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All-gender toilets

by Jullie Y. Daza

WHEN the Manila International Airport Authority announced that they were ready to build toilets for the new genders, it gave me pause to ask what would they be called, what signs would they put on the door, what would the facilities consist of?

Next thing I knew, the Film Commission’s Lisa Diño was heard airing her concern that her husband, Aiza Seguerra, was always in a quandary about which c.r. to use when they were out somewhere. (Translation for foreigners: c.r. stands for comfort room, a term we prefer over restroom.) Does Aiza feel more comfortable (or restful) in the ladies’ room because she was born a girl, or in the men’s room because that’s his gender of choice for himself?

Before I could seek out Aiza for an answer, from out of the blue came a single line in a news report attributing to Ateneo de Davao University the first inclusive toilet – for want of a better term, as politically correct as it may sound, as in “no one left behind.” Davao ahead of Manila? Cannot be! So I asked the Atenista in the family to go check and come back with a report, with pictures if possible. This is what he saw.

Thanks to its student government, the college department of Ateneo de Manila has 14 such toilets. Each one is good for the use of one person of any gender at a time. It has a toilet bowl, what you see in the ladies’, but no urinal, plus a washbowl and mirror, plus a handrail for a PWD. Not only are these c.r.’s all-gender, they might as well be all-inclusive: for transgenders, transsexuals, transvestites, etc., PWDs of either or all genders, just not for straights. The signage on the door features a human silhouette wearing a skirt on the left and one long trouser on the right: one silhouette, two looks. Sharing the same space on the door is the drawing of a person in a wheelchair, no gender specified.

I was reporting this discovery to Rep. Cristal Bagatsing of Manila when she mentioned that she and Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan are good friends. Maybe Rep. Cristal and Rep. Geraldine could spearhead a move to build all-gender restrooms starting in Manila and Bataan?