Safe 2 pee

Those nice folks over at the Bathroom Liberation Front have started a new site, called Safe 2 Pee, dedicated to letting us all know where we can find accessible, gender-neutral bathrooms that are safe for anyone within the queer community.

It may sound silly to most folks, gay or straight, who are non-gender-variant, but finding a safe place to relieve oneself is a right many trans folks are denied. It’s stressful to exist in this world as a queer and/or trans person in general but when it comes down to basic bodily functions you don’t want to have to deal with discrimination or safety. In that strange neither pub nor private space that public bathrooms inhabit it is easy to see how a trans person’s safety can be in jeopardy. This was, perhaps, part of the reason bathrooms were first separated by gender, safety for women, but has, instead made it much harder for many individuals who are never safe in certain bathrooms no matter what their birth gender, or even perceived gender is/was.

Anyhow, the site itself, which perhaps not a wildly exciting design, has the same appealing ease of use, and, coincidentally, accessibility as something like Craigslist. Utilizing mainly text means that users with any kind of connection, even *gasp* dial-up, can still reach the site without waiting forever as their bladders burst. It also appears easily accessed on mobile devices, although I can’t check it myself as I am still waiting to make that leap (I’m itching, but the introduction of the iPhone has me twiddling my thumbs until at least June so I can see what happens there).

The site is available in 85 cities so far and Portland ranks second, behind only San Francisco, as the leader in the pee battle and any user can add a bathroom. There’s even a blog, changelog (so you can see what’s new and updated), and FAQ. It’s a somewhat techie site (although not in a difficult to use way) and so it warms my heart just a little bit more to see other queers fiddling around with computers. The best way to find out more about it is to visit the site, but I’ve also included a short press release below to give a quick overview:

Fed up violence and harassment faced by gender variant people in public bathrooms, a group in the San Francisco Bay Area has launched a web directory known as safe2pee. Having been online for only two weeks, the site has received over 300 bathroom submissions in over 70 cities. “We’ve chosen to incorporate new web technologies,” says Bailey X, a project organizer, “and the response we’ve received from visitors has been overwhelming.” The site features map plots of bathrooms, a tag cloud, information about accessibility and community features including the ability to comment and add pictures. At a time when other projects have disappeared, safe2pee hopes to maintain a legacy by mirroring bathroom data elsewhere. Bailey says that data is licensed under creative commons, and that the group encourages incorporation into research and other projects. Ze says the project has had some unanticipated consequences, “putting a visual representation up has been really interesting. You see posts in forums where cities are starting to compete with one another for the most bathrooms. Everyone wants the biggest tag on the home page.” They add that their web site is not only a valuable resource for those in the gender variant spectrum, but for those seeking bathrooms that are accessible or that meet the needs of families.

1 comment to Safe 2 pee

  • s2p

    hey, thanks for writing this, we just released a mobile version that's compatible with the iphone and google G1 (and hopefully more phones soon). Check it out, the coolest feature is the ability to find nearby bathrooms. click 'nearby' and it will use your GPS to find the closest bathrooms. The beauty of this is that it uses a new web standard and is thus cross-platform so we don't have to create something new for each platform (you can also try it with Google Chrome or Firefox 3.5). or just on your mobile.