The Case For All-Gender Bathrooms
By: Megan Davis
Currently speaking, Tidewater Community College does have a diversity inclusion policy, as it is a school that prides itself on being diverse and open-minded.
The diversity & inclusion policy states this on Tidewaters official website: "Tidewater Community College is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive environment that embraces all identities, perspectives, expression of ideas, and backgrounds. The entire college community benefits from experiences that foster mutual respect, celebrate differences, and value commonalities." – Tidewater Community College Diversity & Inclusion Statement.
This policy as you can see does not include bathroom policies thus far, nor contains any other mention of inclusion policies for the LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, administration and community.
Students here at the Virginia Beach Tidewater Community College campus should take the lead and advocate for all gender bathrooms, and follow in example of other major schools who have already taken a step forward and taken similar actions. Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, currently has gender neutral bathrooms. The photo above was taken from one of the buildings on the Old Dominion campus.
There are those, however, that are asking for a policy that does include all gender bathrooms for everyone to use. Tidewater Community College at this time does not hold any specific rules in regards to who uses which bathroom. Instead, they recommend students, staff, faculty, and administration to use the bathroom of their biological birth/sex.
Right now the Student Government Association does have propositions for an all gender bathroom to be placed in academic buildings. This would be done while also keeping the male and female bathrooms intact and separate. The process of this being done is easier said than done. Students, faculty, teachers, staff and administration on each campus all have to be on board before it can be authorized.
This topic is important because if we truly want to pride ourselves on being diverse, it's significant we make sure everyone feels included, comfortable and safe. Everyone on campus should be allowed the freedom to express themselves.
Being able to use the bathroom is something we all have to do. Imagine someone wants to use the bathroom and is made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in the male’s bathroom, and then again feels those same things in the women’s bathroom; then that person has nowhere to use the restroom. This is not fair because, in the end, all that person wants to do is go to the bathroom.
Installing an all gender bathroom would not be taking away anything from anyone. If the all gender bathroom is allowed to be installed, the male and female bathrooms will still be there as they always have been. An individual which feels uncomfortable or unsafe using an all gender bathroom can simply continue using the male or female restroom. Although many people seem to find this topic controversial, it only becomes uncomfortable if we stop ourselves from openly discussing it.
There are people who use the argument that they don’t want people sharing bathrooms together out of safety, but the main argument I can use against that is that if some individual came to an area with the intention of harming another person, or assaulting them, then they are going to do it or attempt to do it regardless of which bathroom they enter.
Hypothetically speaking, if someone came with that ill intention at mind, it's doubtful that they would target a bathroom that literally anyone could use and be inside of. Blaming the bathroom label for any sort of assault that could take place is taking blame away from the assailant. Furthermore, there is very little evidence that suggests bathroom assailants targeting all-general bathrooms.
I for one could never imagine the struggle of not knowing which bathroom to use, one where I won't be scrutinized for using it, or stared at or even harassed., especially when you are trying to run to your next class.
I really can’t see what harm it would do to add another bathroom, one where anyone can use it so that everyone is comfortable. This does not mean tearing down the male and female bathrooms but just simply adding one more room.
For the people out there who are passionately against including another bathroom where anyone can use it, ask yourselves: don’t you have anything more pressing and urgent in your life to do, rather than debating the rights of someone whose life has nothing to do with your own? In the end, all this person wants to do is use the toilet, same as anyone else.