Has the time come to stand up for the urinal?
Portland, Oregon is spending $195,000 to replace urinals with something more gender-neutral in remodeling the Portland Building. This is just for the replacements, and doesn’t include the cost of the work.
A local TV station reports:
In an email to employees last February, Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart wrote:
“We will continue to have gender-specific (male and female) multi-stall restrooms that are readily available to any employee that prefers to use one. But, there will be no urinals in any restroom in the building. This will give us the flexibility we need for any future changes in signage.”
The city has redesigned all the bathrooms to be gender neutral– which means urinals are banned even in the men's room.
If you think that Portland is going to a lot of expense and trouble to rid the building of urinals, the report helpfully points out that urinals are “a big deal when it comes to those who are transgender or gender fluid.”
Talk show host Lars Larson is standing up for the urinal:
“I think it’s ridiculous. First of all I know that it already makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Secondly, it’s gonna take up a lot more space and third- anyone whose ever been to any public event – have you seen the line at the ladies room? Do you see any line at the men's room?"
Lars also claims that urinals use less water than toilets.
But the city administration stands behind the new arrangement:
The Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart wrote to employees:
“I am convinced that this is the right way to ensure success as your employer, remove arbitrary barriers in our community, and provide leadership that is reflective of our shared values."
The TV station reports that the Portland Building's 1st, 3rd and 15th floors will have “large multi-stall bathrooms that men and women will use together.”
Some floors will have separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, while every floor will have at least one “any gender” bathroom.
I can see this being quite confusing if you’re in a hurry and forget which is which.