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June 2004 Vol. 30, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Gender Bias

from the June, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

How would you feel if you arrived at a dive resort or live-aboard to find out you'd been assigned a roommate of the opposite sex?

Awhile back we told the story of a female passenger who had just this experience on the Peter Hughes Wind Dancer. The Hughes folks acknowledged making an error contrary to their own policy of booking single passengers with others of the same gender.

But we were taken to task by reader Fred Brantingham. After reading the article entitled "Should Female Divers Beware?," he wrote in, "you strongly imply that this is only a female diver issue. On the contrary, for me at least, I would object very strongly to being bunked with a female diver. I suspect many if not most other men, like their female counterparts, feel the same way.

"To amplify: I am a married man who has a nondiving spouse. When I go diving, I am solo but there for just that, diving. The distraction and lack of privacy ensuing from mixed gender rooming would be both unnecessary and detrimental to a good diving experience. I suspect this feeling is no different from other people, male or female."

We're sure Fred is right and apologize if our article seemed biased in any way. In addition to the Hughes organization, we polled the Aggressor, Explorer, and Mike Ball fleets and were told that their policy is to book passengers of the same gender together whenever possible. However, in some cases such as Mike Ball, this depends on space availability -- and there are no guarantees.

Our best advice is to speak up if a roommate assignment (or any other problem) makes you uncomfortable. Even if the problem can't be solved on the spot, you may be able to get it rectified later, as was the case in the Wind Dancer situation.

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