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Separate But Equal: Palm Coast Sidesteps Transgender Bathroom Bind With Private Facilities

| May 16, 2016

transgender bathrooms palm coast

Public family restrooms give parents the option of letting their children use facilities unaccompanied, knowing no one else would be in the room. Such restrrooms have become a means of sidestepping the issue of equal-access to public restrooms by transgender people, at least in government’s perspective. (Peter Dutton)

It was a routine discussion about one of the three most routine acts—eating and sleeping being the others—that human beings without exception engage in every day: using restrooms.


Visitors to the Indian Trails Sports Complex have had a difficult time finding facilities other than the ones toward the south end of the big complex. And joggers, walkers and cyclists at the east end of Town Center have had no public facilities to speak of. So Palm Coast government city, for a little over $500,000, will be building large new facilities at both locations, the latter also benefiting the new site of the Palm Coast Arts Foundation.

The Palm Coast City Council heard a brief presentation on the proposal last week. It’s expected to give its formal approval Tuesday. But during last week’s discussion, one question proved inevitable, given the current obsession by some state lawmakers in North Carolina to again make equal access to public facilities less equal in certain circumstances, and the federal government’s intervention in the fray, to warn governments across the country not to follow North Carolina’s example.

“So not to bring this up, I really don’t want to,” Palm Coast council member Steven Nobile said, “when we do stuff like this with restrooms, are we prepared with this new transgender stuff? I heard ‘family restroom,’ and that’s the common sense idea, is to have, you know, a place where people can go if they’re uncomfortable going to the bathroom of their gender, you know, there’s still a place, but to let them go in, crossing…” Nobile did not—perhaps thankfully—finish his thought.

City Manager Jim Landon spared him the trouble. City Hall, for example, has a couple of bathrooms that are single-stall, private bathrooms, Landon said, “not just because of the national news and things, but, you know, in today’s world, you have kids, and I know I experienced that with my granddaughter, too old to go into the men’s, but just to say, well, I’m waiting out here—so if you have one of these that, whether you in with them or not but you know they’re in there by themselves, very important.”

Put another way: the city did not build-in private bathrooms with transgender persons in mind, but has come to see such facilities, at least in the city manager’s perspective, as providing at least a means of getting around the issue of providing facilities for all.

“So any of our facilities now, whether it’s going to be these or in buildings, we’re going to have at least one of those to give people that little extra,” Landon said. “It does add to the cost. But it is huge, very popular.”

“They’re gender-neutral,” council member Jason DeLorenzo, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said.

The private-public bathrooms don’t necessarily close the matter, which is an issue of equal access not on government’s terms, but on the terms of individuals who feel they should have the right to use the bathroom of their choice, according to the way they define their gender. That means if a transgender person who identifies as a man but was born a woman wants to use the men’s room, that’s his right, whether a private bathroom is also available on the premises or not.

Two years ago some Florida legislators attempted to ban the use of public bathrooms by transgender persons who identify differently from their birth gender. The measure advanced through several committees before it was killed. But a similar measure became law in North Carolina this year, and measures like it are emerging in other state legislatures at at other levels of local government, even in Florida.

The Marion County School Board on April 26, for example, passed by a 4-1 vote a measure to prohibit transgender students from using the bathrooms of their choice, requiring them to use the bathrooms of their gender at birth. The measure passed despite strong opposition from the school superintendent.

“Requiring transgender boys, who are known to all their peers as boys, to use the girls’ rooms,” Equality Florida, the LGBT advocacy organization, said in a statement, “and requiring transgender girls, who are known to all their peers as girls, to use the boys’ rooms, is not a viable policy because it singles out transgender students in a demeaning and humiliating way.”

On May 12, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights stating that Marion’s policy violates federal anti-discrimination law. The complaint was filed on behalf of a transgender student who was suspended for using a restroom consistent with his gender identity days after the Marion County School Board changed the district policy.

“The school district was warned that preventing transgender students from living their lives consistent with their gender identities was harmful to students and illegal,” stated Daniel Tilley, ACLU of Florida staff attorney who is representing the student. “Within days of passing their harmful anti-transgender policy, a student who has been living his life consistent with his gender identity for years is now facing disciplinary action for having done nothing other than use a school bathroom – something students do every day.”

The Flagler County School Board has been particularly sensitive to the issue, educating itself on the matter and, at least so far, taking precautions not to tread on discriminatory territory.

Palm Coast’s bathroom engineering is not addressing the matter directly so much as hoping that, by providing what the government sees as alternatives, any issues would be pragmatically avoided. That cannot stop a transgender person from choosing the bathroom of his or her choice, however.

Looking beyond the transgender issue, the new bathrooms at Indian Trails Sports Complex and in Town Center are to be part of some 28 capital projects under way in the city. Some of them are big, expensive and have high visibility: Holland Park, the Palm Harbor road extension, the second wastewater plant, which together add up to around $50 million. Some are not so big. “Even though they’re little, they do have impact,” Landon said.

At 1500 Central Avenue, site of the arts foundation’s new home, the bathrooms will not be on Central Avenue proper, but behind what will be the outdoors stage of the Palm Coast Arts Foundation. The rest rooms are located there as they will be incorporated with the foundation’s future construction at the site. But the facilities are within a few steps of the Central Avenue sidewalk, easily accessible.

At the Indian Trails Sports Complex, the new rest room facilities will be located on the middle school side, assuming the school district approves: the city has yet to work out that agreement. But it needed the council’s approval first.

The two projects will cost $525,000, starting with an $86,120 work order the council is expected to approve tomorrow.

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21 Responses for “Separate But Equal: Palm Coast Sidesteps Transgender Bathroom Bind With Private Facilities”

  1. LifeNPC says:

    Why not build ALL bathrooms with Stalls only and make the partition go from floor to ceiling? This stops the over looking and peeking under issues and it does not matter what a persons gender is, when they are in the stall they are alone. Then there would be no need for a Men or Women restroom and it would also solve the Line issue. Ironically, the media has made the Transgender Bathroom issue a national topic, however every home I have lived in had a non-gender specific bathroom. My Son is waiting for my daughter to get out of it right now.

  2. George Chambers says:

    Excellent idea. No ones beliefs or rights get stepped on. I’m all for it.

  3. PCer says:

    Much like concealed carry…. I don’t care what you have, just don’t whip it out and point it at me.

  4. Dave says:

    Pretty much agree LifeNPC but these are not our homes where our children respect each other. With a world full of perverts and child molesters its difficult at best to put everyone on the honor system. It only takes one abduction or an assault to make this a horrid news event. I wish the world was a better place where topics like this took a backdoor to terror , drug addiction, cancer, autism but unfortunately its not.

  5. Skittles says:

    Restroom Police………It will put honest, trustworthy citizens back to work.

  6. PalmCoastResident says:

    I’ll admit that I’m a card carrying Democrat, fairly liberal, believe that the Government should stay out of my personal business. With all of that, however, I disagree with the ACLU, Gavin Grimm of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and the Obama Administration regarding “transgender” bathrooms.

    First, whether some people want to admit it or not, there are physical differences between men and women. This means that physical facilities can be gender specific. At the moment, men can use a device called a “urinal.” These devices are cheaper than stalls, require less water (in some cases zero water), and take up less space than stalls. The use of urinals allows more “toilets” in a bathroom and reduces water usage. The issue of gender specific restrooms or only gender neutral restroom has a financial and ecological impact, which is significant when viewed en masse (as opposed to a single-family home).

    Second, the gender specific bathrooms are supported by previous court cases, with the court finding that the interested of the transgendered are outweighed by the interest for privacy and decency.

    Third, “transgender” is a PC term for a mental disorder: Gender Identity Disorder. Recently, the APA created “Gender Dysphoria” as the condition when gender identity causes stress/discomfort. In other words, the allowing individuals to use the bathroom of their gender identity, rather than their physical gender, is accommodating a mental illness. As I said at the beginning, I’m in favor of the government staying out of my personal business, so I have no issue with those with Gender Identity Disorder, but I don’t want to give up my privacy to accommodate a mental illness. Transgendered individuals “feel” as though their body is not correct, and want to live based on their perception of who they physically should be. We’ve seen a similar case of this: Rachel Dolezal. She claimed to be black, even though she wasn’t; She was run out of office for that difference.

    To put this last reason in some other context, I am not tall, but if I claimed that I should be treated as though I was 6’2″ because I “feel like a 6’2″ individual trapped in a shorter body,” would my driver’s license list my height as 6’2″? If a teen claimed that he “feels like a 22 year old trapped in a 16 year old body,” would he be allowed to buy beer? Just because we may identify with physical characteristics different than our actual physical characteristics, doesn’t mean that the rest of humanity should accommodate that alternate identity. Refusing to accept reality and instead acting on an alternate reality is considered delusional. I’m fine with people being delusional (we all are to some extent) but an individual’s delusions should not eliminate my right to privacy as I use a restroom.

  7. YankeeExPat says:

    I cannot continue to live with the shame any longer!

    I want to apologize to those individuals that I may have offended or denied their right to Freedom of Association.

    But the Die is cast (Alea iacta es!), and I need to own up and face the consequences!

    If You were in the Surf on the South side of the Flagler Pier on Saturday May 14 at 11.30 am, I, the man with the blue and white trunks who kept shivering, was in fact Peeing in the Ocean.

    There, I have confessed and hope that if there are any Priest in the commentary community, that they might acknowledge my Act of Contrition.

    Otherwise, Amen, and pass the Pork chops!

  8. Jim Bob says:

    Let him without a distended bladder cast the first aspersion.

  9. Sherry says:

    North Carolina politicians are stupid, stupid, stupid! Think this through. . . how in the world are they planning on enforcing their completely horrific, ridiculous new law? Are they going to hire thousands of “toilet police” to make sure each customer can provide proof of their birth gender, so that they will be directed to the “correct” toilet?

    Quaking in fear, toting guns and creating laws to “protect” us from THEM. . . you know, all those, perverts, left handed people, rag heads, darkies, whops, chinks, queers, Latinos, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, et al. . . How’s that workin’ for ya?

    What we really need is protection from COMPLETE IDIOTS. . . but I don’t see that happening any time soon. . . they’re breeding like rabbits. . . and being elected by more COMPLETE IDIOTS!

  10. r&r says:

    This is one of the most stupid thing this administration has come up with. With Trump at the wheel we will get some sanity back in this country.

  11. blondee says:

    noooo…. I don’t want to use a stall that a man has just used. Unless they can improve their aim, I’m just holding it til I get home!

  12. Dave says:

    Hey Sherry perverts, child molesters and Child predators are Complete Idiots to.

  13. Ws says:

    Notice how if a person has anorexia which makes them think they are fat even when they are skin and bones they are encouraged to get professional help to help them understand they are not fat but are thin and have an eating disorder. They are not told that it’s okay to to not eat and die. So the transfenders believe they are a man when in fact they are a woman and we are telling them that’s okay and tell them go ahead and dress up as a woman and act like a woman! Hello anybody out there see the resemblence here??

  14. Markingthedays says:

    @dave that’s all we want. ONE recorded case to justify the hysteria

  15. Roger says:

    A Man followed a young girl into a Target bathroom in Texas, saying he self identified as a woman. The man’s teeth where knocked out by the girl’s father who says he self identitfies as the Tooth Fairy !!!

  16. Kathryn says:

    Ws, the only thing connecting those two at all is Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which occurs in trans individuals as well. However, unlike with anorexia/bulimia/assorted eating disorder victims, the gender variant isn’t directly affecting someone’s health. In fact, both of them need prompt treatment because leaving Body Dysmorphic Disorder to do its thing is only going to massively jack up that individual’s chances of committing suicide, especially when you make nasty comments like that to an entire group of people that I doubt you’re familiar with.

    Nice try, though.

  17. wow really says:

    I cannot understand that they think they have the right to a separate bathroom. Give them an outdoor toilet and see how long they want to continue this BS>

  18. dysphoriablues says:

    Kathryn, transgender people do not have “body dysMORphia,” we have gender “dysPHORia.” Those are two unrelated conditions that unfortunately have a similar name, and people often conflate them to paint transgender people as crazy. (I realize you weren’t trying to do that.)

    Gender “dysphoria,” the condition transgender people have, just means “unease” or “distress.” It’s the opposite of the word “euphoria.” Transgender people experience dysphoria because our gender identity, our innate, instinctive sense of being male or female (something all people have, by the way) does not match our anatomy.

    And PalmCoastResident, this does not make us “delusional,” because we /know/ what our anatomical sex is, and we don’t “think we’re the opposite sex.” We’re not looking down and seeing organs that aren’t there or seeing our bodies in some way that clashes with reality, like anorexics.

    There is a physiological aspect to transgenderism. The human brain is sexually dimorphic (there are standard structural differences between male and female brains), and part of that dimorphism creates an individual’s gender identity, as well as their brain-body map. In most people, this internal gender identity lines up with the external anatomy. In transgender people it does not.

    Scientists have studied this. They know through various imaging and other tests that transgender peoples’ brains are structured in certain respects like those of the gender we identify as instead of those typical of our anatomical gender. The most prominent (though still not entirely settled) theory for why is that, when a transgender person is developing in the womb, the series of prenatal hormone washes that is responsible for masculinizing or feminizing the fetus’ body, and then, weeks later, its brain, is disrupted or off-balance. (See: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jcem.85.5.6564 ; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562024 http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/8/1900.full ;
    http://dbm.neuro.uni-jena.de/pdf-files/Luders-NI09-2.pdf ;
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18980961 ). (This is a theory that got an unfortunate boost after oddly large numbers of anatomically male children born of mothers who’d taken the miscarriage-prevention drug diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen, grew up to be transgender.)

    So when a transgender person says something feels “off” about how their head aligns with their body, they are objectively right. There is something structurally different about our brain that causes a misalignment with our anatomical sex, and doctors can see it on certain imaging scans. But that does not mean there’s something inherently defective about our brains, any more than, for instance, a Mac software program could be called defective because it malfunctions when you try to use it on a PC. The problem is in the mismatch, not in the hardware or software itself. For now, there is only one treatment known to cure the condition of gender dysphoria, and that is gender transition (http://www.apa.org/about/policy/transgender.aspx).

    And PalmCoastResident, the reason the APA switched its language from “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria” in the DSM-V was to recognize that there’s nothing inherently wrong with a transgender person’s identity. Once a transgender person transitions, we no longer experience dysphoria and therefore under the new DSM are not considered “mentally ill.”

  19. MarkingTheDays says:

    Just saying….you gave us plenty of examples of children being attacked. It’s true, it happens all the time. But I’m wanting documentation of a man, dressed as a woman, hanging out in the bathroom i’m order to attack little girls.

    The attacks you shared were committed by red blooded American heterosexual men, not by transgender “perverts”.

  20. DefenderOfTheSecond says:

    The solution here is so simple, that it eludes people’s brains because most everyone in today’s society is completely brain dead. First of all, it’s is not, not has it ever been the Federal Governments duty to handle social problems (that’s exactly what this is). That is what a SOCIETY is for. Secondly, please remember that our government is not, never has been, nor will it ever be a democracy. To put the fate of your rights into the government beauracrats is utterly stupid. Our government is of the people, for the people.

    But is always amazing the people we have in this world who throw safety to the wind, so long as they don’t hurt someone’s feelings. It’s high time that we get back to the basics. Also, don’t forget that Judgement Day will come, and whether you like it or not, you will be judged. Just as I know each and every one of you (some more than others) are judging me, God is doing the same for you.

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