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The "Ethics" of AB's using the handicapped washroom

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    The "Ethics" of AB's using the handicapped washroom

    This guy writes a weekly article on ethics. See 2nd Question: http://www.thestar.com/article/544941

    Last week he espoused that it is perfectly acceptable for Ab's to use the disabled washroom / stall.

    Is it? I always thought it was a faux pas... Perhaps this guy needs to be corrected.

    Q: My church installed new washrooms to replace the cesspools we used to have. They are lovely, but I prefer the handicapped washroom because it offers more privacy. I'm not handicapped, so when I emerge I often get dirty looks. There's never anyone using the handicapped washroom, but still I feel guilty using it. Should I?

    A: Nope. You don't need a sticker to use a handicapped washroom – if you did, I'm not exactly sure where you'd stick it.

    The wheelchair symbol on a parking space has a specific meaning: "Reserved for people with a recognized disability." But that's the only place it has that meaning. On buildings, the wheelchair sign designates that the facility is suitable for use by persons with a disability – not reserved for such persons.

    Modifying buildings to be "barrier-free" is expensive, so there's an important principle here. The expense is justified, in part, by the fact that many different kinds of people benefit from the changes. Parents with kids in strollers enjoy the ease of push-button doors and threshold-free passageways – and baby change tables are installed in "handicapped" washrooms because there's more room to use them. For many reasons, people may find an elevator easier than stairs. A good sound system benefits everyone, not just the hard of hearing.

    If there's a lineup at the door of the barrier-free bathroom, let the nice lady in the wheelchair go first; you have more options than she does. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy a guilt-free moment without listening to the ruminations in the stall next door.

    Send your questions directly to

    Ken Gallinger at ethical@sympatico.ca.

    #2
    I don;t have a problem w/ it, if the other stalls are all busy, but as soon as someone who NEEDS it enters, they should be next in line for it. What is annoying is waiting for someone to get out of the big stall, when the others are empty and available.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

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      #3
      Another conundrum: In places where there are long lines for the restroom, such as at football games or concerts, do you wait in line with everyone else or go to the front and wait for the handicapped stall to be free? Waiting in line can result in an even longer wait, but I sometimes feel bad for cutting.

      I don't have an issue with ABs using the handicapped stall unless it's obvious that someone else needs it.

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        #4
        I think it is OK. Unlike parking spaces, I think of the accessible restrooms as merely universal design. They can accommodate anyone but are reserved for nobody. Just like ramps.

        If there were a line, common courtesy would be for ABs to let someone who needs the accessible space to take it. Just as accessible seating on buses can be used until there is someone with a need onboard.
        Adaptive Sports Forums.com
        http://adaptivesportsforums.com
        Non-commercial adaptive sports user community

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          #5
          They should, but they don't
          TH 12, 43 years post

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            #6
            I went to a department store in the mall the other day and the first thing I see is the baby changing table is in the hc stall. A lot of people see nothing wrong with using the hc stall as a family bathroom. It makes for some long waits sometimes and when time is of the essence....
            Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

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              #7
              My theory:

              The builders always put them as the last stall. Most people wanting to take a crap want as much privacy as possible, even in a public restroom. Move the h/c stall to the first location and people would stop using them as much.
              "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

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                #8
                Originally posted by McDuff View Post
                My theory:

                The builders always put them as the last stall. Most people wanting to take a crap want as much privacy as possible, even in a public restroom. Move the h/c stall to the first location and people would stop using them as much.
                That's a unique thought! lol I'll 2nd it.
                sigpic

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                  #9
                  Here it is the first room and then everybody tries that one first. Not a good idea
                  TH 12, 43 years post

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Clipper View Post
                    In places where there are long lines for the restroom, such as at football games or concerts, do you wait in line with everyone else or go to the front and wait for the handicapped stall to be free?
                    I never queue up for the bathroom. I can only use the accessible stall, so I go straight to the head of the line, period.

                    The fact that legally speaking anyone can use the accessible stall, doesn't change the fact that some of us need it. I believe there is an ethical point to be made here. It is no hardship for someone who doesn't need the stall to use another one. If it was really about universal access, then they would make all of the stalls accessible. They don't, so it is selfish and impolite for people who don't need the stalls to use them when they have other options.

                    C.

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                      #11
                      I've attempted to wait in line at concerts or other public events, highway stops, only to be goaded into going to the front of the line as soon as the handicrapper is free ... the looks that poor person (who is never disabled) gets from the crowd! I learned long ago never to 'expect' anything out of anyone.

                      I don't blame anyone for using one. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go - I don't miss that pain (from the 12yrs that I remember at least). If public places applied universal design and made them ALL bigger and accessible ... but I guess we can't waste square footage on human necessities. But can't we make two? Or three?

                      I hate that it's always just 'one' handicrapper. It seems half the time, that's the one that's out of order! Never fails when you're out with friends drinking (not that I've done THAT in years!)
                      Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                      T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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                        #12
                        Last week I was rude to someone in the bathroom bc of this. She was in the stall, all others were empty. I was talking to another lady while waiting who had to tell me her brother had a disability so I know the girl in there was listening. this other lady was washing her hands. It took this girl forever to get out. I guess she thought I'd give up and leave and save eher from having to face me. She finally comes out and said all the others were taken when I got in here. I just looked at her and said so were all the parking places. I was mean and maybe shouldn't have been. I used to take my kids in there so who am I to fuss. But you don't want toddlers in the bathroom loose while you are going and they can't always fit in with you.
                        If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


                        Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by lynnifer View Post
                          I've attempted to wait in line at concerts or other public events, highway stops, only to be goaded into going to the front of the line as soon as the handicrapper is free ... the looks that poor person (who is never disabled) gets from the crowd! I learned long ago never to 'expect' anything out of anyone.
                          You seriously have a problem with AB people letting you move to front of the line? Why?

                          I don't blame anyone for using one. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go
                          Except that most AB people DON'T need to go ASAP. That's the point. They can plan further ahead than most people with neurogenic bladders. Hence my comments about "need". I don't begrudge anyone who needs the stall. Only those people who selfishly choose the room to stretch out who don't actually need it.

                          Anytime a woman comes out of that stall and apologizes to me, I know that she knows that she screwed up. When I feel particularly grumpy, I point out that mental disabilities don't count.

                          C.

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                            #14
                            I agree with TR. It's not the worst thing ever but it is frustrating when you don't have a choice.

                            One of my favourite bars has a great disabled toilet at the top of the stairs which lead to the AB bathrooms. Because of the stairs many nip in and I'm always forced to wait, bladder bursting with beer, until they come out.

                            I rarely say anything, people are always sheepish and look very embarrassed.

                            In many bars and restaurants they lock the disabled toilet and get you a key when you need it. This used to frustrate me but I realised that these are often the cleanest ones.
                            C5/6 incomplete

                            "I assume you all have guns and crack....."

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                              #15
                              I have made a policy of giving a serve to people who clearly have no right to be in the disabled bathroom ( ie not disabled ,very old , or with kids ).
                              The bottom line for me is that I can no more "hang on" than i can kick a field goal.

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