Don’t worry, you won’t have to hold it very long. You’ll just be asked to try and hold it a little longer than usual on Chapman University’s Gender Inclusive Restroom Day (GIRD) on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
As part of a series of transgender awareness and education events this month, Cross-Cultural Engagement will transform a handful of campus restrooms into gender-neutral restrooms available to all, regardless of their gender identification. Then they’ll ask everyone to consider this act of solidarity: Try to get through the day using only those gender neutral facilities.
Gender-neutral for a day
On Wednesday temporary signage in text and Braille and educational information will be posted on the following restrooms:
- Second floor of Argyros Forum
- First floor of Beckman Hall
- Sandhu Residence Center, below the entrance to the Randall Dining Commons.
The idea is to get a sense of what it’s like to be a transgender student, or anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as strictly male or female and feels uncomfortable in the typically gendered women’s and men’s rooms.
Most students “can just go to a bathroom that society says belongs to them and they never had to think of the politics of that,” says Leti Romo, assistant director of Cross-Cultural Engagement in the office of Student Engagement.
But for students who are transgender, transitioning or gender non-conforming, the question of which room to use is freighted with anxiety, Romo says.
“When they see a binary bathroom – a men’s room or a women’s room – they have to decide, ‘OK, do I go to this restroom and get stared at or harassed, or do I go to the other one and creep everyone out?’” she explains.
Gender Inclusive Restroom Day is part of a companion “Privilege to Pee” challenge under way all week, encouraging people to use the existing gender-neutral facilities, which include Memorial Hall, the first floor of Leatherby Libraries, the second floor of Doti Hall and the first floor of Wilkinson Hall.
What about the people who feel uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a gender confused person? I don’t enjoy the idea of my daughter in the same bathroom with a penis yielding confused person who wants to be call female. When will Chapman have that day in awareness?
Folks who prefer to use the gendered, multi-stall restrooms will still have a plethora of options on campus. As you can see in this post, only a handful of restrooms (in buildings with other sets of gendered restrooms) will be transformed for this single day. I encourage you to look over this webpage from Portland Community College: https://www.pcc.edu/resources/qrc/gender-neutral.html and to consider that folks who are gender non-conforming/non-binary/trans are not “confused” and their gender identities are just as valid as yours, your daugther’s, and everyone else.
What is the point of this? I worked on a campus that tried this for a week and it was a DISASTER! The intent there was to appease students that felt bullied in the restroom based on their DNA, but not their ‘identity’. What wasn’t factored in was that the bullies could just follow them into whatever restroom they went into- it offered no ‘protection’. However, the actual # of bullying incidents was never factually determined in the first place. Further, staff time was totally sucked up with incidents where students went in restrooms just for shock factors, standing in there with their genitalia hanging out and waiting for females to walk in and scream, and peaking under and over stalls. If we don’t call them Mens/Womens rooms how about Innies/Outies? Or have fully secured stalls floor to ceiling? That campus had PLENTY of single unit family restrooms on campus as well- so there was already an option for folks who don’t want to go into a public restroom designated only for males or females.