Visualize yourself as a father with a six-year daughter and she just told you she needs to use the public restroom and there is only a male and female restroom. How does a parent handle this situation? Does the father allow the daughter to enter the women’s restroom alone or take her into the men’s restroom? Family restrooms play a major role in situations such as this, if there was a family restroom provided for the father and daughter, there would not be a moment of hesitation. The hesitation of which restroom will individuals feel safe should be thought. Family restrooms can give not only to parents and children a safe place but also to transgender, the elderly and special needs. Restrooms can be design for all individuals and not be design based only on genders.

Segregation of race is thought to be gone in the 21th century, yet we are still divided by gender. Restrooms are among the few remaining sex segregated spaces in the American landscape,” individuals must choose between the female’s or male’s restroom (Potty Parity). In the 1910 laws were passed to protect women and children who began working in factories to help provided at home. The Department of Labor became aware that the restroom brought concerns of health issues and so they begin to investigated into factory sanitation. It was concluded the best option for all workers was to have sex-separated restrooms and the Department of Labor gave four reasons as to why which were sanitary, privacy, morality, and haven (Kogan 41). This applied to dressing rooms and wash rooms which was meant to give the feeling of “home away from home.” Separation of gender continued in libraries, salon, department stores, and transportation believing women were safer. The sex segregation of restrooms has been in our society for many years and it was not questioned. Recently transgender individuals have brought awareness to public restrooms. Which one does the transgender individual enter; the restroom they feel comfortable to be in or to the restroom that corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth? Do public restrooms truly provide the four reason why the Department of Labor so long ago used to separate the restroom apply to our generation?

When designing the public restroom women and children were considered yet not the elderly and special needs who would be needing assisted. Restrooms have at least one handicapped accessible facility available with space which allows assisted to be given. But again we go back to the factor of the restrooms are sex-separated. A wife may not feel comfortable or welcomed to enter into a men’s restroom to assist her husband who may need aid. Family restrooms can take away the uncomforted and uncertainty away and has the essentials to both the husband and wife. The design of the family restroom is a large space, so more than two individuals may enter which is required if anyone with special needs and who needs help can have assisted. These restrooms do not have stalls which means it is open and only one family at a time. The restroom includes a changing station for toddlers, so father and/or mother can change the diaper of their child. Family restrooms offer a great benefit; staying together, and there is no need for separation.

The first time which public restroom arise an issue was when transgender taken away their privilege of enter the restroom they felt right in. Do you allow a woman who identified herself as a man enter a male’s restroom? Many will answer that question differently and based their answer on health and safety for both genders. “Public restrooms have long provided a venue for derogatory graffiti as well as hate crimes for gays and lesbians,” for some entering public restrooms can also cause damage to their being (Anthony and Dufresne 270). Once in high school, entering the girl’s restroom a boy, who identify himself as female, was accompany with female friends were standing in front of the mirror fixing their appearance. For a spilt second the boy was worried since he was caught in the girl’s restroom. Yet I simply smiled and continued with using the restroom, that boy was with friends were doing no harm. Of course, not all would have that same reaction and thought. Safe and health issues is brought up when allowing someone of the opposite-sex allowed in the opposite-sex restroom. Family restroom take away those concerns of health and safety. As Anthony and Dufresne stated in their book of the importance of public restrooms and why change is needed so they can benefit us all, “whether we want to or not, we must visit them several times a day. Women and men, girls and boys, of every ethnic background, every social role, all use them.” The use of public restrooms is a right and not a privilege.

Sanitary, privacy, morality, haven, and more can be giving by public restrooms. For that reason, as time is changing the design of public restroom need to be improved. Family restroom are not easy to locate but as newer building is being built and cities are getting bigger and better they should include family restrooms. They can be sanitary for all to use and lacking any supplies, give privacy for the individual using them and not question their usage of the restroom, as for morals it is everyone’s right to use the restroom, and a haven of not fearing or questioning if one should enter.


Annotated Bibliography

“Potty Parity in Perspective: Gender and Family Issues in Planning and Designing Public Restrooms.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences,

Looks at how restrooms can be designed differently to comandante all individuals, Restrooms can cause a hazard to “women, men, children, elderly, persons with disabilities, and caregivers.” This will help prove that public restrooms can be more effective to all using them and for the cities.


Terry S. Kogan, Sex-Separation in Public Restrooms: Law, Architecture, and Gender, 14 Mich. J. Gender & L. 1 (2007).
The history of public restrooms being separated for males and females. Laws that have been passed to keep restrooms safe and clean. The history of restroom will provide the changes that need to be made.


 “Ladies and Gents.” Google Books, restrooms&ots=1JisIeh-Ap&sig=CQ4EFilw9M-FSnbm2gaFd3S-HNU#v=onepage&q=family restrooms&f=false.

Explains how restrooms play a role in society and how each gender has privileges and rules. Further explanation of the design of the restrooms and toilets. The outlook of how restrooms are looked from society will be used in the paper. And how we have accepted how restrooms are designed.