University needs more gender-neutral bathrooms

Opinions Columnists | Journalism sophomore

Transgender, gender non-conforming and other students deserve access to more gender-neutral bathrooms to feel safe and comfortable at Texas State.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are a necessity on an inclusive campus. Having more of them available on campus will be a great help to the increasingly diverse student body. It is a public right for students to have access to a bathroom they feel comfortable using.

According to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project website, trans and gender non-conforming people face access and comfort issues when it comes to sex-segregated facilities such as bathrooms. By providing additional gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, it extinguishes the possibility of anyone feeling ostracized by something as simple as using a public facility.

With the assistance of the Allies program, Texas State has done a wonderful job of working to promote equality throughout campus with projects such as providing gender-neutral bathrooms. Unfortunately, these bathrooms are only available at a select few buildings on campus including the Student Health Center, Commons and Lampasas. Although any progress is good, Texas State needs to make sure to keep up with the increasingly diverse student population.

The university is quickly expanding, and as the number of students increases so does the diversity. Students of all walks of life come to attend Texas State, and university officials need to make sure to accommodate them to the best of their abilities. The idea of facilities restricted only to a traditional gender binary is quickly becoming outdated, and the needs and wants of the student body is a reflection of changing ideas.

Bathrooms that accommodate one’s needs are not a privilege, but a right everyone deserves. No one should have to trek across campus in search of a bathroom they feel comfortable using.

Furthermore, students should not feel the need to conform to a certain sex in order to use a facility as ubiquitous as a restroom. I do not think it is necessary to bring gender distinctions into restroom designation. People all use bathrooms, and there is no reason to cause transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to question where they stand in the binary when trying to simply use a toilet. Every student, regardless of their gender or lack thereof, should be able to find and use a bathroom without asking themselves deep questions about their personal identity.

In addition to benefiting transgender and gender non-conforming students, the bathrooms will serve to help other groups including parents with small children of a different gender and elderly who may have providers of a different sex.

Furthermore, building additional gender-neutral bathrooms can help students who may fear harassment in single-sex bathrooms. With more easily accessible gender-neutral bathrooms, students will not be forced to pick a side and face potential bullying. Students deserve the right to feel safe when using campus facilities.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are essential to the ever-changing population of Texas State. Adding more gender-neutral bathrooms will help accommodate the diverse student population and provide a safe option for many students.