Sunday, August 28, 2016

EXclusion: Piss Off

Photo description: In this photo, lifted from an article in the Toronto Star, people are pictured using the bathrooms at the 'Ex' with the 'We Don't Care' symbol indicating that 'anyone can use them.'
There has been a lot of 'to do' about the 'inclusive' bathrooms at the CNE (Canada's National Exhibition) lovingly called the 'Ex.' For those who can't see the symbol clearly it's a combination of the male symbol and the female symbol that are typically seen on gender spedific bathrooms. A dress on one side and pants on the other.  Underneath are the words 'We Don't Care.' It's been widely hailed as a great step forward.

 I, for one, have never understood the bathroom debates that have gripped the nation to the south. Go to the bathroom of your gender - and by 'your gender' I mean, the gender you identify with. I have never thought that the expression 'who gives a shit' more appropriate to any situation in my life.

But I'm going to challenge all the people who have written articles and blogs about this new 'we don't care' symbol and the brave new world that it ushers in. I'm going to suggest that you still do fucking care because if you look closely at that picture, I can't use that toilet. See that step? That entirely unnecessary step? That robs the symbol of any right to the claim of 'inclusive.' It's still an inaccessible design complete with barriers. Not one article I read spent any time at all acknowleging that while we as a country and society need to be inclusive on the gender front we also need to back up and hear the voices of the 'I need to pee' movement from disabled people.

Listen 'y'all' I recent drove through the freaking woods and saw several accessible bathrooms along the way. You know the kind, the places made so drivers don't have to wipe their asses with leaves after they pooped over a log. You pull in park, and roll into the washroom.

So if they can make an accessible bathroom in the middle of the fucking country don't you think they could make them in the middle of Canada's largest city? Oh, I'm sure that there are disabled washrooms off to the side somewhere. Those washrooms that have never cared about gender, those washrooms where parents can take kids, those washrooms that have always been inclusive. Those washrooms? Why didn't they just make a bunch of those and slapp that symbol on it, maybe they could have given one side a crutch just to indicate that EVERYONE can go there.

I call bullshit on 'We Don't Care.'

You obviously do ... and don't think I think that you are oblivious to the smoke and mirrors thing you did to inclusivity - you know the trick where you make us invisible in the discussion.

Once again, I don't think there has ever been a situation wherein the expression 'you can all just piss off' with your self righteous sense of wonder at your generosity and big heartedness. EXclusion is still EXclusion.


Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Not only a step, but those stalls are tiny.

You are right to be pissed off.

What a concept! That ALL bathrooms might be inclusive.

Frank_V said...

Amen! I was literally trapped in bathroom once, at an event for people with disabilities. Sure, there was a wheelchair accessible stall. However, after I washed my hands, and tried to leave, the handle for the exit door, was five feet high!

With my short stature, stretching as best I could, I did not have the leverage to pull the door open. Worse still was the fear that while I stood there, pulling uselessly, that some able-bodied person would smash into me when they opened the door from the other side.

Who knows how long I would have been stuck there, if another gentleman who soon finished after me, had not opened the door.

I think that EVERY "wheel chair accessible" bathroom needs to be tested by the able-bodied architect/nimrod who designs it, both in a wheelchair, and then, walking on their knees. Preferably while they are hung over, or sick with the flu, to really understand our predicament.

Are the door handles the right height? Is there a window in the door, so that no one gets bashed in? Are the sinks at the right height for knee clearance? Are the faucets, soap, and hand-wiping/drying materials also usable?

And my favorite: If the door is NOT automatic, do you need the strength of Hercules to pull the damn thing open?