Why is it so difficult to ensure equality of access to public toilets for all? To find pleasant facilities? To implement design practices that support safety, health, and function? Public toilets have been around for over 2000 years!
In recent years, restrooms have become the major spatial locus of conflict over trans* rights. But the trans* population is not the only one that has problems with restrooms. Human rights advocates recognize the importance of access to public toilets for dignity, health, and social participation. In low-income countries, providing safe and secure public toilets to reduce the spread of disease is a major public health initiative, especially important to support access to education and social participation by girls and women. Advocates have identified the “potty parity” problem as evidence that even high-income societies have not physically adapted to full equality for women. While many countries may have turned the corner on access for people with disabilities, it remains a major issue for people with disabilities in the developing world and, even in high income countries, regulations do not address all the disability issues.