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Letters to the Editor for July 31, 2022: A flawed premise

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A flawed premise

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The premise of the recent Times-Dispatch article, “Hanover to build elementary school with no gendered bathrooms,” is flawed.

First and foremost, bathrooms never have been gendered (based on sex stereotypes). They have been sexed. And the reason why bathrooms are segregated by sex is females and males have very different needs in bathrooms, based on the reality of their sexes.

As a function of biology and anatomy, women and girls are more vulnerable when they use the restroom than men and boys are. Women and girls need to disrobe more fully, and they also need to use the restroom more often.

That’s not to mention the fact that 25% of women are menstruating at any given time, and a bathroom must be able to fulfill those needs as well. (For more on these disparities, check out the book "Invisible Women").

In an elementary school, the equation is slightly different, but I still have questions. What about the moment of vulnerability when girls are going in and out of the stalls? What about the girls who begin menstruating early?

The average age of onset of menses is shifting to a younger and younger age, and that trend will only continue. Fifty years down the line, is this layout still going to be serving girls?

Pretending that sexed differences don’t exist is not as radical as we seem to think these days. It’s actually not radical at all. It's far better to neutrally acknowledge the differences that do exist rather than trying to force everyone to fit into the same box.

Katherine Kinney.

Board member, Women's Declaration International USA.

Richmond.

 

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