By Aimee Villalpando |Staff Writer|
Individuals of different sexes were able to use the same restroom in last week’s “Restrooms For All” event in the Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU).
From Nov. 17 to Nov. 21, the campus community had the option of using the gender-neutral restrooms.
The Pride Center hosted the event in an effort to create spaces where people of all gender identities could access restrooms without the fear of gender policing or segregation.
The purpose of the event was to help educate the campus about issues related to transgender and other non-binary gender communities.
The Pride Center exposed common “myths” surrounding the issue, such as “gender-inclusive bathrooms are unsafe for women and children.”
According to the Pride Center, signs on gender segregated bathrooms do not keep violent or dangerous people of any gender out of bathrooms.
Additionally, this claim assumes that the safety of transgender and gender nonconforming students is less important than the safety of any other student.
Another common concern is that “gender-inclusive bathrooms are unfair and a special privilege for trans people.”
The Pride Center flyer claims that “going to the bathroom is a basic right, not a privilege.”
Senior Edgar Lopez offered his perspective.
“I think that all-gender bathrooms are really not a form of equality. You take away one’s opportunity to give to another, therefore the one you take away from is not being treated equally,” said Lopez.
CSUSB is not alone in implementing gender-inclusive restrooms.
Over 150 colleges and universities across the country have at least one gender-inclusive bathroom, according to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s LGBTQ organization The Stonewall Center.
UC San Diego has modified the signs of 88 single-stall restrooms in campus buildings and the New College of California recently made all campus restrooms gender-inclusive.
UC Santa Barbara is one of many universities to implement or begin the process of implementing policies requiring that all extensively renovated and newly constructed buildings include at least one gender-neutral bathroom.
Last month a student group at San Diego State University, Trans* Action and Advocacy Student Coalition, organized a protest titled, “Shit-In” to raise awareness and advocacy for gender-neutral bathrooms.
The Pride Center’s Lead Program Assistant, Jorge Rivera said that because using the restroom is often an intimidating and uncomfortable experience for gender nonconforming students, the multi-stall restrooms were modified to challenge the stigmas of gender identity.
CSUSB students responded differently when approaching the restroom and noticing the new modifications.
Some individuals turned and walked away after realizing the restrooms were now inclusive, some reluctantly entered, and others did not seem to notice or care which one they entered.
Danille Pinckley, a Junior, exited the restroom and said, “It was kind of odd, but it wasn’t a big deal to me.”
Andre Joseph Gildore, a Junior at CSUSB, did not think the “Restrooms for All” event was a good idea.
“I think it’s stupid. I understand they want no discrimination in gender, but it’s made that way for a reason,” said Gildore.
Gildore believed gender exclusive restrooms to be an issue of separating biology, not gender, so there could be privacy among sexes.
Another anonymous female student commented, “As a heterosexual female I can recognize my hesitation to use these restrooms as a result of cultural conditioning and instead of focusing on my discomfort I can only imagine what transgender individuals feel on a daily basis.”