By Ariana Cano |Staff Writer|
I believe gender-inclusive restrooms are a necessity, however, in order for them to succeed, people should be comfortable using the restroom with other genders.
Gender-inclusive restrooms are spaces where people of all gender identities can access without the fear of “gender policing,” according to the San Manuel Student Union (SMSU) Pride Center.
These restrooms were added the week of Nov. 17 in the SMSU restroom nearest to the Pride Center.
This is the first time this has been done at CSUSB.
The initial student response included concerns about the potential increase in violence and rape with their installation.
Students should understand that violence and rape can happen anywhere. A rapist or an aggressor is going to rape or harass anywhere, regardless of location.
The Pride Center posted refutations to two myths surrounding gender-inclusive restrooms.
Myth 1: “They are unsafe for women and children” and Myth 2: “They are unfair and are a special privilege to transgender people.”
Myth 1 was refuted: “Signs on gender segregated bathrooms do not keep violent or dangerous people (of any gender) out of bathrooms.”
Myth 2: “Gender-inclusive bathrooms increase accessibility and safety for students of all backgrounds by creating spaces free of intimidation, harassment and violence.”
I believe restrooms limited to only male and female genders are sexist to transgender and/or any gender nonconforming person because they exclude genders.
Although there are only two types of “biological sex,” solely based on certain traits, there are many different types of gender identities.
Gender is based on what the individual believes he/she is or who they feel to be.
I believe that in the past we had a narrow-minded way of viewing genders, which is why we have restrooms available to only men and women.
Now, however, we are aware different gender identities exist, and should have different restrooms that cater to needs of varying gender identities.
Gender-inclusive restrooms, I believe, will increase gender equality, but in order for this to work, the mindset of society would have to change and be accepting of the exposure of gender neutrality.
“It is uncomfortable for me because it was something new that I wasn’t use to and I’m not sure I want to get used to it, because my whole life I’ve been accustomed to the phrase don’t go into the boys restroom,” said an anonymous female after using a gender-inclusive restroom.
Gender-inclusive restrooms don’t only help transgender and gender nonconforming people, they also help others be more accepting and open-minded.
“It provides visibility for an issue that is never talked about and does a service to all students because it doesn’t only affect transgender and gender nonconforming students.
It affects students that have disabilities and need a care taker of the opposite sex with them. It affects parents that go/visit this campus and need to take children of the opposite sex to the restroom with them,” said Jorge Rivera leader of the Pride Center.
After using the gender-inclusive restroom (which, prior to the change, was the men’s restroom) I felt comfortable; I mean, we are all in there for the same purpose.
As I was washing my hands, two guys who were also washing their hands looked at me in shock; one of them asked, “Does it feel weird to be in here?” to which I responded no.
If gender-inclusive restrooms are permitted, the facilities would have to change according to gender neutrality label; for example, the pads and tampons box should be installed along with trashcans in each of the stalls, and the urinals would have to be boxed off.
Society has to be open-minded with gender-inclusive restrooms, and the societal attitude will hopefully be more accepting to all genders.