Target: Dr. Larry Dietz, President of Illinois State University and Dr. Mahyar Izadi, Dean of Eastern Illinois University
Goal: Applaud the inclusion of gender neutral bathrooms at public Illinois universities
Discrimination against people who identify as transgender is too common on college campuses. Something seemingly as simple as going to the bathroom becomes a challenge when faced with a choice between using a male or female restroom. What’s more is that a choice to use the gendered bathroom with which a person identifies but “contradicts” that person’s outward appearance can result in harassment, physical danger, and confrontations with authorities who have been called to rectify the “situation”. Violent crime against people who identify as transgender is so widespread that 1 in 12 are murdered. Therefore, the inclusion of something as simple as a gender neutral bathroom on college campuses could go a long way to keeping trans students safe and comfortable.
An earlier post advocating the creation of gender neutral bathrooms called for all Illinois Universities to be required to have such restrooms. While the Illinois Board of Higher Education has yet to mandate the creation of gender neutral bathrooms on all public university campuses, the inclusion of such bathrooms by Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University is a great success. These campuses have turned single stall and family restrooms into gender neutral bathrooms, which eliminate the pressure on trans students to conform to an exclusive gender binary.
Having gender neutral bathrooms in the majority of buildings allows for students to use the bathroom without feeling uncomfortable, facing harassment, being injured, or confronted by authorities. Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University have taken the first steps in creating an environment that is agreeable to all their students. Hopefully more universities will take action and become places of comfort and safety for trans students. Let’s tell Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University that we applaud their bathroom reforms.
Dear Dr. Dietz and Dr. Izadi,
Students from your universities who identify as transgender deserve the opportunity to use the bathroom without being confronted, harassed, or injured. The recent transformation of a number of single stall/family bathrooms to gender neutral bathrooms on your campuses is the first step to protect the rights of all your students. This action is simple yet indicates a greater awareness of the situation that transgender students face on a daily basis. I applaud this decision and hope that you will consider including a gender neutral bathroom in every building on campus. This would allow all students to have an appropriate bathroom available to them no matter where they are on campus.
This initial step in what will hopefully become a campus-wide transformation is a laudable effort to address the obstacles faced by students that identify as transgender. Eliminating the bathroom debacle will help to ease the stress and difficulties associated with the all too pervasive gender binaries that govern society. Thank you for this move towards equality and I urge you to continue to reform campus life in an effort to ensure the safety and comfort of students who identify as transgender.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: OGLY via Wikimedia Commons