Katherine Lee: “A Feminist Reading of Gender Neutral Bathroom Laws”

Image result for gender neutral bathroom
The news story I found interesting and relevant to this course was on California’s recently passed gender-neutral restroom law. This law was passed on March 1st by Governor Jerry Brown and is now expected to be in full effect state-wide. This law requires all single-stall toilets in California to be labeled gender-neutral. The gender-inclusive bill was sponsored by California NOW, Equality California, and the Transgender Law Center. Here is a short excerpt of what the sponsors believe and what was the driving force behind the support of this law: “restrooms are a necessity of life, and access to them influences our ability to participate in public life. However, current practices that restrict access to single-occupancy restrooms by gender create problems of safety, fairness, and convenience. This burden disproportionately impacts members of the LGBT community, women, and parents or caretakers of dependents of the opposite gender.”
     I found this directly relatable to our Peskowitz and Christ reading; particularly, the point that gender and sexuality are performative. Peskowitz explains the normative ideas of gender and sexuality need constant fashioning in society. It has been continually fashioned in our society and is by no means natural. These normative ideas have been constructed time and time again, yet are presented to be natural and politically normative. The fact that there were no gender-neutral restrooms before the fight for one is eye-opening on this specific reading. It can help us learn more about our modern society. The restriction and marginalization of certain people in this way does seem to be constantly fashioned as Peskowitz explained in her writings. Religion ties in with this as there are plenty of definitive boundaries on gender and sexuality in religious texts. I believe we must challenge these boundaries to discover new perspectives on what we can control and what we cannot. What is truly natural in society?
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