Gender Neutral Bathrooms Needed in School


Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

Imagine this: you’re an 18-year-old girl, starting your freshman year at a state university. You’re excited to move into your dorm, and meet your new roommate. As you explore the floor you’ll be living on, you pop into the bathroom. Right as you walk into the door, BAM! Urinals. To your shock and dismay, you discover that your dorm has co-ed bathrooms. Oh, the humanity!

In actuality, having gender neutral bathrooms isn’t a big deal. Although many female students argue that sharing a bathroom with boys is weird (and to an extent it is—oh god, urinals) and male students might be embarrassed, co-ed bathrooms should not only be implemented, but mandatory for at least one floor in all public universities.

For those who are morally against or just weirded out by sharing bathrooms, other accommodations should be provided. However, public universities fall under the protection of the state, and therefore should not discriminate against any one minority. In this case, I’m thinking of the transgender and genderqueer community.

Transgender individuals are those who feel as though their physical bodies do not match their gender. Be it a man who feels like a woman, a woman who feels like a man, or even someone who identifies as neither, both, or a separate gender altogether.

Those who are transgender are often overlooked in our society. When we have bathrooms clearly labeled “WOMEN” and “MEN,” those who do not fit the stereotypical gender roles may feel intimidated.

Although many transgender individuals wait until after their college years to change their physical body, there are just as many who don’t, or those who simply don’t want to. A transgender individual may feel as though even though they are physically a man, they feel that they are a woman. For these students, having bathrooms for only two genders results in many awkward situations.

The solution proposed by the transgender and genderqueer community is clear: provide gender neutral bathrooms for those who desire them.

For those who don’t (and no one blames you—male bathrooms are disgusting), traditional bathrooms will be provided. The odds are that the majority of the bathrooms will be for cis-gendered individuals, but for those who aren’t, gender neutral bathrooms are a great alternative.

Although private universities can’t be required to include co-ed bathrooms, the hope is that sometime in the future they’ll catch on to the trend.

Not providing gender neutral bathrooms is a form of discrimination, and although the transgender and genderqueer community has been very understanding (gender identity can be confusing, after all), it’s time to make the change and include gender neutral bathrooms as an option.

As state institutions, public universities have an obligation to serve all of their students. Schools need to provide gender neutral bathrooms for those who desire them. Keeping the traditional bathrooms is understandable and necessary as well, but gender neutral bathrooms should be provided in addition.