April 13, 2023

Potty Training

Hubby and I spent nearly a year traveling throughout Europe. During that time, we encountered a lot of public restrooms. It wasn't at all unusual to find a restroom that was intended to be used by both men and women. In many cases, there would be a row of stalls for women on one side, and a row of stalls for men on the other side. The sinks, used by both sexes, were in the middle. In some cases, there were stalls marked for men and stalls marked for women, intermingled, with a few unmarked stalls, too. In some cases, stalls weren't labeled, and you just took your turn, regardless of sex. As far as I could tell, nobody suffered any ill effects from this. I only felt uncomfortable once. That happened when I used a traditional women's restroom that had attendants. Oddly, the attendants were all male. (I don't remember what country I was in at the time.)

The restrooms that were available to both sexes could have been used by people who were transgender, and nobody would have noticed. For most people, restrooms aren't places we go to report on who else is there.

Once in a diner in the U.S. I walked into the ladies' room and saw a man standing there. He had come in with his baby to use the changing table. I didn't feel threatened, but just went ahead and entered a stall.

Even in the U.S., where some people are hyper-aware of sexual division in public facilities, it is generally legal for a disabled person who needs assistance to be accompanied by an opposite-sex companion. After my accident, I was in a wheelchair for a while, and needed help in the bathroom. My husband went with me. Sometimes we used the women's room, sometimes the men's. We just rolled into the handicap stall and closed the door. Nobody fainted, nobody called the cops, nobody died. We both survived without permanent emotional trauma.@realrkwest

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