Pentagon DADT Report Dismisses 'Stereotypes' About Predatory Gays in Bathroom and Shower Facilities
One of the main scare tactics used by conservatives opposed to repeal is the specter of "predatory" gays in shower and restroom facilities. Common sense prevails in the Pentagon report (p. 13)
Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype— that gay men and lesbians will behave as predators in these situations, or that permitting homosexual and heterosexual people of the same sex to shower together is tantamount to allowing men and women to shower together. However, common sense tells us that a situation in which people of different anatomy shower together is different from a situation in which people of the same anatomy but different sexual orientations shower together. The former is uncommon and unacceptable to almost everyone in this country; the latter is a situation most in the military have already experienced. Indeed, the survey results indicate 50% of Service members recognize they have already had the experience of sharing bathroom facilities with someone they believed to be gay.
This is also a situation resembling what now exists in hundreds of thousands of college dorms, college and high school gyms, professional sports locker rooms, police and fire stations, and athletic clubs around the nation. And, as one gay former Service member told us, to fit in, co-exist, and conform to social norms, gay men have learned to avoid making heterosexuals feel uncomfortable or threatened in these situations.
More later on (p. 141)
Here again, we are convinced that separate bathroom facilities would do more harm than good to unit cohesion and would be impracticable to administer and enforce. Concerns about showers and bathrooms are based on a stereotype—that gay men and lesbians will behave in an inappropriate or predatory manner in these situations. As one gay former Service member told us, to fit in, co-exist, and conform to social norms, gay men have learned to avoid making heterosexuals feel uncomfortable or threatened in situation such as this. The reality is that people of different sexual orientation use shower and bathroom facilities together every day in hundreds of thousands of college dorms, college and high school gyms, professional sports locker rooms, police and fire stations, and athletic clubs.