A mark of social innovation

Montreal gets a new city pool. And guess what!

New Montreal City Pool Will Have Just One Changing Room & It Will Be Gender Neutral

There will only be one changeroom, and it will be for everyone.

Well, no it won’t be for everyone, because of the people who don’t want to change in front of people of the opposite sex.

  • The City of Montreal has announced new plans for the forthcoming Rosemont Aquatic Complex.
  • Most notabl[e] is the decision to opt for one, universal change room instead of two, gendered change rooms.
  • The hope is that the decision will increase accessibility and optimize space.

Why would the decision increase accessibility? What are they thinking? What people are kept out of municipal swimming pools by “gendered” change rooms?

Most notable, perhaps, is the city’s decision to opt for only one, universal change room, instead of the traditional dual changerooms that serve males and females, respectively.

According to TVA Nouvelles, this decision was, in part, championed by Nathalie Goulet, head of social inclusion for the executive committee of the City of Montreal.

Ahhh, social inclusion – social inclusion via forcing people to take their clothes off in the presence of people of the opposite sex. People who don’t want to do that are excluded, but I guess they don’t matter?

For Goulet, this decision is a mark of social innovation and a move toward social gains that she feels significantly outweigh the financial investments required.

Yes, it’s innovation, but how does that make it a good thing? What social gains is she expecting? What about the people who won’t want to use that pool, or won’t want to let their children use that pool, especially if their children are girls?

Apparently, the president of The Association of Aquatic Managers of Quebec, Lucie Roy, is also on board. Roy feels the decision promotes accessibility, optimizes space and still manages to preserve privacy.

I’m still not getting the “promotes accessibility” part (because they’re still not explaining it, just saying it). Female and male changing rooms are accessible – there’s nothing about being for one sex or the other that makes a changing room inaccessible. Or are they thinking this meets a need of “non-binary” people? But even if you think “non-binary” people have a real need for all-genders changing rooms, which I don’t, it’s still bizarre to put their needs ahead of the surely far more people who don’t want to take their pants off in public.

The universal change rooms will consist of:

  • 18 closed stalls that include a shower and a changing section
  • 6 closed stalls without a shower
  • 12 washroom stalls, which can serve as changerooms
  • 3 open showers with soap
  • 2 showers on the pool deck
  • several lockers, both full and half size
  • a storage room for school and other groups

The problem jumps out, doesn’t it – those three open showers. No thank you! Also how closed are the closed stalls? All the way closed? Or open enough so that those fun guys who like to sneak their phones under or over the partition can get their dirty movies? It makes a difference.

Patrons will be required to remain clothed unless in a closed change room, shower or bathroom stall. The open showers with soap are noted as “no nudity,” on the city’s website.

How lovely, and who’s going to monitor and enforce the rule in the three open showers?

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