It’s a predicament familiar to many dads: you and your partner are at Costco, mindlessly passing the bulk diaper section, which reminds you to do a quick check on your own toddler.
Crap, you’ll say under your breath.
You’ll mean this literally, of course. But also as a quiet act of condemnation against the retail giant, which sells everything from coffins to caviar but somehow hasn’t gotten around to installing diaper-changing stations in the majority of the men’s bathrooms in its 705 worldwide warehouses.
If you are a straight man, this is no biggie. Simply hand your tot over to your partner, who will utilize the conveniently provided diaper-changing station in the women’s room. This certainly won’t be fair to her. But on the plus side, she’ll have plenty of time to plot the destruction of the patriarchy while wandering the megastore’s endless aisles in search of the ladies’ loo.
However, if you are a gay man—or the rare straight man willing to brave a Costco store solo—you will be (again, quite literally) shit out of luck. With nary a changing station in sight, you’ll be forced to do the deed on the bathroom floor of the men’s room. Or in the backseat of your car. Or in a quiet corner of the store, like the Costco engagement ring section.
Of course, it isn’t really fair to pick on Costco. You’ve probably had similar experiences in plenty of other retailers, restaurants, and government buildings, many of which continue to perpetuate the idea of childrearing as an exclusively feminine pursuit by providing diaper-changing stations in the women’s restroom but not the men’s.
Fortunately, a movement is afoot to address this seemingly small but significant injustice. And guess who’s leading the charge? Actor Ashton Kutcher. (Yes, that Ashton Kutcher. I checked.) Last year, Kutcher—who recently started a family with That 70’s Show co-star Mila Kunis—started a change.org petition asking Costco and Target to install changing stations in the men’s rooms of their stores. The petition quickly garnered over 100,000 signatures, prompting promises from both megastores to address the issue.
Earlier this month, President Obama delved into the diaper drama as well by signing the tortuously but creatively named Bathroom Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act, which requires diaper-changing stations to be installed in the men’s rooms of federal buildings like courthouses and post offices.
And fortunately, others are heeding the call to equalize the diaper disparity plaguing our nation’s bathrooms. New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is raising a daughter with his husband, introduced a bill that would require all newly renovated places of public accommodation in the state to provide a changing station in the men’s room.
We at Gays With Kids are cheering these changes. But we need more legislators and businesses to follow suit. So to demonstrate the need for further action, we thought we’d ask gay dads to get in on the action—where’s the craziest place you’ve had to change your little one’s drawers thanks to a lack of a diaper-changing station in the men’s room? The hood of your car? The romance section of a Barnes & Nobles? Let us know on social media using hashtag: #DadsDoDiapers