Corso Inglese: Legal Case: The Bathroom – Men/Women and now Other

‘Men,’ ‘Women’ being flushed; it will say ‘We don’t care’ on new gender-neutral toilets at the Canadian National Exhibition.
The WCs (water closets) will even be marked with a  half-man, half-woman version of the pictograms long used on public washrooms. Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) organizers in Toronto have this to say about who uses their washrooms: “we don’t care.”

The trade fair is introducing new single-occupancy gender-neutral portable washrooms. After years of using the old portable bathroom stalls, organizers decided it was time to upgrade to something more “user friendly,” says CNE General Manager Virginia Ludy.

“This way anybody can use the washrooms — it doesn’t matter what the gender is,” Ludy said.

Making them gender-neutral cuts down on wait times, she said, and it’s easier for parents with children.

But she was also inspired by the political debates happening in the United States and Canada about how gendered washrooms can impact the transgender community.

“We didn’t want our customers to have to have that debate,” she said.

With thousands of people using the facilities over the course of 18 days, cheap portable bathrooms just can’t accommodate the flow of traffic. Ludy said there was nothing precise on the market, so they had  bathroom trailers custom-made. Each trailer measures 10-feet wide by 30-feet long, and contains multiple single-occupancy bathroom cubicles that contain a toilet and sink, including some extra-wide ones that can accommodate families and people with disabilities.

In total, the CNE spent about $250,000 on the units, Ludy said, but they hope to rent them out throughout the year to other events.

“They’re not cheap, but we expect them to have quite a lengthy lifetime.”

In place of the traditional bathroom sign with the pictogram of a man in pants or a woman in a dress is a sign that shows a person who is wearing half dress/half pants. Beneath the figure are the words “We Don’t Care.”

The sign has been adopted by businesses across the United States who want to take a stand against the discriminatory bathroom law in North Carolina. The 21c Museum Hotel chain bought a few of the signs for their hotel in Durham, N.C.

“We feel we have a moral obligation and responsibility to our community, our guests and our team to voice our opposition,” 21c Museum Hotel president Craig Greenberg told the Kansas City Star. “We elected to engage this issue through contemporary art, with the belief that art can drive not only conversation, but that it can also create change.”

All-gender washrooms have become increasingly popular as people become more aware about the transgender community. The super market chain Hy-Vee and Target have introduced them into their stores, as have at least 150 universities and college campuses in the U.S. In Canada, both the Royal Ontario Museum, Ottawa public schools and many campuses also have gender-neutral washrooms.


Is the law in North Carolina discriminatory?

1 What is the North Carolina bathroom law?

The North Carolina ‘bathroom law’ is House Bill 2, also known as HB2 or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.

2 What is the transgender bathroom law?

The law is a state-wide law which specifies that people must use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate.


3 Why did North Carolina pass the bathroom law?

The state called an emergency session to pass HB2 in response to a local ordinance in the city of Charlotte, which allowed transgender students to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity.

Its proponents, including Governor Pat McCrory, state that the bill is “common sense”. Those supporting the bill often suggest that it protects children from sexual predators using a bathroom different to their gender to harass or sexually assault someone, despite no recorded case of anyone using a trans-inclusive law to such end.

Opponents of the bill often argue that those who plan to sexually assault someone in a bathroom would be unlikely to obey the rule of law regarding which bathroom to use.


Written by

Vincent Towerpast

English Language Consultant for Business English courses and Journalist - Foreign Correspòndent