Gender-neutral bathrooms are coming! Would you use them?


250 days ago

We have a gender-neutral bathroom where our studios are at our offices in Greenpoint… It’s very, very jarring as a man to step in and there’s a woman standing there…

Lester Kiewit, presenter - CapeTalk

Some men don’t understand the boundaries with other men in the room. I don’t want you to turn around and then only tuck away! I’ve been in a space where men walk away from the bathroom, still shaking. I don’t want to see your junk!

Lester Kiewit, presenter - CapeTalk

Gender-neutral public bathrooms are the norm in many countries, but not in South Africa.

The DA’s leader in the Western Cape, Bonginkosi Madikizela, set the cat among the pigeons with this post on Facebook:

I find it backwards, discriminating and stereotyping that just because you are a male, you must be searched by a male. If you are a female, you must be searched by a female at the airport, what about members of LGBTQI+? I’m gonna challenge this. We must also do away with male and female toilets, we must have unisex toilets.

Bonginkosi Madikizela, Leader in the Western Cape – Democratic Alliance

Madikizela went on to suggest gender-neutral bathrooms for Cape Town International Airport.

His suggestion was met by much uproar with some arguing against it on the basis on South Africa’s high levels of gender-based violence.

Lester Kiewit interviewed Marc Russous, a gender training facilitator.

It would be good to do away with the gendering of restrooms, but we exist in an environment where there are so much violence and fear of abuse in public… Right now, personally, I think it’s a very bad idea.

Marc Russous, gender training facilitator

That child that was molested at that restaurant... He [the molester] was high on drugs. He got into the toilet because the stalls don’t have doors that are completely secure. The child was molested by someone who shouldn’t be there in the first place!

Marc Russous, gender training facilitator

Unfortunately, with the levels of violence that exist in our society, we can’t afford to open things up and put women and children into situations where they might be at risk… If a person feels threatened, it’s a terrible idea…

Marc Russous, gender training facilitator

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Gender-neutral bathrooms are coming! Would you use them?

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