According to a New York City pastor, the debate over public bathroom laws could be put to rest if every public facility in the nation replaced its bathrooms with new, unisex bathrooms based on a blueprint that would provide individual privacy.
Ryan Phipps, pastor of Manhattan's Forefront Church, drew up the blueprints himself. They include large exterior "lounge and entertainment center rooms" designed to "make the user feel more comfortable and safe," according to Phipps' April 22 blog post for the Open Convergence Initiative. Those lounge areas would open up to a more private space for stalls, each with its own toilet, mirror, sink, diaper changing station, and trash can.
Security cameras would be pointed toward the entrances but would not record activity inside the stalls. The stalls would have floor-to-ceiling barriers, Phipps noted, providing extra privacy for their users.
"Forgive me if this comes off sounding a bit 'limbic,' but I've had about as much as I can take of the 'anti-transgender-people-in-bathrooms' discussion," Phipps wrote in the blog post, titled "Bathroom Solutions."
"We are a brilliant people. We are not golems. We've split the atom. We've spliced the gene. We've flown into space and built great-big-awesome things. You're telling me that we can't envision a bathroom scenario that works for everyone?"
According to Phipps, building owners could make space for his proposed roomier, more private bathrooms by eliminating the idea of gender-separate bathrooms altogether, and using the freed-up space for unisex restrooms.
The pastor wrote that "anyone with half a brain could have dreamed [the bathroom idea] up in a matter of minutes," but he doesn't include any plan to pay for the millions of bathroom renovations that would need to take place. He did note, however, that the idea could be lucrative for anyone who implements it, earning them "awards, praise, even millions of dollars."
Phipps said solving the bathroom debate is a spiritual and social justice issue.
"The church should be at the very forefront of ideas that promote the dignity, worth, and wellbeing of all people," he wrote, "demolishing debates and discussions that don't get to the real subject at hand."