more detail in a later essay, but I think explaining these differences casually in a non-sexual way when children are young can obviate more problems than it creates. I personally am of the conviction that a sheltered existence causes more problems in the long run than the few it postpones are worth.
And think of the BENEFITS! Not having to walk all the way down a hall (or even just around a corner, when you're in hurry) to find the next men's restroom, being able to optimize usage of floor space in a building (imagine how many restrooms are in a large mall, and what having half, or even a quarter, of that space available to stores would mean for business), NOT DOING SOMETHING UNCONSTITUTIONAL. This isn't just an archaic and esoteric conversation, though it may be arbitrary; there are some obvious practical applications. "Because it's awkward," is not a valid reason to violate the Constitution.
If people are unwilling to consider this, I would at least like them to accept that they are not as committed to equality and "the American Dream" as they might have me believe. I find that pursuing the ideals listed in the Constitution or ingrained in the subconscious of the American people often requires thoughts previously considered blasphemous. If we don't take the ideals to the extreme that they should reach, then I think a constitutional amendment is in order, stating that we do not discriminate by sex EXCEPT in the case of public restrooms, because OBVIOUSLY that is a worthy place to draw the line on the principle of liberty. (That was sarcasm. It doesn't translate well in writing.)
|The symbols of oppression.|
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