If you live in New York, gender-neutral restrooms aren’t hard to come by. It’s hard to say if it was for efficiency or changing attitudes, but at some point establishments decided to replace their “Men” and “Women” door signs with ones that said simply “Restroom” or “W.C.,” equalizing the peeing experience: the wait is the same for everyone, you don’t have to feel like a tool for absentmindedly stumbling into the wrong room, and, most significantly, trans folks can do their business without the fear and anxiety often associated with using a public toilet.
But naturally, not everyone lives in New York, and not everywhere in New York has adopted this trend. In many places, transgender or transitioning individuals face harassment and even violence when doing something as simple as choosing which door to enter when they need to take a leak.
For this reason, transgender programmer Billy Bolt has created TranSquat, a new iPhone app that uses geo-location services (GPS) along with the Safe2Pee directory to point users to gender-neutral bathrooms. So far, the app can locate 4,000 loos in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, though that number’s growing as users add and share restrooms as they go.
Bolt explains: “Sometimes finding a safe, discreet and comfortable restroom can be a challenge or safety issue, depending on where one is in their own transition or geographic location. [TranSquat] users can help build it by downloading it and sharing safe locations from their own communities. In that sense, a user can… build a network of safe locations no matter where in the world they reside.”
Here’s a peek at the screen: