No more gender-specific restrooms!

May 26, 2009
We went out to lunch today to a popular queer-owned restaurant in Southeast Portland. I got up to use the restroom after we’d ordered and there was a guy standing outside waiting. I went back to my table for a few minutes and then, when I saw a woman walking away from the restrooms, I headed back in that direction. The same guy was still standing outside, but I could see that the women’s restroom door was slightly ajar.
“Is anyone in there?,” I asked.
He gave me a slightly puzzled look. “No…”
“Are you going to use it?”
“No,” he replied. “Go for it.”
So there he stayed as I went in and used a perfectly good bathroom. And guess what? Even though it said “Women” on the door, and even though I am a guy, it functioned for me perfectly!
I haven’t paid any attention to the silly signs on gender-discriminatory bathroom doors for years. If it’s a bathroom with multiple stalls, then of course I’m not going to go into a women’s bathroom and freak everyone out. America is still a little too uptight and puritanical for that to work at this point. But if they are single occupant restrooms? Give me a break! There is no reason whatsoever for three people to be standing in line with one of two restrooms sitting empty. And that’s just the most practical reason. Just as important for me is the fact that America is becoming increasingly enlightened to the fact that gender is a spectrum, and not a binary condition. It’s nothing short of hostile and discriminatory to force a transgender person to endure the stress and potential embarrassment or worse of being confronted by some unevolved jerk for using the “wrong” bathroom.
If you own a bar, restaurant or other public establishment with a single occupant restrooms, please please please make them gender non-specific. If you frequent such an establishment, please approach the staff or ownership about this. As obvious as it may seem to you and me, it’s obviously just not something that enough people are thinking about, yet.

Gender non-specific bathroom sign

We went out to lunch today to a popular queer-owned restaurant in Southeast Portland. I got up to use the restroom after we’d ordered and there was a guy standing outside waiting. I went back to my table for a few minutes and then, when I saw a woman walking away from the restrooms, I headed back in that direction. The same guy was still standing outside, but I could see that the women’s restroom door was slightly ajar.

“Is anyone in there?,” I asked.

He gave me a slightly puzzled look. “No…”

“Are you going to use it?”

“No,” he replied. “Go for it.”

So there he stayed as I went in and used a perfectly good bathroom. And guess what? Even though it said “Women” on the door, and even though I am a guy, it functioned for me perfectly!

I haven’t paid any attention to the silly signs on gender-discriminatory bathroom doors for years. If it’s a bathroom with multiple stalls, then of course I’m not going to go into a women’s bathroom and freak everyone out. America is still a little too uptight and puritanical for that to work at this point. But if it’s a single-occupant restroom, there’s no reason whatsoever for three people to be standing in line with one of two restrooms sitting empty. And that’s just the most practical reason. Just as important for me is the fact that America is becoming increasingly enlightened to the fact that gender is a spectrum, and not a binary condition. It’s nothing short of hostile and discriminatory to force a transgender person to endure the stress and potential embarrassment – or worse – of being confronted by some unevolved jerk for using the “wrong” bathroom.

If you own a bar, restaurant or other public establishment with single occupant restrooms, please please please make them gender non-specific. If you frequent such an establishment, please approach the staff or ownership about this. As obvious as it may seem to you and me, it’s obviously just not something that enough people are thinking about, yet.

Portland, Oregon: Bisexual capital of the world

October 8, 2007

Or so I’ve heard it said. And, based on my own experience and empirical research, I’m inclined to agree. Hell, even the Portland Mercury – the pinnacle of scientific research and scholarly thought – backs me up on this.

 The 2007 Portland Mercury Sex Survey drew 2,300 responses. Women made up 52% of the group and men 46%. (Yes, I know that doesn’t add up to 100%. The Mercury says it’s because “some of you didn’t fill out every single question on the survey”).  Of the women who responded, 34% said they’re straight. 37% of the men said they are straight.

 Now we get to the juicy part: 9% of the 2,300 respondents said they’re gay or lesbian while 17% said they’re bisexual! That means there were 207 homosexual respondents and 391 bisexuals. I’m not saying that this can be extrapolated across the entire population of the City of Roses because we know that only the cool people read the Mercury. But even if we take into consideration the fact that the entire pool of 2,300 survey respondents are more open minded and less boring than the population at large, there are still almost twice as many bisexuals as there are homosexuals in this study group. That’s a lot of folks who have chosen to not go through life with one hand tied behind their backs! (as James Dean put it, referring to his own bisexuality).

 So where are all the bisexuals? Are we so ubiquitous that we don’t need any special venues, events and so forth? Or is it simply that we’re still being completely marginalized, ignored and/or villified by the two monosexual communities (homo/hetero)? Perhaps a combination of both? Or are we all just taking advantage of “hetero privilege” and living under the radar, getting our same-sex nookie on the sly without all the hassle of coming out and sharing the challenges and rewards of queer pride with the LGTQ’s?

 Check out the “entire site” of the Portland Bisexual Alliance. It’s a whopping… one page. And that one page was last updated on May 31, 2002! A Google search turns up a second page that isn’t linked to from the top page – and for good reason. It’s the calendar page and it was “updated 5-29-01!

 I’m determined to get to the bottom of this (if only because I love bottoms so much!), so watch here for more!

What makes Oh, Come Now… different than other sexuality sites?

October 24, 2006

What makes Oh, Come Now… different than other sexuality sites? There are so many out there already.

The answer will come in the form of our content—the subject matter and quality—as the site grows day by day. It will also become clear as a community forms around Oh, Come Now…

So visit often and let us know what you think!