Anyone with access to a television, radio, or the Internet has heard of the transgender bathroom debate gripping our nation's attention — and one Austin business with Houston locations may have a solution.
Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthouse, has been working with architect Richard Weiss on a new bathroom design for the a new Austin location set to open later this year.
"We've been thinking about what an inclusive, commercial, gender-neutral restroom design might look like so that these challenges are not even part of the dialogue," said League in a Facebook post. "I don't want to have any 'men' or 'women' signs in the building."
The bathroom layout features a mixture between private water closets and a separate room with standing toilets, as well as ADA-accessible rooms with baby-changing stations. The potential design for the bathrooms in the new location was shared on Alamo Drafthouse's Facebook page to ask for feedback.
The post resulted in over 450 comments (and counting) that seem to be more united than divided in an effort to create the perfect bathroom.
Most who commented agreed with the general layout but shared ideas for a few tweaks that could improve comfort and efficiency. Suggestions included signs to indicate whether a water closet was occupied and floor-length pocket doors to save space, but most of the discussion centered on where to put the sinks: inside the stalls or outside in the communal area?
"Why not take the sinks out of the urinal room and put them right after the initial bathroom door? Sometimes people just want to wash their hands and leave, not go into a stall or a urinal room," suggested Storm Holloway.
"Counter vote against the communal sink area. It's nice to have privacy to powder your nose, pick your teeth, adjust your chones, or whatever the heck else you need to do while standing in front of a mirror with access to a sink," said Lisa Rawlinson.
As important — and divisive — as the larger issue is, at the end of the day, League hopes that a better bathroom design in the new Alamo Drafthouse will everyone happy.
At least we know commenter Tim Garris is satisfied: "All for gender-neutral bathrooms that make those with all gender identities more comfortable, but on a selfish note, I am really looking forward to the fringe benefit of not hearing a stranger's poop noises ever again."
We're right there with you.