A big trans* issue is knowing which public bathrooms are safe to use. If you aren’t passing, it can be embarrassing, controversial, or even dangerous to go into the restroom intended for the “opposite” sex. Too often, it’s known that no public bathrooms around are safe to use. REFUGE Restrooms is a mobile-friendly website that lets the user search for trans*-friendly restrooms, in an attempt to make this everyday worry easier to deal with.
“…when I was early in my transition, I didn’t feel comfortable in either bathroom. I no longer felt comfortable in the men’s restroom, but I didn’t feel comfortable in the women’s bathroom either. I felt people’s eyes on me — I felt judgement. I felt like I didn’t “pass enough.” The concept of passing is super problematic in and of itself, but it’s especially hard when it comes to bathroom usage. Many trans folk are left feeling really unsafe. If I go into the women’s room, I might get yelled at. If I go into the men’s room, I might get assaulted.”
REFUGE Restrooms takes up the mantle of defunct site Safe2Pee, which once served the same purpose. So, it’s not a pioneering idea, but it revives a vital service for people who don’t fit neatly into the sensitive and segregated spaces of restrooms.
Input your location, and the site will bring up a list of restrooms deemed safe for trans* individuals. Each listing can be reviewed by users, and while there’s a pretty low level of user interaction so far, it’s good to know there’s the possibility for street-level verification and community.