Near my new office there are two toilets, they are immediately next to each other and they are identical, each being a small room with a toilet, a basin, a mirror, and a door that locks. For the first three weeks, they were non-gendered, but apparently someone complained that you couldn't tell which was the men's and which the women's, so last Friday morning along came maintenance to stick up pictograph signs assigning a binary gender to each toilet.


As I was leaving on Friday evening, I visited the loo and as one was occupied I used the other. As I exited the loo, the person using the other one also exited and on seeing me emerging from the door beside her exclaimed "Oh! didn't you see the signs?!? that's the mens!". I stepped back, looked at the signs, looked at her, looked down at myself and replied "No, well, that one is wearing pants, and that one looks like it's wearing a dress, and I'm wearing pants, and you're wearing a skirt, so it seems about right to me". She gave me the half-sideways look, and said "well I guess that's one way to look at it"... I pointed out that they're identical, and everyone has managed to share without any problems for three weeks, so gendering the toilets now just seems arbitrary and silly to me. She replied with a half-smile and "spose so" and i smiled and wished her a happy weekend.

I don't get many chances to challenge the gender binary, so it makes me kind of happy when i do, even when it's tiny and pointless...
My heart goes out to this poor girl... I can't even begin to imagine how stressful and intrusive this current media storm is for her.

I'm also finding myself cringing with every use of the word "hermaphrodite"... while it may be scientifically correct, it's not the accepted term to apply to any human. She is an intersex female.

Kudos to whose



April 2014



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