How to Use a Public Restroom

How to Use a Public Restroom
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As you’ve likely heard by now, there is a heated national debate over who should and should not be allowed to use public bathrooms. Politicians like North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have been perpetuating this idea that we have a serious problem of men, dressed as women, following women into bathrooms with sinister intent. As a result, Republicans have been refusing to include transgender people in nondiscrimination policies because, by their logic, this will make it easier for bad people to do bad things.

There are no instances of men dressed as women going into women’s bathrooms to cause a fuss, or of transgender people doing anything in bathrooms that people shouldn’t be doing. Still, bathroom bills have become the new fighting ground over the right to privacy ever since North Carolina passed HB 2, which bans transgender people from using any bathroom that doesn’t match the sex on their birth certificate. HB 2 also prohibits local, city governments from passing any nondiscrimination ordinances of their own.

These bathroom bills are entirely unenforceable, but that hasn’t stopped regular citizens from feeling they have a right to police one another. Since HB 2 passed, there have been multiple instances of cisgender men (who aren’t dressed as women) following women and children into bathrooms just to check if they are really women and are using the correct bathroom. In short, these bathroom bills are causing more problems than they claim to solve.

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t bother people in public restrooms, but apparently it needs to be said. Below, you can find a handy guide to using public bathrooms. Hopefully it is helpful.

  1. Don’t follow strangers into bathrooms to figure out what genitalia they have. 
  2. When using a public restroom, don’t look into or under someone’s stall.
  3. Don’t comment inappropriately on people’s appearances. Oggling strangers isn’t a good idea, either.
  4. Do your business IN the toilet or urinal, not AROUND it.
  5. Please flush. We can’t believe we need to say it.
  6. Don’t touch people without their consent. (Again, can’t believe we even need to say it).
  7. If you think you might try to assault someone in a bathroom, tell the authorities so they can stop you from doing that.
  8. If you’re not sure if someone is a man or a woman, remind yourself that it doesn’t really matter and that you should go about minding your own business.
  9. If someone’s appearance bothers you, but they haven’t actually done anything to you, leave them alone. Your personal discomfort with someone’s appearance and/or existence is your problem and doesn’t outweigh their right to privacy.

There you have it. This is how you use the bathroom. Don’t forget to wash your hands!

  • Estella Davis

    pair up, if possible. two adults, even if it is one male and one female, one wait outside the door while the other uses the facility, plus make it a point to not be sneaky, they are public facilities ask for directions even if you already know. sometimes a stall is closed and you have to knock or stoop down to see if feet are on the floor, which should you do, knock or stoop down to see feet? i would quietly stoop down to see only feet. sometimes people do not want the knock and respond negatively. when entering the rest room, open the door very carefully if someone might be standing in harm’s way. pretend you can’t read and ask questions before approaching the restrooms, don’t be so sure these days. otherwise hold it until you get home.

  • saqqara

    And this is news, great……

  • Estella Davis

    how to use a public restroom in the new age. man, woman, man/woman, handicap. use private stall as usual per your need, then flush, wash, leave like you found it and good by. next problem.

  • kindperson

    There are more than 200 cities (including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, San Antonio, and Austin) and 18 states that include “gender Identity” in anti discrimination laws and in NONE of these places has there been an increase in crime in the bathroom. (see link below); The “bathroom laws” are based in terrible and inaccurate assumptions borne out of a lack of knowledge and fear of trans people. It is clear folks in support of the unenforceable bills do not know any trans people or they would know trans people are just humans like the rest of us, and, by the way, incredibly private about their bodies. The bathroom has always been a very dangerous place for transpeople with verifiable stats on high rates of assault - ironically, it is the trans people that actually need to be more safe. Research has even demonstrated that stigmatizing regulations that reduce access to public facilities like restrooms INCREASE suicide rates among trans university students (rates of suicide attempts are already astronomically higher for trans people that non trans people). Knowing that bill do NOT increase safety and that such discrimination is actually life threateningly harmful - lets bring a little compassion to the discussion, and let everyone pee in private, behind a door, wash their hands and leave. Lastly - the daily wire is a highly biased right wing publication not an impartial news source — with more research you will find its claims unsupported. - Media matters is unaffiliated and has a real research department, for example.

  • Jeff

    There are a lot of things we can debate about this issue, but let’s dispense with the tired canard that there are no instances of predatory behavior in women only facilities:

    • nochnym

      All of those people in the report were arrested for a varied type of sexual assault except for the man who was clearly attempting to protest the new law. With or without these new laws sexual assault is still a crime so il not sure what your point is…

      • Jeff

        Other than disproving the baseless refrain that this never happens, which is what the author claimed, to me you are facilitating predatory behavior by permitting this. It’s akin to letting felons own firearms or pedophiles living next to a school.

        • nochnym

          These reactionary laws are facilitating predatory behavior like ‘gun free zones’ prevent gun violence. They’re both stupid, illogical, and based around fearful emotions not grounded in reality.