To the Editor:
My name is Ashton Spring Baranowski and I would like to share my thoughts about the public bathroom situation in Bar Harbor. I understand that people have their opinions about how bathrooms should or should not be gender neutral, and while people have a right to voice their opinions, I disagree with some.
I believe that there should be a gender-neutral alternative, and not just for people who don’t identify with a certain gender, also for families. For instance a father who needs to go in with his daughter or a mother with her son. Some people do not want gender-neutral bathrooms because they don’t support the LGBTQ+ community and while, again, they have their right to their opinions, gender-neutral bathrooms are not only for the LGBTQ+ community.
Others do not like the idea because of safety issues. I agree that this may be concerning, but if we use single stall bathrooms we will not have this problem. As an alternative, if we do have large bathrooms with stalls that multiple people can enter at once, the stalls would go from ceiling to floor so that on one else can enter and the locks would stop anyone from coming in. In addition, there may also be concern about safety in the public area outside of the stalls where people wash their hands.
In modern public restrooms this is the area where people are vulnerable to assault, whether it be verbal or physical. If we put a mirror and sink inside of the stall that would prevent this from happening, and considering that the cost could be an issue, we could instead have cameras outside with the sinks, but not inside the stalls.
Many transgender people get bullied or attacked because of who they are and how they identify. I think that we should all accept or at least tolerate each other fairly. You may not agree with how they identify but they are only trying to go to the bathroom, nothing more. We all have a right to use the bathroom when we need to.
Ashton Spring Baranowski