It seems in America these days, people are quick to take offense at any slight, either real or imagined. The bathroom bill controversy is one of the latest debates with heated opinions on both sides. No matter what new bathroom policy stores decide to go with, one side or the other is angry and offended.
Is the bathroom bill controversy really worthy of all the attention it's garnered? The debate over which public bathroom to use seems a silly thing to fight over for several reasons. One's own good judgment should come into play when deciding which bathroom to visit at, say, Target or Walmart. If one is dressed like a lady, but not born into that gender, would anyone notice when she visited the ladies bathroom?
You do realize trans people existed in 1999 and were probably using their bathroom of choice then too.. Right? https://t.co/SQN2suEIHw
— Hannah aka Lesby (@YoungGawhd) April 27, 2016
Target's recent bathroom policy has some so infuriated they are boycotting the store completely. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Target has made it clear that transgender individuals may use whichever bathroom or fitting room one deems appropriate. Again, back to one's own good judgment.
Stores in North Carolina and Mississippi, however, do not have that choice. These states have passed controversial bathroom bills that force an individual to use the bathroom of the gender "on their birth certificate." Will North Carolina and Mississippi post "bathroom guards" at public restrooms? Will one be required to carry a birth certificate to prove one's gender at a moment's notice?
How did America go from a nation that figured out how to get a man on the moon to one with people confused about what public bathroom to use
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) April 26, 2016
Kroger has decided to straddle the fence and issue a bathroom policy that includes everyone and reaches far beyond the LGBTQ community. The grocery chain, which includes discount store and Aldi rival Ruler Foods, has decided to add unisex bathrooms to their locations. While many retail businesses such as Kohl's and Walmart have employed the addition of unisex or family bathrooms for quite some time, Kroger's unique understanding has bridged the gap between sides on this issue.
According to Time magazine, about a month ago, a sign on the new unisex bathroom in the Kroger location in Athens, Georgia, explained the need for a bathroom that does not fit in with the traditional gender-specific restrooms.
"We have a UNISEX bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations. Since we have a lot of our friends coming to see us, we want to provide a place for our friends who are dads with daughters, moms with sons, parents with disabled children, those in the LGBTQ community, adults with aging parents who may be mentally or physically disabled. Thank you for helping us to provide a safe environment for everyone!"
Excellent bathroom solution from @kroger. I hope more businesses follow suit. GL pic.twitter.com/NhjOYIGO8p
— Gale Laure, Author (@wwwgalelaurecom) April 24, 2016
While the unisex or family bathroom is not a new concept, Kroger has put the various needs for this type of bathroom into words as well as actions. This company has defined inclusivity in the most positive way possible.
I'm a mom with 3 #FragileX #autism sons. Every public bathroom becomes gender neutral if you don't offer a family bathroom. #specialneeds
— Sally Zepp (@sallyzepp) April 13, 2016
Thousands special needs kids on waiting list for services but the "emergency" in NC is who is using bathroom. #ncgahttps://t.co/S8mNZeoeoN
— Lisa Kaylie (@Lkaylie) March 22, 2016
What is your stance on the controversial bathroom bill? Should transgender adults be allowed to use whichever bathroom they prefer? Should every store add a unisex bathroom to make life easier for those of the LGBT community, special needs parents, and others who do not fit into the stereotypical categories?
[Image via Shutterstock]