First no talking, then no texting, and now, perhaps, no gender-specific bathrooms.
The 13-state Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is seeking a build a gender-neutral restroom model for at least one of its new locations.
CEO Tim League — who famously adopted a strict policy banning any disruptive behavior in his theaters — posted a suggested blueprint design (below) for the chain’s latest location in Austin, Texas on Facebook, and solicited customer feedback. The prints show that instead of separate bathrooms for men and women, Alamo will have a communal urinal section and a second section containing a series of individual private toilet-and-sink stalls.
“The issue of gender neutral restrooms has gotten a bit… heated,” League wrote. “Instead of taking sides on whether or not sexual predators will be invading the restrooms of our stores or public schools, we’ve been thinking about what an inclusive commercial gender-neutral restroom design might look like so that these challenges are not even part of the dialogue … The consensus was that we’d have a room with ‘standing’ toilets (heck, we’re even looking at those all-gender urinals) and individual rooms with sinks, mirrors and trash cans in each room, our ‘seated’ toilet area. I don’t want to have any ‘men’ or ‘women’ signs in the building.”
League later updated his post after seeing some of the reactions to the plan on Twitter, adding, “A clarification on the gender-neutral bathroom thread (there was some interesting discussion on Twitter that prompted this clarification). My intent on the previous post was to discuss architectural design details for the proposed bathroom. But as to ‘taking sides,’ I have taken a side. My side is that bigotry and the associated violence and/or shaming stemming from your choice of stall is unacceptable. But changing that mindset is likely going to take a long time. My hope is that by changing the design of restrooms we can in the meantime avoid some potential violence.”
Last year, Fast Company named the Texas-based Alamo chain one of the five most innovative companies in the world, alongside the likes of Marvel and Netflix. In addition to spearing the no talk-no text movement and doing unique fan-friendly theater programming, Alamo has taken high-profile stances on other controversial topics, such as supporting Sony’s The Interview despite threats against theaters showing the film, and also allowing underage patrons to watch Michael Moore’s R-rated Where to Invade Next.