Gender-neutral restrooms needed

Tannen Todd, Staff Writer

There are more than 150 schools across the United States hat have gender-neutral bathrooms, and it is time to add one more school to that list.  Madison College, proudly being one of the most diverse campuses in the state, is ready to take the next step towards being a more equal, accepting community.

Gender-neutral restrooms, also known as all-gender restrooms, are bathrooms anybody can use, no matter what gender they identify as.  In other words, they do not subjugate students to use a restroom where they feel unsafe, unwelcome, or isolated simply because they are different.  And as more and more are coming to realize that gender is socially constructed within our society and not a factor in whom we are as individuals, these restrooms would show our school’s understanding of this.

Currently at our college, those who identify themselves as transgender are left out of the picture when it comes to convenient, accessible bathrooms. When these students do use restrooms that are meant for “Men” or “Women”, scrutiny is a problem.  Many face verbal abuse, isolation, and bullying just because they do not identify with these restroom signs.  The policies and efforts to change are far behind the needs of the LGBT community.  It’s time to finally address an issue that negatively affects a number of our students on a day-to-day basis.

Northwestern College, after much effort and pressure from the student body, recently became the latest college to implement gender-neutral restrooms.  Although just two restrooms were added, it is a symbol that everyone is welcome.  Michelle Margulis, the president of NU’s Rainbow Alliance LGBT student groups, stated, “These are two gender-open bathrooms where students of any gender can go in, and use the restroom, and feel safe, regardless of gender expression or gender identity.”

Currently, the Student Senate, the GSA club and the Young Conservatives of America are all working and communicating together to make this goal a reality, talking to administration to see the options.  However, talking to administration only goes so far when it comes to problems such as these.  So what is the solution? The students. If we come together and shed light on this issue, it will be resolved.

As a frontrunner in progressive ideas and actions, we need to continue to be a symbol and example for others to follow, not the other way around.  These restrooms will help further advance our school, and in turn our community, towards equality, inclusion, and unity.

If one person is excluded, then we all are.  Creating gender-neutral restrooms is not only the fair thing to do, but also the right thing to do.  Let’s show our community that we do not judge somebody for who they are, but love them for it.

For more information about the list of schools with gender-neutral bathrooms, visit the web site compiled by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s LGBTQ organization The Stonewall Center,