Last weekend I went to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room which is fairly new to Seattle. I was excited to see how they roasted the coffee beans and created the different brews. All my friends have raved about it and I even know some people who go every weekend. What I didn’t expect, was to be more interested in the restrooms.
I was confused while I was walking towards the restroom and saw people do a double take. Stopping in their tracks and looking around dumbfounded. When I got closer I realized why: Starbucks had unisex restrooms! You wait in line with everyone else until one of the many large stalls opened up– and this idea was so foreign to people they awkwardly looked at each other to verify that they were allowed to be standing there. You might not understand why I am so excited about this but I have a reason why. When I was in college, I was taking classes in the dance department. One day between classes I was sitting at a bench outside the restrooms and a faculty member was giving a new student a tour of the facilities. I was watching the student stop in her tracks and say “The restrooms are unisex?” She went on to tell a story about growing up and people questioning which restroom she should be allowed to use. I don’t want to share the personal story in detail, but instead this learning: Creating a space that is cognizant of diversity allows people to be comfortable and thrive. You will never understand what this entails until you learn about the trials and tribulations of all walks of life. I would never have looked at a restroom the way I do now if I had never heard that story. I still have a long way to go until I even begin to understand how she feels in those situations but I hope it helps me start to create a better world for her.