James and I just vacationed somewhere that wasn’t Key West or New Orleans.
I’ll pause here for a second while you pick yourself up off the floor. We were shocked too.
A friend recently had a milestone birthday – which I will not mention here for fear of being shot – and to celebrate, we decided a trip to Palm Springs while it was still comfortable would be a fun treat. We had never been, and our friend and his husband hadn’t been for 20 years.
Turns out we couldn’t have gone anywhere more different. Dry desert air versus wet and sticky (and oddly smelling in the case of NOLA). Walkable but you had to drive to where you wanted to walk. And James and I voluntarily got in the pool.
However, what stood out for me on this trip as different from other vacations wasn’t the change in climate or us in the pool. What kept catching my attention was when I went to pee. And no, it’s probably not what you think.
In most locations, using the restroom meant you had two options – one space designated for everyone, and one space designated for women.
And the restrooms were labeled as such. Except when ya gotta go…
Which meant I found myself in the women’s room for the first time in my life. Not sure what I was expecting. Fainting couches? Lush wallpaper? Fancy lighting? Turns out it wasn’t much different, except for the lack of a urinal. So what’s the big deal?
Considering how conservatives rail about California being so liberal (or in recent lingo “woke” – and please feel free to roll your eyes at this point), I was not at all surprised to see the “Everyone” restrooms. Who cares where you go, as long as you have the privacy to do so. What really caught me off guard was that there was still a women’s restroom.
Not that I think we are at a place where gender neutral restrooms will start popping up everywhere. Between building codes catching up to the idea and people freaking out about men and women using the same restroom, we have a long way to go. So to speak.
Yet to be in a place and see an everyone restroom option next to the women’s restroom was a bit off-putting. There was the part of me that felt if you’re going for gender neutral, then go for it. Don’t half-ass the decision. It’s like telling transgender individuals to use the family restroom or for trans kids the restroom in the nurse’s office. Instead of creating a sense of equality, you’ve now singled out individuals by assumed gender.
Oddly enough, the day after I returned to the office, I had a half-hour discussion about gender neutral restrooms in airports. Talk about opening a can of worms. Yikes! Making that decision will cause a lot of heads to turn and some to spin. But I like that the discussion is finally taking place.
For James and me, we’ll return to Palm Springs, no doubt. And use whichever restroom is presented as an option. After using the restrooms in New Orleans and wondering if you’ll get out alive, having to choose between everyone and women’s will be a snap.