[Tagging] Tag proposal for gender-neutral toilets on diversity-talk

Tobias Zwick osm at westnordost.de
Tue Mar 23 18:21:01 UTC 2021

Hi there and welcome to this mailing list!

Context / Previous Discussion

Just to give some more information for the readers of this mailing list 
on what is the problem with the data quality of the unisex-key. It has 
previously been discussed in detail on:

The tentative conclusion of that discussion/analysis was that it has 
been (mis)used on a large scale to be synonymous to female=yes + 
male=yes, which was different from the meaning the unisex-key was 
created for and was originally documented as. Thus, contributing data 
using this tag has much less value than using a tag whose meaning is 
clear from the start and stays that way.

all_genders Key Proposal

Regarding the proposed key name "all_genders=yes": I fear there is the 
danger of falling into the same trap as with "unisex=yes" - it could be 
misunderstood as that a toilet is free to be used by all genders and 
then again, basically very similar to what the unisex-key turned into.

One has to ask oneself what is the use case for this tag at all, what 
should it convey? And one case would be to enable people of non-binary 
gender to find a toilet where they don't need to worry about other 
people giving them the hairy eyeball or make some comment about that 
they go into the "wrong" room: If there is just one room for all, there 
is no issue.

As I understand it, the common situation where there is a separate 
toilet for women, men and a separate room for wheelchair users would 
check the box on "all_genders=yes". But is this the information we look 
to record? After all, this doesn't really solve the problem, as people 
may still comment about that they are entering the wrong room (the 
toilet for wheelchair users).

The information we want to record is really if one toilet (anteroom) is 
shared by all or not.

I think two reasons why gender_segregated=yes/no didn't really lift off 
yet to replace unisex=yes/no was

1. people interested in tagging this so far focussed on trying to fix
    unisex, i.e. resurvey toilets and retag according to what unisex=yes
    should really mean. But ultimatively, I think this is tilting against
    windmills because...

2. it is not part of any preset of any editor. If JOSM used to and iD
    still promotes a misunderstod definition of unisex=yes, there'll
    always be more people to push that tag towards the "is synonymous
    to female=yes + male=yes" defnition than towards the "unisex is
    unisex, as can be read in the wikipedia" definition

Verdict on the name of a tag key
A key that replaces the unisex-key would best be a (well) known synonym 
to "Unisex" (see f.e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unisex_public_toilet 
) and at the same time be free from possible misunderstandings from 
people that do not know the word.


On 23/03/2021 12:56, Mateusz Konieczny via Tagging wrote:
> Mar 23, 2021, 11:35 by tagging at openstreetmap.org:
>     Hi everyone, I'm new here, please be nice :)
> Hello and welcome!
>     I just opened a thread on diversity-talk about how gender-neutral
>     toilets should be tagged. I suspect the thread will be interesting to
>     everyone on this list (tagging), and I'd love to have feedback and
>     thoughts from more participants.
>     https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/diversity-talk/2021-March/000529.html
>     The issues with the existing methods of tagging gender-neutral toilets
>     have been brought up before - one notable discussion was in 2018 - but
>     nothing about the situation has improved yet. I'm hoping I can finally
>     change that.
>     Thanks for your interest, and hope to see you in that thread!
> This seems a workable tagging schema for me that would
> solve some existing issues and record this kind of info.
> This information is verifiable and OK to map in general.
> Overall it seems that all_genders=yes/no is a well designed tag.
> But
>  > State that "unisex=yes" is equivalent to "male=yes, female=yes"
> Not entirely sure.
> Maybe state that it was used both in male=yes and female=yes
> and all_genders=yes meaning. And that replacing by more clear tags
> is likely a good idea?
> Or mention that dominant use was male=yes, female=yes meaning,
> but also sometimes used in all_genders=yes meaning?
> BTW, you may be interested in
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features>
> It is definitely not mandatory, it is also OK to simply start using a 
> new tag
> (see https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Any_tags_you_like 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Any_tags_you_like> ),
> but may help confirming that this tagging schema will work as intended.
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> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
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