Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I played gay softball for twenty years, seventeen of them in San Francisco. During that time the SF Gay Softball League went from ten to forty or fifty teams.

At first there were only a few women playing, and those on mostly men’s teams. The league now includes two women’s division.

At some point, maybe in the early 1990’s we began to hear complaints from the women players about locked or substandard restrooms at the public parks where the league played.

When I first heard this, I scoffed. “These gals must be from out of town,” I figured, “no San Franciscan expects adequate public restrooms in the parks. How silly.

“They’ll learn.”

But they didn’t. They spoke at every meeting about working with city Supervisors and with Rec and Park to get the restrooms opened. The even wanted toilet paper!

Our softball playing lesbians were the first generation to be raised under Title IX, a 1972 federal provision mandating equal resources for male and female students, with the major focus becoming athletics.

So our women grew up thinking their lockerrooms should be as good as those provided for male athletes.

While Rec & Park did provide equal restrooms for men and women (i.e. none) the women nonetheless demands facilities for themselves.

A few months ago Newsom was so irked about the toilets at Portsmouth Square that he made Rec and Park and the PUC actually clean them. Those two agencies made the bureaucratic overhead so burdensome that Newsom would never spasm like that in their direction again, but the issue was engaged.

So, now we have a bond issue on the ballot (which sfwillie’s blog opposes) that includes $11M for new park restooms. That aspect of the bond has made San Francisco an international laughing-stock—but that’s another rant.

Anyway, I find it interesting that San Francisco’s restroom issue has been advanced by Title Nine-inspired lesbian athletes. Good for us!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good for you guys! we used to drive over from the Easr Bay to the Zoo and the only rest room was at a service station nearby. And you had to buy gas to get a key to their restroom. What a rip off. r.s.