Both nationally and locally, there has been much said and written about the propriety of having separate bathrooms for male and female, where at least a small percentage of the public chooses to consider themselves differently sexed than the perceptions of most would indicate. Where sexual identity reassignment is concerned, it is claimed that business or government entities violate some right when someone identifying with one sex is instructed or compelled to use the bathroom of the other. Leaving the context of government facilities aside, I’ll describe here a solution for the idea and quandary about what private businesses should do by way of providing for any and all preferences.
I propose that whatever happens in government’s realm (not that I would agree with it), no regulation or rule about how bathrooms are assigned should be leveled against a private business. Non-governmental organizations should be completely free to have neutral, gender-assigned or three-tier bathroom facilities as they choose, or to invent their own arrangement unanticipated by activists, the public or by government. Businesses should be able to provide whatever bathroom facilities they wish, and not be sued or regulated otherwise.
The reason that I propose this is the same reason that I oppose the too-big-to-fail sentiment, which states that failing businesses should be bailed out with government funds to protect worker jobs and stockholder assets. As a free market advocate, I do not abide shielding capitalists from any market effect. Depending upon the clientele of any particular business, there is a risk (properly held by the capitalist and no one else) in providing any kind of bathroom facility, since any arrangement will offend someone. Let the capitalists fall (or rise) where they may, and let them attempt to divine what bathroom arrangement will please their clientele the most. If the capitalist makes the wrong decision, his/her business will suffer the consequences. And the consequences of the market are the least forgiving (the clientele will shrink) if the business behaves contrary to the wishes of its patrons.
If one looks for an effective way to control social ills, it is far more effective than regulation to allow the market to punish unpopular businesses in the pocketbook, where it matters. And far more moral for the public, not regulators, to determine what should and should not be punished or encouraged.