My Little Pony has a diverse fandom, and BronyCon is committed to making sure that all fans feel comfortable, welcome, and safe at con. This is the same reason we offer special access passes for fans with disabilities, and provide color communication cards for fans with a desire to send a clear signal about their social interaction preferences.
This year, in the same vein, we’re designating several bathrooms in the convention space as gender-neutral—one set on each floor of the convention center. Gender-neutral bathrooms are bathrooms that can be used by anyone, regardless of gender, sex, or gender presentation. We will announce locations for gender-neutral bathrooms soon.
Gender-neutral bathrooms will help fans who are transgender, genderqueer, or don’t feel they fit into the categories of “men” and “women” feel less anxious when doing their business. Many people take conventions as an opportunity to dress as the gender they identify with, especially if their home situation doesn’t allow for it. Having gender-neutral bathrooms allows these attendees to feel just as safe and welcome at BronyCon as everyone else.
We also have a lot of families at BronyCon, and parents might want to accompany their children to the bathroom for safety reasons. There’s an awkward age where a child who is a different gender from their parent is too old to be brought into a bathroom for their parent’s gender, but too young for a parent to feel comfortable letting their child out of their sight. It can be stressful for a parent to wait outside a bathroom while their child is using it alone, and gender-neutral bathrooms allow them to ensure their child’s safety, regardless of whether their gender aligns with their child’s.
There are many other scenarios that gender-neutral bathrooms make less awkward. For example, some people like to cosplay as a character of a different gender and may not feel comfortable using the bathroom for the gender they’re cosplaying as. An attendee with a disability who needs assistance may not have any friends of the same gender with them. Or a cosplayer may experience an urgent costume malfunction that requires a mirror, a sink, and help from a comrade of a different gender to fix.
For folks more comfortable using single-gender bathrooms, there are also plenty of single-gender facilities throughout the convention center.
Transgender is an umbrella term to describe anyone whose gender identity (a person’s concept of self as male, female, both, or neither) does not match their assigned birth gender. (Cisgender is the complementary term, describing anyone whose gender identity does match their assigned birth gender.)
People whose gender identity is different from their biological sex, or the secondary sexual characteristics they developed at puberty, may decide to transition. Transitioning is the process some transgender people go through to live as the gender they identify as, rather than the one they were assigned at birth. This may include personal, medical, and/or legal steps, and it varies from person to person. For example, not every transgender person wants to or can undergo medical procedures, so their physical appearance may not reflect general expectations of how men or women look.
Someone who is genderqueer does not identify with traditional gender distinctions and instead identifies as both, neither, or a combination of male and female genders. They may use gendered or gender neutral pronouns (or both), and their appearance may conform to or play with traditional gendered styling. Both their pronouns and styling may change to reflect shifts in how masculine or feminine they feel.
If you are unsure of what pronoun to use for someone, your best bet is to politely ask, in private if possible: “Hey, what pronouns do you use?” If you use the wrong pronouns for someone, apologize and move on; there’s no need to dwell on the mistake.
Absolutely not. Gender-neutral bathrooms are used by people for the same purposes as single-gender bathrooms: to pee, fix their appearance, change their child’s diaper, whatever. The only difference is who they are meant for: everyone.
The idea that bathrooms that are for multiple genders would cause an increase in assault or harassment ignores two key facts: assault can (and does) occur in single-gender bathrooms, and signs won’t stop someone of a different gender from committing a crime they are intent on.
Attendees should be free from harassment no matter what bathroom they use, and our policies treat harassment in gender-neutral bathrooms exactly the same as in single-gender bathrooms. If you experience harassment of any kind at BronyCon, no matter where or by whom, find a BronyCon staff member and report it.