This can lead to the spectacle of women standing in line for what feels like forever while the men’s room is empty.
Now transgender people, most prominently, are asking society to rethink all of this, from signs to design to who gets to enter where.
Many people viscerally resist the idea of mixing male and female anatomy in multistall bathrooms and locker rooms.
In Houston earlier this month, voters rejected a broad equal rights ordinance that protected against discrimination in housing and employment, as well as public spaces, on the basis of several categories, including age and race along with sexual orientation and gender identity.
The district refused, saying that ‘‘privacy concerns’’ required sending her to a separate room down the hall.
She and her family brought a civil rights complaint, and the United States Department of Education intervened earlier this month, asking the district to give her the right to shower and change in the same locker room with her female peers.
If you can’t get into one and use it, you can’t work in a building or go to a concert.
Activists for all manner of marginalized groups have chafed at the word ‘‘accommodation.’’ It often sets up a distinction between the normal and the other.
School districts throughout the country have generally agreed to call transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns, and allowed them to join the sports teams of the gender with which they identify.
Any relationship demands that.’’ She thinks transgender people have been doing all the accommodating when it comes to the bathroom.
But for a lot of people, the transgender bid to reconsider norms — the vocabulary, a girl who has a penis — has burst into the public consciousness quickly, and seems bewildering.
One group’s needs determine a basic shape, and then another group comes along and asks to alter the contours.
But the word also allows for the possibility of mutual give and take.