First let me define the terms used for the room with the “facilities”. At home, the term seems to be “bathroom” in both US and Canada. In public places the term varies. Where I live in Georgia (USA) you look for the sign “restrooms” when you need to go. In Canada (at least on the east coast where I grew up) you look for the “washrooms” sign. In this post I will use the term “restroom”.
Recently, in the US there has been a political struggle on who can mandate where you go when you have to go. As society has progressed, the segment of society that we shower our politically correctness on revolves from oppressed group to oppressed group. In a rush to see who could be the most politically correct with the latest minority in vogue, the LGBT (or LGBTQ) community, the state and federal governments where I live (Georgia) have been locked in battle over who can mandate where you can go when you have to go; particularly in schools. The state passed legislation mandating that people must use the restroom based on the gender stated on their birth certificate. The Obama government immediately stepped up and declared that stance to be illegal. And so we go through lengthy court battles through multiple layers of the court system, wasting taxpayer dollars, because neither state or federal governments will compromise. I have lost track of where the legal battle stands at this time. Anyway, so far I have never been asked to present my birth certificate before I could pee in a public restroom
At the time this all started, I stated that I believed that the only possible solution would be to make restrooms non gender specific so everyone could choose where to go. My friends thought that was a crazy idea. Otherwise the politicians and courts will be wasting time and money on this issue for years to come. It appears that some places outside the US have decided to solve the issue before it becomes an issue.
Yesterday I was at the Charlottetown Mall in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada. I felt the call of nature and saw the washroom sign with an arrow pointing down the hall. Down the hall were 2 washrooms, as you would expect, but both were marked “Men and Women”. No gender specific restrooms here. So, are both genders sharing the room simultaneously? No, this is not European style yet. Each room is a single user room; one sink and one toilet. You choose whichever room in vacant. When you go in and lock the door behind you, a green “occupied” indicator appears above the handle. Seems Canada, at least at some public locations, have chosen to address the problem without benefit of government meddling. Of course Canadians are always politically correct to the extreme.