by Patrick Barron
The current tempest in a teapot among the “rights” advocates is that no one should be restricted from using the gender specific bathroom of his choice. The “rights” advocates want to use the police power of the state to ensure this outcome. The federal government has come down on the side of the “rights” advocates, with regional and local governments sometimes taking the opposite side. Once again, Americans are being told that there are only two sides to this issue, and both sides claim to defend what is proper.
But are there only two sides? Perhaps we are looking at this issue in the wrong way. Instead of assuming that some level of government can make this decision for all of society, there is the alternative solution of defending the right of the property owner (of the bathroom in question) to make this decision. After all, someone actually paid for the bathroom in order to satisfy his preference. And there are precedents. We all have seen signs that tell us that bathrooms are reserved for customers only. There is no movement that I have seen that demands that any bathroom anywhere be accessible to whoever desires to answer the call of nature. We all accept that limiting bathroom facilities to customers is the right of the business owner. Why should not the business owner be allowed to decide which bathroom his patrons use? If his patrons are not happy with his decision, they are perfectly free to refrain doing further business there. And other business owners could adopt a different policy and reap the rewards that come from satisfying this subset of society.
Already there are unisex bathrooms everywhere. My wife and I patronize a very nice French restaurant in Philadelphia which provides only private stalls. Anyone can use whichever stall is available in complete privacy. Each stall is a little room unto itself, similar to a Porta-Potty. Outside the stalls are lines of sinks, towels, mirrors, etc. that are used by everyone. Seems to me that this common sense solution can be adopted by business owners who wish to avoid antagonizing any possible segment of their customer base, rather than be forced to comply with a government mandated solution. Some very small businesses provide only one bathroom, which is unisex. The toilet, sink, towel, and mirror are located inside the one private bathroom. Again, we see these just about everywhere in America and even more predominately in Europe.
Come on, America! Let’s stop fighting among ourselves and then demanding that government set universal rules. Let’s defend the property rights and business incentives of the owners of bathrooms to find solutions that we all can accept. It’s already happening for those wishing to see.