Friday, September 18, 2009

Genderqueer Chicago on the Chicagoist/ Toilet Questions and Comments

Genderqueer Chicago made the Chicagoist today, and the article has stirred intense debate and backlash about safety in public restrooms.

So for the sake of education and clarity, I've decided to list some of the most common questions and comments we're getting on this little theatre act. If you don't know what the "Toilet Revolution" is, please scroll down a few posts and read about it.

FAQs and Common Comments

Won't men who try this get arrested?

Not if you're smart. Believe it or not, gender-variant people usually try to use single-stall bathrooms because it's safer and less awkward for us. Starbucks, for example, usually has single-stall gendered bathrooms, but we still get accosted in front of them. Male-born men should use single-stall bathrooms on Saturday.

But seriously, do you really want men in the ladies room?

Wait, what is a man? Or a woman? Okay, I get it. We're all socialized. It matters. Actually, a lot of public spaces have gender-free bathrooms. The college I attended never gendered the bathrooms of its dorms of buildings, and we never had a problem. My old-fashioned Midwestern mother even got used to it and learned to like it. Bathrooms should be safe for everyone all the time.

But do you actually think you are going to change things?


How are things going to change?
Well, we're having this discussion. That's a huge start.

I support what you want, but I don't agree with...
1. Are you gender non-conforming? 2. Are you also working to change things? 3. Will you please share more ideas?

At the root of all of us this is the fact that "wrong" bathroom use happens everyday. Many people in our community cannot use EITHER bathroom, even in single-stall facilities, without risk of being called out and harassed.

The basic assumption here: we all need to pee. Everyone. It's not rocket science or radical politics. When you gotta go...

For the record, Genderqueer Chicago is not a political campaign or activist group. Genderqueer Chicago is an open community group intended to provide safe meetings spaces for gender-variant people to connect and feel empowered. Bathroom Theatre is simply a threatre activity, intended to challenge the invisibility of trans/genderqueer struggles in Chicago.

Kate Sosin
Co-Founder, Genderqueer Chicago


  1. well put yo, and thanks for putting this up. i was a little surprised at the comments on the article...guess it started some awesome conversations.

    "Male-born men should use single-stall bathrooms on Saturday." -- ?
    i mean, i'm all for everyone pissing outside all the time, but hmmmm


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