Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Individuals and Bathrooms

Bathroom accessibility is a human rights and civil liberties issue of concern to transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth (and adults). Transgender is an umbrella term that includes those who are transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, two-spirit, and nonbinary gender. All these designations are shaped by gender-nonconforming identities. This entry discusses the difficulties that TGNC individuals face when using restrooms in public, at school, and at work. It also describes steps taken by activists for the provision of bathroom accessibility.

Public Restrooms

In the North American context, public facilities are often segregated by gender. This segregation is based on heteronormative and cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) assumptions about people. In other words, the gendering of toilets presumes that occupants categorically identify with binary gender identities: “ladies” or “gentlemen,” “women” or “men.” The ...

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