Welcome to We’re taking web innovations and applying them to a very real problem facing many in our society — harassment, violence and discrimination in public restrooms.

The goal of the project is to create a resource where people who do not feel comfortable with traditional public restrooms can find safe alternatives, and to support advocacy and research to further the cause of gender free, inclusive bathrooms. The service aims to be accessible from a variety of mediums (computer, cell phone browser, maybe even a call-in number?).

This probably will seem a stretch for Friday, when I usually post something having to do with writing or language, but I like this mash-up so much to make it a special exception. I not at all sure how to write about this, it’s both strange and wonderfully progressive simultaneously. It’s good writing, too; they get the tone just right, which is pretty rare in many leftist circles.

I guess it is only strange if you have never had this problem, or never thought of it. Come to think of it, I did have this problem back in the 70s and early 80s when I had long hair. “This project was put together by and is often maintained by a genderqueer hackers collective,” the website says, “with a sense of humor and some anarchist tendencies.” Exactly.

I found the site by reading Annalee Newitz’s article, “Peeing By Design,” on AlterNet. Her blog is Techsploitation. Lots of good writing over there too.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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