Alamo Drafthouse founder proposes gender-neutral bathroom design

The founder of a Texas-based movie theater set off a social media backlash after proposing a bathroom design that's ‘comfortable for all genders.’

Alamo Drafthouse has several locations across the U.S., including three locations in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. The plan would put a gender-neutral bathroom at a new Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.

The movie theater is a franchise, but Founder Tim League has a big say in how the theaters are run.

League believes the bathroom debate has gotten out of control and hopes his new design will make the issue a non-issue for customers.

Donna Mayfield is milling over the gender-neutral bathroom proposal.

"I don't know I'd have to think about that, if I'm comfortable with that or not,” said Alamo Drafthouse customer Donna Mayfield.

"I think the problem is overblown, personally,” said John Mayfield. “But at least he's looking for a solution that would satisfy most of his customers, I would think.”

Tim League posted the picture of his commercial restroom design on Facebook. The proposal includes several individual rooms with toilets and sinks. There's a separate area for urinals, eliminating a separate men’s and women’s section.

“Completely agree with that as far as accommodating all of those,” said customer Britney Furguson. If you are a franchise and business, you want to be that way so that people want to come to your place.”

But not everyone thinks it's a great idea.

You're going to have to have a guard or something to make sure someone doesn't do something before you get in the stall,” said customer Mike Fisher.

People on social media accused League of making the bathroom design a transgender issue. He responded online saying in part, “My intent on the previous post was to discuss architectural design details for the proposed bathroom… My side is that bigotry and the associated violence and/or shaming stemming from your choice of stall is unacceptable… My hope is that by changing the design of restrooms we can in the meantime avoid some potential violence.”

Ethan Fisher appreciates being consulted.

“I personally don't have an opinion on it but it's nice that he's thinking ahead asking what does the public think,” he said.

And while League decides what to do, Donna offered this simple advice.

“If you didn't want to do it, you go to the bathroom before you get here,” she said laughing. “No big deal."

The proposal is currently only planned for one theater in Austin but no official decision has been made.

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