written by Aliyah Hurt
One place you don’t want to feel uncomfortable in is the bathroom. Although that sentence could have several different meanings, I’ll be speaking on why it’s important for there to be acceptance of gender neutral restrooms.
The purpose of gender neutral spaces are to provide individuals who do not necessarily fit the gender binary or don’t identify with a gender at all, with a safe place to be. And a bathroom should definitely be a gender neutral place. With transgendered folk, as well as all the other gender non-conforming individuals, being discriminated against in most aspects of life, issues dealing with restrooms seem to arise the most. It’s hard to believe that we live in a society that is so unaccepting of certain people’s existence. Unaccepting enough to disallow them safe spaces to use the facilities without being tormented or scared.
Now I do understand that there is a fear of assault occurring in restrooms where both genders are allowed. What many people don’t realize is that it isn’t always a fear of transgendered/gender non-conforming individuals, but other predators presenting as one to have access to harm other individuals. If someone wanted to do that, they could in the average restroom. Nothing is stopping predators from presenting themselves as the other gender to gain access to the opposite bathroom. However, I do understand the fear of young children being in a restroom alone with an adult of the opposite gender. Even so, having gender neutral bathrooms available does not eliminate the other gendered restrooms necessarily. Go where you want to, and where you feel comfortable using the restroom. It comes down to allowing people to have that comfortability. There should be restrooms available so the general public can feel safe while using the facilities. The general public includes all people using bathrooms and feeling safe means more than not having to fear sexual assault. Also, it is a false belief and statistic that transgendered people are the culprits of bathroom oriented rape or sexual assault. Transgendered/gender non-conforming folk are bullied, assaulted physically and sexually, as well as killed for just being themselves every day. They are the ones being attack more often, at larger numbers. Surprisingly enough, many of those assaults occur in the restrooms that are currently available for them to use. The men’s or women’s. No one should have to be scared of being attacked because they need to relieve themselves. Going to the bathroom is just as natural as it is for someone to not identify with being a man or a woman.
Acceptance of those who are different than us is what is lacking here. People are people. They always have been, and always will be. Someone’s physical make up/appearance should not cause them to certain rights of being human. People have the right to use the bathroom in peace, therefore, it is important to provide those means to every individual. It does not matter if you don’t agree with their sexuality, sex, gender, or sexual orientation. It’s just a bathroom.