If you haven’t already noticed, public restrooms and gender identity has been a big topic of conversation lately. Should one use the restroom designated to the gender they were born with or the gender they identify with? Instead of debating who’s right and who’s wrong, can’t we just come up with a solution that makes everyone comfortable? As one of our patrons recently pointed out, we already have.
For anyone who has been to The Steer in the last 5 years, you know that this isn’t an issue here. About 6 years ago, when we made some changes to the restaurant; adding an open kitchen concept, re-locating the staircase to the upstairs banquet room, expanding the bar space, to name a few…We also decided to go with a gender neutral, or a universal restroom space. Our reasoning was simple, by knocking down the wall between the Men’s and Ladies’ rooms and making it a large general space, we could accommodate many more patrons at once. No more long lines to use the one or two stalls in each room: How great is that?! When ya gotta go-you can go!
We went with a large open sink area. Once you turn the corner to get to the restrooms, you are met with a wide-open area and 4 full sized doors. When locked, an “occupied” sign slides into place on the outside of the door (much like and airplane’s restroom.) Also you will notice that inside each door is a stall-sized room (one of these is extra large to make it handicap accessible as well as family friendly). Each has its own toilet and sink. They actually are not stalls at all, but are individual restrooms!
And of course, let’s not forget the sneaky two-way mirror that hangs above the sink in the general space outside the restrooms. Yep, we can see you adjusting your lipstick. We can also keep an eye on the general goings on and spot any non-kosher activity pronto.
So there you have it. Gender identity and public restroom issue solved. You’re welcome!
To be perfectly honest, the current debate never even occurred to us when we made the changes, but knowing we can accommodate ALL of our customers and give them a comfortable and safe space to, um, do their business is a wonderful bonus.
So Target, Walmart, and all other big businesses take note- if an independently owned family restaurant can create a safe general public restroom for ALL of its customers, you can too.