End Bathroom Segregation Now!

I normally don’t reproduce entire articles here, but this one, from ASU’s student newspaper The Appalachian, is just too priceless to edit. It looks like unisex bathrooms are coming to Appalachian State:

Male and female only bathrooms may be a thing of the past at Appalachian State University.

Student Government Association proposed an idea to the Faculty Senate Nov. 13 to convert single-cell gender specific bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms.

“[Faculty Senate] passed the [SGA] proposal with little discussion,” Faculty Senate Chair Martha A. Marking said. “I don’t know why anyone would object; everyone needs a private bathroom sometimes.”

The converted bathrooms will offer more privacy as well as a safe restroom for transgender students, Marking said.

Stephanie S. Helmers and Rebecca M. Cole from Housing and Residence Life spoke to students and faculty from around the state at the 2006 Diversity Conference about the issue and the need for gender-neutral bathrooms.

“The students at the conference received the project positively,” Cole said. “I can’t say that is a good representation of the population though, because those students elected to be present at the conference.”

Helmers also drafted a proposal for the establishment of the gender-neutral bathrooms in residence halls.

“The whole campus will benefit from the project,” Cole said. “Students who would normally have to choose a gender-specific bathroom and can’t, now won’t have to.”

This idea is already being experimented within Smith-Wright Hall. One of the faculty restrooms was designated as unisex.

SGA must complete an inventory of the accessible bathrooms around campus before the number of convertible restrooms can be determined.

“We won’t know how many or where we can do them until that inventory is complete,” Design and Construction Director Dr. Clyde D. Robbins said.

No constructional changes are expected for the bathrooms with the exception of new signs on the doors that indicate them as unisex.

SGA is looking into getting student support for the project. They passed out surveys in the library Nov. 13 to get public opinion.

Many hope this project will increase transgender awareness and promote diversity at Appalachian.

“Every little bit helps; any initiative put toward increasing diversity is good,” Cole said. “Students who don’t identify with a gender will recognize that Appalachian wants them to feel welcome and validates who they are.”

Housing and Residence Life is also exploring possibilities in gender-neutral housing that would not assign housing based on gender and designating bathrooms in residence halls as unisex, Cole said.

Geez, I’m glad I’ll be long gone before this policy is implemented.

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