Checking The Genitals Of Athletes & Toilet Users

Change comes so fast in the USA these days that people can’t absorb it, and that’s a big part of some people’s unhappiness.

Consider these two matters: trans-athletes and genderless restrooms.

Remember the sensational case in 1952 of man-to-woman Christine Jorgensen? Her fiancé was fired when news got out that he was engaged to her.

Transgender organizations were formed in the 1990s and early 2000s but the public mostly ignored them. Then, bang! In 2010, Victoria Kolakowski became the first transgender judge. In 2012, Stacie Laughton the first transgender state legislator.

The floodgates opened. It was politically incorrect to snicker at sex change and illegal to discriminate. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) ruled that trans-athletes could compete in the Olympic Games. That really got people’s attention.

The IOC’s gender consultant says ”There is 10 to 12 percent difference between male and female athletic performance. We need to categorize with criteria that are relevant to performance. It is a very difficult situation with no easy solution.” It’s not been resolved either at the Olympics level or in schools. 

Both are relying on testosterone levels but looking for something better. Many athletes competing with born-gender say it’s created unfair conditions.

Now about the restrooms.

If you’re a woman who has stood in the long restroom line at the KCC Farmers Market, the Blaisdell Concert Hall or the Merrie Monarch venue, are you now ready to surrender to the idea of the genderless public bathroom?

Several cities, including San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle, have gender-neutral bathroom facilities. These typically involve relabeling single-occupancy bathrooms as places for any human person. So far, they are working just fine.


The White House installed one gender-neutral bathroom stall.

In the 17 states and 200 cities that expressly permit transgender people to use whatever bathroom they want, there has been no increase in sexual assault or bad behavior, so maybe it’s time to bury those often-cited excuses for keeping genders separated.

The recent tendency, especially in the South, has been to pass laws saying a person must use the bathroom of the sex he or she was assigned at birth. In K-12 schools, bathrooms typically are sex-segregated and made up of multiple stalls. Private colleges have been more venturesome with unisex bathrooms. My daughter attended one of those and reported no issues in her coed dormitory toilet/shower.

The logical solution, it seems to me, is to have all public facilities contain some gender-neutral bathrooms for anyone to use, in the same way that homes have bathrooms for any guest of any sex to use and many restaurants have bathrooms that are not labeled for the sexes.

But are most of you ready for that? I suspect not.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

One reply on “Checking The Genitals Of Athletes & Toilet Users”

  1. Totally agree; and glad you are blogging! Found out about it from Ian Lind’s blog.

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