Tell the Seattle Public Library to Let Trans People Use the Goddamn Bathroom



God I thought The Great Bathroom Wars were over. Or is the LGBT community not done squandering their political capital and good will


I'm sure if there are any caregivers with children, disabled patrons with their assistants, and breastfeeding mothers waiting to use the family bathroom, trans patrons can act like adults and let them cut in line, but unless these restrooms are overburdened with a steady stream of "family" traffic there should be plenty of time to spare for people who don't meet those criteria. It's a toilet, not a hotel room. They're only going to be in there a few minutes.

How anyone could muster the energy to gaf who uses what toilet is beyond me.


As a non-binary genderian I have used many Seattle-area women’s restrooms while en femme. I try and make it easier on all involved, respecting the facility as well as other users.
Admittedly the library is not one of them, and yet I find it hard to believe that a public place like the Seattle library’s main branch will not have a suitable solution to trans.

Those demand to use the family stall in an area enclosed for children and their caregivers may be violating strict guidelines geared towards that segment of population, and should look for a different option.
A multi stall facility works for me, but may not work for everyone. If that’s the case then maybe the library can install a single stall outside the kids’ area. In the meantime, please respect the designated areas and also be aware that considering the library’s location a single stall is likely to be constantly abused.


Looks like the pearl-clutchers are out in force today...


6 its almost like this "debate" was originally brought up as a distraction because the right lost the war against the gays


If you are not a kid, or you are not with kids, then you should not be using the bathroom in the kids' area. Trans people with kids are more than welcome to use it. It's basic bathroom zoning intended to protect a vulnerable population, just like I'm not allowed to use the kids' bathroom at my kids' school. That said, any other single-seat restroom in the building should be accessible to all.


I don't understand the problem here. Trans people are more than welcome to use the family restroom if they are caregivers with children, disabled patrons with their assistants, or breastfeeding. Why do trans people need special access to the family bathroom? What in the heck does that have to do with trans anything? Trans people should be able to choose whether the men's room or women's room suits them best, but the family room is for families and disabled people (including trans, if that is the case)!

As for @3, the reason it needs to reserved is not because kids need to be protected from trans people. Use your head, this is Seattle. The reason is, little kids often need to go RIGHT NOW when they announce they need to go, and I imagine some disabled people might need urgent access as well. There isn't time to wait for the non-disabled single trans person ahead of them. A major reason these bathrooms are useful to families and disabled people is that the bathrooms are lightly used. Keep the policy the same. At most change:

"caregivers with children, disabled patrons with their assistants, and breastfeeding mothers"
"caregivers with children, disabled patrons with their assistants, and breastfeeding parents"


I see everyone is into qualifiers. So I take it many believe a person with a disability should not be allowed to use the family bathroom, only a person with a disability and an assistant?


And why are breastfeeding parents allowed or expected to use the family bathroom? The bathroom is a place for pissing and shitting, not for dining or food prep.



Presumably they use the washroom for breastfeeding because it provides some privacy from all the pervy incels, MRA's, and conservatives out there who start drooling like Pavlov's dogs whenever they get a public glimpse of even a small portion of a woman's breasts.


The (oddly specific) rule here is clearly geared to limiting drug use and other questionable behavior in family bathrooms. It seems like some trans folks got caught in the crossfire when library staff enforced the rule with zeal, probably because they have to enforce it perfectly or not at all.

And, @13 I think most breastfeeding parents would agree with you, but sometimes it’s the best or only option available.


I completely understand and sympathize with the plight of transpeople and restrooms - especially at the central library where the mens/womens bathrooms can be a little creepy. Even back in the 70's, when I was but a wee Catalina, I had a dirty old man expose himself to me in the bathroom of the Council Bluff, Iowa Library.

I also understand - because of the above-mentioned creepiness - why the library wishes to limit access to the "family" bathrooms.

One solution might be to carve out some space for public non-gender bathrooms, but there is always the challenge of making sure that they don't become warrens for junkies. But maybe they could be located in an area where a staff member could keep an eye on them, or hand out a key.

But until that happens, I come down on the side of letting the transpeople use the family bathrooms in the children's area.


I was asked to leave, and I’m a cis-female adult, no child. I don’t think they’re going after trans. I think they’re going after family status, which may or may not be legal, but not trans.


@14 @15

It might be the "best" option, but not the only; isn't breastfeeding allowed by law pretty much anywhere? But what the library needs is a lactation room if people want privacy.


If you pee standing up with with the seat up, stay out of the women's bathroom. You make a damn mess and I'm sick of the reek of urine that comes with lousy penis equipment and poor aim. Is that too much to ask?


does thestranger have an open bathroom policy for the public? if private business opened their bathrooms to the public, this would be a non-issue.


@19 At every job I ever had that included maintaining restrooms (bars, restaurants, movie theaters, etc.), the men's and women's rooms were equally disgusting and replete with pissed-upon seats.


random @ 19
random @ 19
I doubt trans women “with lousy penis equipment and poor aim” would be using the women’s restroom “standing up with the seat up.”
I also doubt you are qualified to use women’s restrooms, yet couldn’t pass the opportunity to insert some derogatory comments.


I constantly find women's restrooms to be so much cleaner than men's. Despite what Mr. Monkey wrote I do my best to keep them that way.


I'll say first that I don't care at all which bathroom trans folks use. Heck, I'd welcome everyone into the "women's" restroom if they (trans men and women) felt more comfortable and safe there.

I don't understand how the new policy unfairly affects trans people or targets them. I am an able-bodied/minded cis woman with no children. According to the current policy, I would also be refused. So would any cis men that are able-bodied/minded with no children. What is the issue here regarding trans folks that are also able bodied/minded without children? Presumably, trans folks who are disabled (or as mentioned below, assistants to disabled) or with children would be allowed to use the family restroom in accordance with the rule. The rule isn't to exclude trans people, it's for the benefit of those others, which /can include trans people/.

Either there is some significant information missing from the article, or people are making a problem, arguing malicious intent, where there isn't any.

Now, if the issue is that trans people don't feel safe in a cis-aligned restroom, regardless of their gender identity, then that should be stated.

On the other hand, I don't have an issue with "The Seattle Public Library board of trustees has proposed redesignating multiuser family/ADA restrooms located children’s areas as single-occupant restrooms open to all," as it ultimately means more restroom access for /everyone/.

@12 I took the phrasing of "disabled patrons with their assistants" as a way to include the (presumably) able-bodied/minded assistants. I'm sure there are some disabled individuals that need constant supervision, so they would necessarily have to go along with their assistant when the /assistant/ has to use the restroom; the family restroom would be appropriate for both in that case.


@11: It wasn't very pleasant though.


To add to @24, it does appear based around safety: "While Library patrons have always been able to choose the restroom based on the gender they identify with, not all patrons feel safe or are comfortable doing so."


@23- you've obviously never worked in a bar.


@ 26
While it's true that I never worked in a bar I did pee in many. Obviously there are exceptions, I have seen drunk women intentionally pee on the floor at one, and yet I still stand by my observation that “generally speaking" women’s restrooms are far cleaner than men’s.

Speaking of bars, I’m always amazed at how clean both men’s and women’s restrooms are at Naked City in Greenwood.


What a fantastic (if overdue) change! Thanks, SPL, for recognizing that everyone deserves a safe and dignified restroom experience. It sounds like adopting this change will make the library inclusive of all genders, as per its stated values, and I’m all for it.


An important part of this story that is missing is that the trans man turned away from using the family restroom is disabled and was refused access despite the fact it is supposed to be available to folks who experience disability.


This is stupid. This is one time the rules are actually there to protect kids. We don’t want the librarians to be gender policy (ie policying who’s trans vs whose just a junky who wants a secure place to shoot up), so the rules are simple and have nothing to do with gender. Family washroom are for those with young kids, to provide a safe space for those kids. Trans people with kids are welcome to use the washrooms and haven’t been turned away. The trans people with out kids can do what us cis people do without kids, go to the nearest starbucks to take a shit.


@16 but what happens when a librarian doesn’t give the key to a junky claiming to be trans.


I worked at a library in Minneapolis decades ago as part of the night clean up crew.
The women's bathrooms were always dirtier than the men's.

/I don't really care I just felt like sharing my anecdotal evidence.


What IS the problem? Transpeople are welcome to use the family bathrooms if they are caregivers with children, disabled with their assistants, or breastfeeding. If they are none of the above, use the goddamned bathrooms all the rest of us use... this protected class we are SPECIAL SHIT is getting old... very old...


Yeah. It's getting so old @33. Cis ppl have never had designated restrooms suited to them, while ppl who don't fit the binary have lorded over us for too long!! I'm going to start pasting dresses and top hats on those gender neutral bathrooms I see everywhere oppressing me all the time. I need special shit like a ladies bathroom, maybe with a tampon dispenser or something. Endeth the sarcasm


@33, you can never be to woke in Social Justice.


Gee, so glad liberal knee-jerks are making Seattle safe and happy for pedophiles of all identities apparently because WOKE. If I'm sitting in the children's area with my daughter and a person without children lingers for even a split second on its way to that restroom there will be instant consequences. Trans, cis, gay, power to you; but enter the children's area and look at my toddler daughter for a second too long and I'll make sure you self-identify differently after I'm done with you.


@37 do you routinely assault people for looking at your child or just when they need to use the restroom?


@ 34... your over the top hyperbole says much. Your personal agenda and gong banging is not mine. You either follow the rules in place for ALL of us or continue to declare “otherness”. Cannot have it both ways as much as you'd like it to be. You are NOT special, do not ask or demand special treatment - demand equality.


Rich you went on a massive rant wondering why people are paying attention to assholes like Jordan Peterson. Well its articles like this that make a lot of us feel disillusioned with the current political climate.

I’m a supporter of trans rights and believe that trans people should be able to use whatever gendered washroom they want.

At the same time I can recognize that this city is in the middle of a huge homeless crisis and city hall is doing a horrible job handling it. Because of this our libraries, buses, parks, bike paths are all becoming homeless shelters. Our public servants who aren’t trained for it are forced to be makeshift social workers and emergency responders.

Since you cover literature in Seattle I assume you’re been in the central library. There are a lot of people with serious drug and mental issues there because the city has given them no where else to go. Having a washroom that isn’t gender base but is conditional on having children actually makes sense, as its a way to prevent people from shooting up in that washroom.

So instead of sending a bunch of angry people down to go scream at over worked (and probably under paid) librarians, send them to city hall to demand action, to demand safe injection sites, to demand no compromises on the head tax. Send them to Olympia to tell our state leaders to stop underfunding mental health.


Hey they are building or have finished building (I'm not sure as I haven't been for a while) a gender neutral bathroom on another floor. Wanna report about that? OR how about report about the fucking head of library security who sexually harassed two of his female employees? They won the case but can't work for the county any more while he gets off basically scott free. Public restrooms in a public institution are a really fucking complicated issue, which I know first person. But it's easy for you guys to keep harping on this one incident while not bothering to keep up with our dig into anything else that happens in our library system.