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Technology Quells Restroom Privilege

A new app called Refuge Restrooms provides transgender, intersex, genderqueer, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals a position based resource to find safe bathrooms to use near their location. The tagline for the app says, “Sometimes life is tough, find refuge,” a statement that rings true for many sectors of the LGBTQ+ community.

Most people never have to think about the privilege of being able to go into a bathroom to handle personal business.

However, for many individuals who may not fit into the binary of gender and do not have cis-privilege, fear the possibility of being harassed by a stranger just by entering a restroom. For this reason, Refuge Restrooms firmly believes “that everybody has the right to use the restroom in safety.”

When it came to choosing a name for the app, Refuge, as referred to in short, wanted the name to have the same dignity they felt their users deserved. According to their bio, Refuge “quite simply hoped to provide a place of refuge in your time of need,” giving their users their rights back one bathroom at a time.

There used to be an app called Safe2Pee that provided a large list of locations for gender neutral bathrooms in large metropolis cities. Unfortunately, this app has been discontinued. Thankfully, Refuge picks up the torch where Safe2Pee left off, making this valuable resource available to those who find themselves in need of a place to pee safely.

Users can search for restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, as well as comment and rate existing listings. Refuge seeks to create a community focused not only on finding existing safe restroom access but also looking forward and participating in restroom advocacy for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming folk.

A question that comes up often is “Why it is big deal about restrooms anyway?” and “Why do we need this resource?”

One of the biggest hardships transgender individuals’ face is the fight for transgender rights, which can be exemplified through restroom accessibility and representations. It seems that every other week a transgender child is made the center of a national news story because they used the restroom assigned to the gender they identify with. Every transgender person should have the right to use the restroom they want to, specifically one that is specific for them and not just a form of settling.

Refuge realizes that despite legislative victories in recent years regarding restroom usage, many transgender individuals still face both verbal and physical harassment simply for using the restroom. Nobody should have to face that, and that is why they created this comprehensive and accommodating resource.

You can watch the video here to get a more visual look at how the app works.

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