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Non-Gender Bathroom at DNC Catches the Spotlight

Republicans have made gender-specific bathrooms a hot-button talking point of late. But the DNC showed how simple the issue can be.

Jessica Kourkounis / Stringer

In a move that should be a complete non-story, attendees to this week's DNC found one women's restroom converted into an all-gender facility for the duration of the Convention. Without even diving into the politics of the thing, you don't have to be an Ally McBeal fan to know that unisex bathrooms have a distinct practical application, especially in large traffic areas like the DNC. There are more stalls for everyone to use, theoretically leading to shorter lines and abbreviated wait times. Everyone wins.

But Republicans have made bathrooms a very big deal in recent months, starting with North Carolina's state law requiring people to use the restroom that coincides with their gender at birth, and continuing with Senator Ted Cruz making the enforcement of "proper gender" bathroom behavior a part of his Presidential campaign platform. Most of the talk surrounding these laws has been about keeping transgendered people from using the bathrooms that match their current identities, and keeping child molesting perverts from taking advantage of any form of transgender protection and spying on kids or something. Eliminating the need for such laws is another benefit of all-gender bathrooms, but not one that the far right are all that interested in hearing.

So Democrats installed an all-gender bathroom and, predictably, members of the right confused "this is a thing that exists" with "this is something we are fighting passionately for." Case in point: former Arkansas Governor and sentient pile of hominy grits Mike Huckabee tweeted about the all-gender bathroom, sarcastically praising the DNC for their attention to issues that matter.

Huckabee's followers chimed in with responses that were alternately intolerant:

Rife with serious hashtag abuse:

Or bordering upon genuine gibberish:

Fun side note: in the article that Huckabee links to, reporter Elizabeth Harrington says that "no transgender individuals were spotted using the all-gender bathroom." First of all, saying that you fear transgender people in your restroom is like saying you fear gay people in the military: they've been there a lot longer than you think, and you've probably stood next to one without even knowing it. Secondly, we've got right-wing reporters scoping out restrooms, but it's the transgendered people who are the perverts? Interesting.

What about the status of the boots on the ground? For as big of an issue the far-right has made about bathrooms of late—big enough to boycott Target—surely the scene on the floor of the DNC must have been just a step away from complete anarchy, right?

"It doesn't make me nervous at all," delegate Lula Dualeh told BuzzFeed News. "I just need to use the restroom. I don't care who's next to me."

Oh. Well that's anticlimactic.

But Dualeh was a Sanders delegate, so clearly isn't to be trusted. BuzzFeed continued their search for the DNC's horrified masses.

"It was a nonevent," another woman told the intrepid reporter, after using the all-gender bathroom then washing her hands next to a fully-penised male. "It was perfectly natural."

It's these millennials, I tell you. First they get all hopped up on Democratic Socialism and, next thing you know, they're co-habitating outside of the bonds of matrimony and peeing in peace.

Chad Taylor

Chad Taylor is a freelance writer based out of Des Moines. He spends his days writing about music, movies, sports and pop culture.

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