There was a time when I desperately needed to go to a toilet, but was on public transport. So, I couldn’t just get the bus drive to drive me to the nearest toilet. I had to hold it in for about 15 minutes, which was a horribly uncomfortable experience. The nearest public toilet I found had a broken automatic door, so it opened itself right after I pulled my pants down. I pulled it up quickly before things got awkward between me and the pedestrian passing by. The hotel with toilets in it was about 2 minutes away, but I had been holding it for about 20 minutes, so it seemed like a painfully long walk to me. Fortunately, I got in and did my business before things got more embarrassing.
Perhaps you might think what I just said was good news, but this would be a different story if I didn’t look like a female, or if I wasn’t deemed socially qualified to walk into a female toilet. The toilets in the hotel I went into were gendered.
Despite the fact that the City of Sydney encouraged businesses to open their toilet facilities to the public in 2013, there’s no way that anyone could possibly know if that meant more unisex toilets were available to the public. It frustrates me to think that queer people who are experimenting with their representation of self may have to deal with this problem of finding the safe toilet, both on campus and in public.
However, one small step is the beginning to great change. Hopefully, educational institutions will be the leaders of change in the City of Sydney; hopefully, it will become mandatory for all buildings to have both male, female and unisex toilets like self-cleaning toilets. The needs of queer individuals must be met.