If Ally McBeal taught us anything, it’s that unisex public restrooms would not lead to total social degradation, but rather to zany plot twists and dance numbers. Yet for all of our societal progress since that ’90s legal dramedy, designating a multi-stall bathroom gender-neutral still seems a radical idea to many.
Now some Washington
State University Vancouver students have made raising gender awareness
and ending bathroom injustice their No. 1 and No. 2 missions. A student
group promoting gender diversity has named April 2-6 “Gender-Neutral
Bathroom Week.” Seven bathrooms across the campus will be open to any
gender, with volunteer “toilet trainers” stationed out front. Student
organizers Janae Teal and Meredith Williams agreed to answer the
questions we had the hardest time holding.
WW: How did this idea come to a head?
Students: We’re not sure how the bathroom became this sacred space where women feel they need to police gender to feel safe, or men need to beat up someone who isn’t masculine enough. No one looks like the silly icon on the sign, but I don’t question your presence in there—why question mine? Aren’t we just here to do our business? Who gives a shit?
Are you hoping to flush out discrimination with the campaign?
We are hoping to wipe away the fears people feel when confronted with someone [who] doesn’t meet with their image of what a man or woman should look like. We hope people will be willing to wash their hands of the need to harass, question or even physically attack people who are just trying to go to the bathroom.
What are the duties of the “toilet trainers”?
While they will not hold your backpack while you go or teach you how to aim, they will be stationed outside of each gender-neutral bathroom with a snazzy “Toilet Trainer” T-shirt and a walkie-talkie. They will answer questions, direct confused people with full bladders, and overall make sure everyone gets to pee in peace.
GO: For more information about Gender-Neutral Bathroom Week, check out wsuvgenderdiversity.wordpress.com.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28SUGAR, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE
[SWEETS] Ever wonder what would happen to a marshmallow Peep in the vacuum of space? Watch the sugary little guy’s fate, eat ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, learn about the spices used in teas, and chow down on candy and cupcakes (while learning about diabetes) at the OMSI After Dark event Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice (That’s what science is made of!). OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., 797-4000. 6-10 pm, 21+, $6-$12.
FRIDAY, MARCH 30CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS, SHOOK TWINS
[MUSIC] Plucked from a rural backyard jam circa 1930, Carolina Chocolate Drops play traditional Piedmont string band tunes. With the exception of outlier track “Country Girl,” the trio’s latest release, Leaving Eden (produced by the legendary Buddy Miller), is thoroughly noncontemporary. It’s a charming and genuine quality in an era of faux-throwback artists. The Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. 8 pm. $20 advance, $22 day of show. All ages.
SATURDAY, MARCH 31LIVE WIRE!
[LIVE RADIO] The radio variety show features advice columnist and hiker Cheryl Strayed, former The Daily Show with Jon Stewart producer David Javerbaum, former The Daily Show correspondent Lauren Weedman, Project Censored director Mickey Huff, jazz singer Reva DeVito and shy singer Laura Gibson. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 719-6055. 7:30 pm. $18-$34.
SUNDAY, APRIL 1TWEED RIDE
[BIKES] Combining two of Portland’s favorite things—old-timey clothing and themed bike rides—the third annual Tweed Ride will parade through town Sunday afternoon. So don Grandpa’s blazer and Grandma’s crinoline and join the ride beginning at Kenilworth Park with an afterparty at Velo Cult bike shop with music, prizes, beer and silhouette portraiture. Kenilworth Park, Southeast 34th Avenue and Holgate Boulevard, tweedpdx.net. 1 pm. Free.
MONDAY, APRIL 2DEFECT DEFECT, AUTISTIC YOUTH
[MUSIC] I don’t quite understand what’s keeping Autistic Youth from becoming one of the biggest punk bands in the U.S. Its songs are consolidated blasts of anthemic, angry and invigorating punk rock that skaters, pop punks and crust crews alike can get behind. That’s a tough trick to pull off. Autistic Youth makes it look easy. Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave. 9 pm. $3. 21+.