14 February, 2010

The Mysteries of the Unisex Bathroom

Texas is not a place known for progressive views regarding gender and sexuality - though there was a recent glimmer of hope in Houston - or much else for that matter. Sorry, Austinites and all you right wing haters who claim the city is some sort of cross between Sodom and Moscow c. 1905 or Beijing c.1949, but we're not the wild liberal, socialist hotbed people claim we are. Not by miles and miles and miles.

So, when the staff at the campus gym suggested I try the unisex bathroom because there were no lockers available in the women's locker room I said, "Oh, yeah the...the WHAT?"
I've heard of them, but never seen one. I know one of the arguments in their favor is that they provide a safe space for transgendered folks, which is a good thing. They seem like a perfectly reasonable thing to me. I just never expected our uni to be progressive enough to provide such a space.

Low and behold it's a little locker room complete with showers and everything. I've had all to myself each time I had to use it. None of the staff could tell me the reasoning behind it and none were sure of the proper etiquette for using the place. I'll admit I'm not one to be bothered by public nudity and what not. Even if I'd not been raised in a family with very healthy attitudes towards the human form, working in closed quarters on boats, as I have, should cure most people of any lingering hangups or excitement about walking in on others changing. However, I do try to be somewhat respectful of other people's hangups, at least within reason. The fact that you're out in the open when changing and showering left me wondering how badly I would freak somebody out who happened to walk in not expecting to run smack into a naked lady. Hasn't happened yet, but....If you're on campus and in the gym, consider yourself warned.

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