Klaustur Downtown Bar has had gender neutral restrooms, in addition to gender specific restroom, since it opened in late 2014. The CEO, of the company that runs the bar believes in the right to choose and therefor thinks that having both gender neutral and gender specific bathrooms is a step in the right direction.
“I think the philosophy of the company that owns Klaustur Downtown Bar has always carried throughout the company, which is to foster accommodation and promote equality. We have always stood for that, so this was not a stunt or a gimmick,” says Joe Compton, CEO of Þórsgarður and Ram ehf., referring to the gender neutral and gender specific bathrooms that can be found at the bar.
“Klaustur Downtown Bar is in the spot where Gamli vínbarinn was once housed. The labelling of the restrooms was actually changed before Gamli vínbarinn became Klaustur Downtown Bar, back in July 2013,” says Joe, who is natively American and has been following the debate about gender neutral restrooms in the US closely.
“I however feel that going only one way, having only gender neutral bathrooms is excluding the right to choose.”
“That has been a very hot topic in the US. Different states have made certain judgements that would exclude the right to choose. The difference here at Klaustur is that from the very beginning we have had this philosophy to give people the right to do so.”
True freedom is having a choice – even in the bathroom
GayIceland recently published a piece about Reykjavík bar Gaukurinn making all its restrooms gender neutral. Joe celebrates that but has a different opinion on the matter. “I applaud Gaukurinn for their actions. I applaud them for taking a stance, having an opinion and raising awareness.
I however feel that going only one way, having only gender neutral bathrooms is excluding the right to choose. Let’s face it, guys pee on the toilet seat quite a bit and the line at the ladies’ bathroom is often excessive but it’s all about having a choice. True freedom is having a choice,” says Joe and adds that the restroom labeling at Klaustur Downtown Bar is also quite the conversation piece.
“People often find our labeling quirky and kind of funny. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what gender you are or how you identify yourself, so rather than having just generic male or female signs, all our restrooms have a quirky message,” he says.