Navy introduces gender neutral bathrooms

In a rather thoughtful move, the navy announced last week that they will no longer have urinals on several of their aircraft carriers. One of their many reasons for doing this includes gender parity, or rather, potty parity. The hope is to create a more gender neutral environment. Sounds like a pretty uncontroversial move, but there’s no easy way to put it–bathrooms piss people off.

John Hudson rounds up some choice quotes around the new Navy policy at the Atlantic,

“Navy is getting way too politically correct,” wrote Steve Mcgaha in a thread on The Navy Times, an independent news source for sailors and their families. “Let’s get back to projecting sea power … and get rid of the NANNY NAVY.” Others were worried about the logistical implications. “Great. As if there weren’t enough pissed-on toilet seats on Aircraft Carriers,” wrote Matt Metz on the same Navy Times thread. “I guess actual warfighting is pretty low on the list in today’s big bucks, PC, diversity is our strength … Navy,” wrote Orville Seybert. In perhaps the most novel argument, Navy vet Timothy Ritchie argued that urinals aren’t actually gender-specific. “In Europe all gender-neutral bathrooms have urinals. It is a matter of sanitation. And believe it or not even a female can use a properly placed urinal with a bit of practice.”

It’s true, I could totally use a urinal–if I just tried harder, aimed better and didn’t mind potentially falling over into a puddle of urine. It completely makes sense that it’s easier for me to use a urinal, than it is for someone standing to not get any on the seat. (O, wait, that makes no sense).

How will they survive without those completely clean and never stinky bowls of waste matter?!

Joking aside–for whatever reason many adults crave the gender divisions of kindergarten when it comes to using the potty. As we’ve seen in many discussions here, bathrooms seem to be a visceral symbol for people that there is a concrete and solid distinction between genders and messing with them, messes with the social order of things. Who knew a potty could have so much power?

Not all the comments around the decision are negative–some feel it does just make sense for a variety of reasons,

The urinal policy also gained traction on Military News, an aggregator of defense news,, a website devoted to the military community. But it wasn’t all negative. Joey McGuire, a nuclear machinist in the Navy, shrugged off the decision. “We didn’t have any urinals on the Nimitz,” he said, referring to the Navy’s nuclear-powered supercarriers. “I don’t see what the big deal is.” At, a few commenters noted the maintenance benefits of not having urinals. Shylano wrote: “That is good news. Less things to clean.” Jagges added, “On my deployment on the Whidbey Island, they had most of the urinals removed because they are a pain to maintain. We had one in our head but it broke all the time. Too many people put dip or something in it and it would clog and make a mess.” Commenter SGTRJB took the new policy as a challenge. “I have toilets at home and have no problem. I can still stand and practice my marksmanship. Anything floating in the water instantly becomes the battleship Yamato or a new Chinese Aircraft Carrier.”

It’s kind of hard to see what the big deal is or why people would be upset about getting rid of urinals (they stink!). Having toilets generally gives you more privacy for anyone using the bathroom–no more worrying about “accidentally” looking over at your neighbor while they pee!

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