How One Movie Theater Chain Will Experiment With Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

A topic of conversation currently being discussed in different corners of our nation involves a person’s right to use the bathroom of their chosen gender identity. Lawmakers in states like North Carolina and Texas, for example, want specifications that say people need to identify with their birth gender. Transgender individuals say laws make that distinction violate their right to choose. It’s a complicated issue that will continue to affect state institutions and private businesses in the United States for the foreseeable future, which his why one forward-thinking theater chain is bring proactive on the matter.

Tim League runs the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, which has locations in 13 states. The chain’s CEO recently posted on his Facebook page that, in an effort to address the issue and make patrons feel safer and more inclusive in his establishments, he is working with an architect for the Alamo’s upcoming Austin location that would feature commercial, gender-neutral restroom as part of the building’s design, addressing the need for these facility’s before it even becomes an issue. As League writes:

The consensus was that we’d have a room with ‘standing’ toilets (heck, we’re even looking at those all-gender urinals) and individual rooms with sinks, mirrors and trash cans in each room, our ‘seated’ toilet area. I don’t want to have any ‘men’ or ‘women’ signs in the building.

In an effort to open up the dialogue to his theater-going community, Tim League of Alamo Drafthouse even shared the architectural plans, as they stand, while asking for feedback. They would look something like this:


As of this moment, there are nearly 400 comments on Tim League’s post, showing that this is a hot-button topic of conversation, and one that affects many people who routinely go to the movies, and to the Alamo Drafthouse, specifically. This chain has always been concerned with user experience, going above and beyond to silence texters and talkers through their amusing PSAs.

Now, this solution isn’t going to immediately work for every chain. The Alamo Drafthouse happened to be working on a new location, so incorporating these types of gender-neutral stalls helped them meet a potential need of a movie-going client. Existing movie theaters hoping to address this situation would have to see what works best for their current structure. But it’s interesting that at least one movie theater chain is starting the ball rolling on the conversation about gender-neutral bathrooms in multiplexes. Could this be the opening salvo in a much larger discussion? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.