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Monday, May 12, 2008

Separate Bathrooms and Showers for Gay Students

posted by on May 12 at 10:24 AM

Is Idaho’s Walt Bayes just another Republican homophobe running for office? Or is this candidate a highly-placed operative of the international homosexual conspiracy?

Homosexual and heterosexual students should have separate bathrooms and showers in Idaho schools, a Wilder Republican running for the Idaho House said Friday.

Walt Bayes, who gained notoriety two years ago by going on an anti-abortion hunger strike that lasted 59 days, said he wasn’t sure how the issue could be handled other than providing different facilities for gay and straight students in schools.

The topic came up after Bayes mentioned it in his campaign literature, where he wrote, “It is absolutely wrong to force any student to share the same bathrooms and showers with homosexual teachers or students.” … Bayes said that when he was 18 it would have been “an absolute catastrophe” for him to have showered with girls.


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i love this man, i love this man, i love this man!!!!! what a fucking brilliant idea. it makes me want to go back and actually finish high school.

Posted by adrian | May 12, 2008 10:49 AM

I'd like a Democrat bathroom, please.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 12, 2008 10:51 AM

I wanna know what the symbol on that door would look like.

Posted by Greg | May 12, 2008 10:54 AM

And what about the transgendered children?

Posted by orangekrush | May 12, 2008 11:00 AM
Bayes said that when he was 18 it would have been “an absolute catastrophe” for him to have showered with girls.
Sounds like my big fantasy when I was 18. Or today, for that matter...

I wonder why he might want a separate bathroom for gays. Can't think of a reason... not a single one... nope...

Posted by Chris B | May 12, 2008 11:00 AM

I don't mean to sound homophobic here. But honestly, can gay guys not understand that some reasonable straight men just don't want to be naked around them? Most people are prudish about being naked in front of any stranger, be it a gay man or a straight woman, who could see their nudity as something sexual. Why bother having separate mens and womens locker rooms if we're just going to throw the straights and the homos in together anyway?

I'm just asking, from a devil's advocate perspective.

Posted by Matthew | May 12, 2008 11:07 AM

Matthew, get over it. You have always showered among gay people whenever you've used communal showers. You may not have always known it, but it has been going on all your life. It is only knowing about it that squiggs you out. And that is your problem, not mine.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 12, 2008 11:16 AM

I understand, Matthew -- because, you see, I'm uncomfortable undressing around other gay men. Hell, I'm uncomfortable in locker rooms full of straight naked men.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 12, 2008 11:17 AM

@3 it would be:


Posted by kelly | May 12, 2008 11:18 AM

I imagine Larry Craig would support this proposal.

Posted by DOUG. | May 12, 2008 11:19 AM

If you don't want to see naked old men, don't go to the IMA.

But really, I'm all for public nudity, particularly if we can get all the city's oldest, fattest, saggiest, and hairiest citizens to parade around nude daily. Considering how much people bitch about stupid shit like thongs, muffin tops, public nose picking, etc., the silence after all their heads exploded would be a welcome relief.

Posted by Greg | May 12, 2008 11:23 AM

@6 It's because people don't want to feel like they're different. If you're the only gay kid at a school, and everyone else is in the other shower making soap on a rope jokes and you're the only one in yours, you'd feel kinda bad.
The only exceptions for separate but equal are currently either the unavoidable ones (handicaps), or gender-based.
The person who does have a point in this scenario is actually the Republican. Some straight people wouldn't want to shower with girls, because of the awkwardness in both directions, and maybe some gay people want to have their own shower for the same reason. But I definitely don't think the interests of the straight kids should really be much of a factor here... plenty of people don't want to shower with a black dude either, does that mean that if enough people want him in the other shower, he has to leave?

Here's how I see it: If people had the option to go to the other shower, and it was purely voluntary, then that could be nice for everyone. But pure separate but equal isn't going to work, ever.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | May 12, 2008 11:24 AM

That Casper Van Dien sure is hot.

Posted by Bub | May 12, 2008 11:33 AM

Being forced to not shower with girls was indeed very oppressive when I was eighteen, just as being unable to shower with Dina Meyer has oppressed me in later years.

Posted by Fnarf | May 12, 2008 11:33 AM

If it's not broke don't fix it. There's no getting around the hatefulness of this idea.

That being said, I'm thinking of how it would be if I moved to some scandinavian country and had coed locker rooms. My eyes might be locked onto my toes in a desperation.

OTOH, maybe that's stupid, I've spent time on nude beaches and you notice the occasional naked hottie but you just deal and don't drool/gawk and be respectful. It's not like I don't notice hotties in bikinis and have to go through the whole no gawk/drool process.

Maybe it's because the nude beach was full of hippies whereas the gym is full of hot yuppies.

Posted by daniel | May 12, 2008 11:33 AM

To Polarity @7:

Just to be clear, I am personally not afraid of being naked around gay men, but that's only because I don't really care about being naked in front of anybody. As far as I'm concerned, they SHOULD have co-ed locker rooms, just like in Starship Troopers.

I'm just saying, as Dan himself indicates @8, that not everyone is like me. It's perfectly reasonable to be uncomfortable getting naked in front of people who will view your nudity with a sexual eye. And while this Bayes character might very well be just another closeted Republican bigot, he also has a valid point that many people agree with. Do we need legislation to address it? I'd say that's overreacting. And yet it remains the case that for all us guys, straight and gay, to shower together in a non-sexual way involves a pretty elaborate dance of denial.

Posted by Matthew | May 12, 2008 11:34 AM

At Matthew:

What about those gay guys who don't want other gay guys to look at them? Same thing with the lesbians?

What about bisexual guys and girls?


If you want a place where people can feel safe that no one is looking at them when they shower/change, then what you really need is a private bathroom/shower/changing room.

This Walt Baynes didn't suggest that, instead he suggested the homophobic option of segregating gays and straights. If you want privacy than make a truely private place.

Or as a society move on, people aren't trying to get aroused after PE class, no they want to change and get out of their.

Posted by Ramza | May 12, 2008 11:36 AM

I predict he'll be outed as a closeted gay within four years.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 12, 2008 11:37 AM

@12, my earlier post
"But I definitely don't think the interests of the straight kids should really be much of a factor here..."
Replace that with "I definitely think that the interests of the straight kids are not a priority."
Certainty! Definitiveness!

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | May 12, 2008 11:38 AM

The thing is that if they had a separate locker room for gays, then straight guys like Matthew - guys who are freaked out about gay men seeing their junk - might not realize that there will still be some men attracted to men in there. Because, y'know, gay and bi men don't necessarily wear tattoos or pink stars or anything to distinguish themselves.

Whether your unease is justified or not, Matthew, it's a hopeless cause. Sorry.

Posted by tsm | May 12, 2008 11:39 AM

17 and 20...please see my comment @16. Thanks

Posted by Matthew | May 12, 2008 11:53 AM

I think all Idaho public facilities should have segregated restrooms for Larry Craig.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 12, 2008 12:00 PM

Come on. How bad a guy can Matthew be? He mentioned Starship Troopers in a discussion about changing rooms!

Posted by Gloria | May 12, 2008 12:01 PM

@Matthew 21

as I said in my post (number 17) his suggestion doesn't fix the problem. Pretty much only making private stalls will fix the problem (everyone doesn't need a private stall, just a few so people who are offended can segregate themselves).

Thing is this person didn't suggest a solution to fix his problem, instead he suggested what he did. There are two reasons why he could have suggested it.

1) He doesn't see the flaw in his solution, which means he is an idiot.
2) He doesn't really care about fixing the problem, instead he suggest the solution to fix another problem he didn't state, or to attack a certain group of people.

Now is number 1 or 2 more likely? You are the devil's advocate, you tell me.

Posted by Ramza | May 12, 2008 12:02 PM

See, what my high school needed was a separate shower for the fat kids. Unfortunately, I was the only one. Boy, that was a lot of fun.

Posted by Jason Josephes | May 12, 2008 12:10 PM

The shower scene in Starship Troopers is NSFMP...not safe for my pants!


Posted by michael strangeways | May 12, 2008 12:12 PM

um we would still use the straight locker rooms. or at least i would. make of that what you will and deal with it appropriately.

Posted by brandon | May 12, 2008 12:12 PM

everyone gets their own individual shower room. like at a state park bathroom. problem solved.

Posted by max solomon | May 12, 2008 12:25 PM

I think it basically hits at the nerve at the source of all homophobia; straight guys are afraid gay guys lust after them. Our social system based on gender dichotomy breaks down under the presence of homosexuality. Sure you could separate homo from hetero to keep the heteros "safe," but then homo would need to be separated from itself. Thus, by that logic, a gay man and a lesbian would be "safe" sharing the bathroom/shower together. It essentially boils down to unrealistic absurdity.

The bright hope of this cultural trend is to motivate straight men to rethink how they look at women as they come to terms with their fear of their own objectification by the gays around them.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | May 12, 2008 12:26 PM

joshua, if i re-evaluate how i look at women enough, will they let me shower with them?

i thought not.

Posted by max solomon | May 12, 2008 12:29 PM

So where did that picture come from? What movie? I can't think of it.

Posted by Question | May 12, 2008 12:33 PM

I never had this problem, as 9th grade was the last time I ever participated in P.E. I was the towel boy which was gross but not as gross as exposing my couldn't-do-a-single-pullup, 19.8-second-100-yard-dash-running self to more ridicule.

Posted by Fnarf | May 12, 2008 12:36 PM

@ 29 Great post. I agree completely!

As a result, if true, what should happen is that we basically admit that showering and nudity in general shouldn't be considered a sexual issue thereby allowing for the possibility of completely mixed gender showers at all times.

Exactly like how most European (including Germany/Scandanavia) spas currently are configured.

This damn country needs to stop equating simple nudity with sexuality.

Posted by Reality Check | May 12, 2008 12:37 PM

31: Starship Troopers dude.

Posted by Jay | May 12, 2008 1:10 PM

@33 Yeah, cause Europe is COMPLETELY enlightened about sexuality. That's why horny Italian men take pictures up women's skirts with their cell phones on buses. (Happened to me.)

Look, as a straight female, I'm not even comfortable with showering around other straight females. I see nudity as something private, something no one else except those I chose to let get to see. Laying it on the line as "Americans should just grow up" is stupidly simple... it's a complex attitude. For instance, I percieve flaws in my physical apperance. Easy enough to cover those up with clothes; being nude exposes all those flaws. Equating nudity to sex (and thus, something private) means that the other person gets the chance to experience you as a whole, private person... physical and emotional flaws. Exposing just the physical flaws, in, say, a showerroom, means that other people just to judge your physical flaws at a glance without ever speaking to you.

@29 Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it a big hot notion in the gay community that straight males sudden "discover" they're actually queer? (To be fair, a similar notion exists in the female community-HOW many romance novels involve a Greecian or Euro MAN MAN, usually rich and usually highly sexual?) It's obviously a sterotype, but isn't there a small grain of truth in there?

Posted by Marty | May 12, 2008 1:33 PM

Mathew, while I'm sure you're a very nice looking person, it might be interesting for you to know that not all gay men are attracted to you, or think of you in a sexual manner.

Think of it this way: Are you attracted to everything with a vagina? Do you regard all biological women you encounter as potential sexual partners?

During my youth in Iowa, where we had PE everyday, and I played on sports teams, and was in a Drum & Bugle Corps that traveled around all summer, and later in college with communal showers, I had occasion to see literally thousands of naked guys. Believe me, I did *not* regard more than a dozen or so sexually attractive - and I was a tramp.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | May 12, 2008 1:46 PM

Catalina @ 36:
The reason I feel relatively comfortable being nude in front of people at the gym is not because I think everyone is hot for me...far from it. I'm not blind, for God's sake. I see what's in the mirror. I have body issues and flaws just like most people. At the end of the day though, I just don't give that much of a shit...for the most part, bodies are bodies and what's the use getting fixated on it? Let me just shower and get on with my life.

And like I said, I would have no problem with a co-ed locker room situation, because I realize that nudity, in and of itself, is boring after awhile. Nudity only becomes sexualized when the norm is being dressed.

However, I can't vilify someone who feels a little less secure about the situation for whatever reason. This society gives us way too many reasons to feel ashamed for me to blame anyone for their relative modesty.

Posted by Matthew | May 12, 2008 2:30 PM

Could we please get lube dispensers in there too. I'm damn tired of using spit.

Posted by Vince | May 12, 2008 3:27 PM

In Japan, which is one of the most sex-segregated modern societies, as well as extremely conservative about public sexual matters, many many restrooms (especially in rural areas) are coed. The women avert their eyes as they pass the urinals to get to the stalls. And many of the public baths at resorts are coed as well. I think the real reason most women want separate restrooms is so that they don't have to sit on a toilet that men with poor aim have peed all over. And if a straight man doesn't want to have gay men looking at him in the shower, doesn't that make him, well, a bit of a sissy?

Posted by abc | May 12, 2008 4:51 PM

@39: Women in Japan also want separate facilities to avoid chikan.

Posted by Greg | May 12, 2008 4:53 PM

I worry about all of the secret gay guys hanging around in the locker room at my local YMCA, and that's why I always cover my special purpose with a plastic grocery sack. After I've gotten dressed, I pull it out of the zipper hole of my pants and flush it down the toilet, or just throw it out the car window on the drive home. (Ewww! Weiner germs!)

Wouldn't a separate bathroom in a h.s. for the gay students just lead to more beatings & bullying? This Repuglican politician just might have that in mind.

BTW, gym class? In school? I thoght that had vanished in about half of the states in the union in the mid 1990's. In the name of... acadamic rigor? Really. Ha.

Posted by CP | May 12, 2008 5:13 PM

Now I can't find the comment to credit...

But I really think the best analogy is blacks being excluded. After much toil and trouble, that is FINALLY against the law.

But it's fine for gays to be excluded??

Yeah - guess so. After all, the armed forces do it...

I can't ever run for political office - because attitudes like those expressed by Walt Bayes make me ashamed to be an American. Or a Christian.

Posted by Ayden | May 12, 2008 6:16 PM

Maybe they could add a 3rd bathroom for closet cases like Bayes.

Posted by Joy | May 12, 2008 6:44 PM

And how about separate rope swings for nudists?! What with all the MRSA going around...

Posted by CP | May 13, 2008 7:08 PM

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