The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

THW: Encourage the construction of gender-neutral bathrooms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/9/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 101829
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




Structure of debate:

R1: Definitions and acceptance only. No arguments should be presented. Definitions provided by myself in this round are axiomatic, and must be accepted as the definitions used for the debate.
R2: Main body of argument.
R3: Refutation, summation. No new arguments may be made, but new refutation may be made.


"THW": Abbreviation for "This house would" i.e., the idea being proposed.
"Encourage": Voice support towards a particular action.
"Gender-neutral": Available to anyone regardless of their sex or gender.
"Sex": The physical state of being male, female or intersex.
"Gender": The psychological state of being a man, a woman, both, neither or something else.

I'd like to wish my opponent luck, and I look forward to an interesting and insightful debate.


I accept your challenge and your definitions.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, there's very little reason to gender bathrooms in the first place- by opposing the construction of a gender-neutral bathroom, Con must necessarily advocate the position that most bathrooms should be gendered, and I feel they really have their job cut out for them- there's no benefit to gendering bathrooms so far as I can see.

Gender-neutral bathrooms help promote equality: currently, it isn't uncommon to see baby changing facilities only in the womens' bathrooms. This is, of course, horribly sexist, as it assumes women to be the default childcare provider, and men not to be. Having a single gender-neutral bathroom with baby changing facilities removes this problem.

Children are safer in gender-neutral bathrooms: consider a single father with a young daughter. When she turns seven, she is required to use the bathroom that matches her gender- she can't come into the mens' with her father. Likewise, he cannot come into the womens' bathroom with her. This means that she is left unattended, which is dangerous because she could encounter dangerous strangers, or even if she's completely alone, she could choke or have an asthma attack or something similar. A gender-neutral bathroom avoids this problem; everyone in the same room allows the father to ensure his daughter enters and leaves the cubicles alone, and to be present just outside the door in case of choking or some other emergency- his child is safer.

Gendered bathrooms are a dilemma for transgender people- for instance, imagine a transgender women (i.e. someone whose sex at birth was that of a male but who identifies and presents as a woman) needing to use the bathroom. If she uses the mens' room, she misgenders herself, outs herself as trans, and risks getting beaten up. If she uses the womens', she risks getting yelled at, accused of being a pervert, misgendered by other people, and once again, getting beaten up.
A single room with cubicles solves this problem- the issue needn't be gendered, and no one gets accused of being a pervert, or outed, or misgendered, or beaten up.

Gender-neutral bathrooms save money; it's cheaper to build a single larger bathroom for everyone than to build two bathrooms typically over half the size. Saves money, and no drawbacks. Great!

So in short, gender-neutral bathrooms help parents, children, transgender people, gender-equality, and even save money in the process.

Hence, THW encourage the construction of gender-neutral bathrooms. Thank you for reading my case,


Bathrooms should be gendered to protect the privacy and safety of those using them. When one walks into a bathroom, they are entering that bathroom under the impression that they will be able to carry out their business without being disturbed. However, building more gender-neutral bathrooms will disrupt this core principle of bathrooms.

With gender-neutral bathrooms, privacy could be violated. While most of society might carry out business without incident, there will be some who cannot contain themselves when presented with the opportunity to sneak a peek at the other gender if allowed in the same space. Whether it's due to perversion on a stranger, or feelings for another person, simply put these people will ruin the privacy of a bathroom if presented with an opportunity to be in the same room. And imagine the implications if the one being spied upon was underage! If not reported, these incidents can lead to serious problems, and there's not a guarantee they always will be reported.

Gender-neutral bathrooms create awkward scenarios. When in the restroom, those of the same gender tend not to speak to one another to avoid awkwardness. However, in a gender-neutral bathroom, there might be a man who has just finished crapping standing at the sink next to a woman doing her makeup. These scenarios can become extraordinarily awkward, especially if the two are strangers. Unlike in gendered bathrooms, these encounters will cross the line between how open two strangers of opposite gender should be with one another.

With gender-neutral bathrooms, children will become problematic. In gendered bathrooms, the problem of explaining different genitalia to children is not forced on parents, but rather the parents are given the power to give their children "the talk" whenever they feel appropriate. However, gender neutral bathrooms will throw a wrench in this system. Children have a much higher chance of becoming curious when forced to carry out bathroom duties in the same room, and therefore have a higher likelihood to ask questions to a member of the opposite gender. While this may happen anyways, with gender-neutral bathrooms this problem will explode. In summer camps, as well as schools and pools, bathrooms are strictly segregated, with no child above the age of 7 allowed in the opposite gender's bathroom. These rules are put in place to protect the children as well as to shelter those who may wander into the opposite gender's bathroom to find an unfamiliar scene. After all, young boys can be known to pull their pants all the way down when using the urinal, and while I don't know from experience, there are probably some young children who may forget to pull their pants up. This problem escalates further when the bathroom doubles as a changing room, just think of the implications! The problem also continues through the high school level, now with the added concern that it is against the law to place cameras inside bathrooms. Creating gender-neutral bathrooms makes it easier for a young couple to have sex in a private place, and the problem has escalated further.

Simply put: If bathrooms are not gendered, problems arise from those perverted members of society, as well as curious children who do not understand what the difference is between males and females. Gender-neutral bathrooms create more problems than they solve, and they cannot be allowed if we are to protect the right to privacy of our people.
Debate Round No. 2


Con's points seem to be as followed:

1) Gender-neutral bathrooms increase the likelihood of privacy violations.
2) Gender-neutral bathrooms are awkward.
3) Gender-neutral bathrooms make children more likely to ask about differences between sexes.
4) People are more likely to have sex in gender-neutral bathrooms than in gendered ones.

Perhaps the biggest concern Con brought up is the idea of privacy violations. Of course, these would indeed be serious, but that problem is alleviated by simply making all the cubicles closed off such that there is no gap above or below the door. Bathrooms such as these (both gendered and gender-neutral) already exist, and I think they're a lot more comfortable for everyone, as they make privacy violations less likely from anyone (including members of the same sex, who would be allowed in the same gendered bathroom as oneself) as well as the added benefit of not hearing or smelling someone doing their business as much. These bathrooms would make privacy violations from anyone much less likely, and so they are a necessary change to bathrooms anyway, and once such a change takes place, the argument that suggests gender-neutral bathrooms would lead to increased privacy violations is negated, as it would be extremely difficult to violate someone's privacy in such bathrooms.
One should also consider the fact that lesbians and gay men already use the womens' and mens' bathrooms respectively, and that they don't violate the privacy of others (despite the possibility they are sexually attracted to them) anywhere near enough for it to be a commonplace issue, and making bathrooms gender-neutral wouldn't change this.
Gender-neutral bathrooms already exist in many places, and there has yet to be any scientific evidence presented that gender-neutral bathrooms increase the rates at which privacy violations and sexual assaults happen. I feel it would help Con's case very strongly if they could provide such a study, but I have been unable to find one and I imagine they will be to. Even if they were able to, for the above reasons (better cubicles making privacy violations nigh on impossible, and the fact privacy violations don't happen often despite the presence of lesbians in womens' bathrooms and gay men in mens' bathrooms) I feel this would be simply down to poorly-designed cubicles. Solve that problem, and you alleviate a problem that would be present with or without gender-neutral bathrooms, but in making the bathrooms gender-neutral, you solve all the problems I discussed in R2.

Bathrooms are awkward, for everyone. Con's claim that:

"However, in a gender-neutral bathroom, there might be a man who has just finished crapping standing at the sink next to a woman doing her makeup"

is interesting, because it implies that a woman who just finished crapping standing at the sink next to another woman doing her makeup would somehow be less awkward, but they've not really argued why this is the case; in my view, that's just as awkward. I feel Con will have to further develop this point in R3 for it to be convincing, but even if they do, I feel that slight awkwardness is a reasonable price to pay for fighting against sexism and transphobia, and to protect children by allowing their parent to be with them, and to save money in the process.
I'd also like to point out that having transgender people in either bathroom is awkward for them and awkward for everyone else. It's more awkward for someone who is incorrectly perceived as a woman to be in the mens' bathroom, for instance, than for everyone to be allowed in the same bathroom.

I'd maintain that children should ask questions about the differences between sexes, and that it's a necessary and healthy part of growing up. That said, it isn't appropriate for a child to be seeing a stranger's genitals, and for that reason I agree we should try to avoid this. However, separating toilets into well-sealed cubicles (as described in my refutation of the privacy issue) once again solves this; children cannot see into the cubicle, so they cannot see the stranger's genitalia.
Single-urinals can also be placed into cubicles, so this would allow AMAB (assigned male at birth) people to urinate while standing without causing a privacy or indecency issue. Trough-urinals are inherently awkward for everyone, especially since it's not unheard of for urine to splash onto others using the urinal. Hence, the former causes no issue, and the latter should be abolished anyway.
The idea:
"young boys can be known to pull their pants all the way down when using the urinal, and while I don't know from experience, there are probably some young children who may forget to pull their pants up."
is addressed by pointing out that children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and that because the bathroom is gender-neutral, they could come into the cubicle with the child in order to ensure that they do pull their pants up. This actually helps to alleviate the problem Con makes, as the alternative would be for the child to enter a bathroom without their parent, forget to pull their pants up, then walk out of the bathroom with them down for members of any sex or gender to see, for a long time.
In response to:
"This problem escalates further when the bathroom doubles as a changing room"
This is not relevant to the motion, as it is only discussing public bathroom (i.e. toilets, not changing room). However, exactly the same arguments can be applied; stick everyone in a separate cubicle and you alleviate the problems.

The idea that more people will have sex in gender-neutral bathrooms is also refuted by observing that lesbians and gay men aren't having sex in public toilets anywhere near often enough for it to be an issue, and there's no reason (again, a scientific study from Con could really help their case, here) to think this will change in gender-neutral bathrooms. In any case, if people want to have sex in public, a toilet is probably one of the last places they'd go for on account of the smell and the likelihood of being walked in on.

So, to summarise my refutation:
1) Measures can be (and are) enforced to protect individuals from privacy violations, and there's little reason to think gender-neutral bathrooms will lead to an increase in them.
2) The idea that gender-neutral bathrooms will lead to awkwardness has been poorly argued. Even if this were true, such awkwardness is slight, and is a price worth paying for all the benefits I listed in R2.
3) Children should ask about the differences between sexes, but the measures implemented in (1) prevent this from happening in the context of gender-neutral bathrooms.
4) Public sex is unlikely to increase in gender-neutral bathrooms, on account of it already being rare and bathrooms being an unlikely place to choose to do so.

All of Con's points are fundamentally just scaremongering and "slippery slope" fallacies. There is little to no evidence that any of it is true. All of the benefits I listed in R2, however (and I would encourage you to read my R2 argument again at this point) are clear; transgender people are more comfortable in gender-neutral bathrooms, as are parents who can better look after their opposite-sex children, and fighting sexism and saving money are pretty nice benefits, too.

Also, side note: this debate has never been about making *all* bathrooms gender-neutral (I even specified this in the comments). Most of Con's points, even if you accept them as true, are alleviated by situations where there are gendered bathrooms AND a gender-neutral one. This would be consistent with the motion.

I also feel further reading on this issue may be of interest:

I'd like to thank you for reading my case, and once again, implore you that THW encourage the construction of gender-neutral bathrooms.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by QueenDaisy 3 years ago
Mikal: No. Only that there should be more gender-neutral bathrooms.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Are you proposing that all bathrooms become gender neutral?
Posted by QueenDaisy 3 years ago
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