Should You Be Concerned About Gendered Bathrooms in Your Community?

Why it might be worth exploring the idea of having unisex bathrooms in common areas of a multifamily development.

By Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

jfiur thumbnailBathrooms are a huge issue right now. (And not that there’s always a line at the lady’s room. That issue will never be solved, and also, I’m not a hack comedian from the ’90s, although I can give it the college try—why do women go to the bathroom in groups? Do they need help putting on their lipstick? Something something. Uh, and women be shoppin’, am I right?) Specifically, transgender people’s rights to choose which bathroom to use. Some people feel that people should use the gendered bathroom based on the gender on their birth certificates. For example, North Carolina recently passed legislation on this. Others feel that people should be able to use whichever bathroom makes them feel the most comfortable.

This probably isn’t an issue that’s going to go away any time soon. So what should apartment communities do, then?

In an apartment unit, this is a non-issue. There are one or two private bathrooms, and residents in their own units can use them. But what about bathrooms in common areas such as the lobby, the gym, a clubhouse, etc.?

It might be worth exploring having unisex bathrooms in these areas.

Experts estimate that there are currently about 700,000 transgender people in the the United States. Is that a big percentage of the overall population? No. But there is a humongous section of the population who might also benefit from unisex bathrooms—families with toddlers or preschoolers.Toilets_unisex.svg

Some fathers might feel uncomfortable taking their daughters into the men’s bathroom, and could also feel uncomfortable going into the women’s bathroom with her. And vice versa with mothers and sons. No one really wants to let their kids go into a public bathroom by themselves, both because it is a safety issue, and also because they are likely to pull out every single paper towel and flush them down the toilet. And then the parent would miss a chance to take a picture of their little mischief maker and Instagram it, which, if you ask me, is the real tragedy in this whole situation.

Unisex bathrooms would solve all these issues. And ultimately, it could be a nice gesture to make some affected residents or potential residents feel comfortable in their community.

Of course, you should do a cost analysis and see if it’s worth it to implement this at your apartments. Though it might be as easy as taking down the signs and replacing them with one that says “restroom.” Or it might not be worth it at all to make any changes—a non-issue that could just be flushing money down the toilet (#sorrynotsorry).

What are your thoughts? Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.