With many supporting views as to why we should have gender neutral restrooms on campus, many people are not thinking about the specifics. In reality, having gender neutral restrooms is tricky, and the school would have to be very cautious and take much more into consideration than simply equality for one specific, and relatively small group of students.
Gender neutral policies would mean that if a man sees a pretty girl walk into a restroom, he can easily follow her inside without anyone stopping him. One of the many fears of having restrooms where anyone can walk into would be the role that rape culture plays. Approximately every one in three girls have been victims of sexual violence and one in six men have been victims as well. This means that 33 percent of women and 17 percent of men have been victims of being touched inappropriately. This means multiple women and men have experienced some sort of unwanted sexual contact.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. The statistics do not include the “Peeping Toms.” Being exposed doesn’t have to mean that the victims will be touched. Having gender neutral bathrooms mean anyone will be able to walk in, and peep into the stalls while the victim has half of their body exposed. Even if a student were to report the incident, the peeper’s rights would be protected. By arguing that he was allowed to be in that restroom, and was simply peeking through the stall to see if it was occupied, would be enough for him to get away with it.
Having gender neutral restrooms defeats the purpose of helping students feel more comfortable. Although it would help make the transgender community feel safer, you have to look at the cost. The cost would be that the majority of the population would not feel secure using Pierce’s restrooms.
I believe that students should feel safe using their own school’s restrooms, and this change will prevent many from feeling comfortable using them. The safety issue could potentially cause two things. Either students will begin holding in their waste, which can cause many harmful health effects, or will begin to boycott Pierce, much like how shoppers began to boycott Target. This means registration could potentially decrease because of issues that have nothing to do with the educational quality that students would be receiving at Pierce.
In addition, I believe many students would simply abuse the rule. They would opt for the restroom with the shorter lines or cleaner stalls for their own personal gain, not because they actually identify themselves as person of the opposite sex. Not only that but it can even increase the chances of sexual activity on campus. Since anyone would be allowed to walk into any restroom, for some that could potentially mean bathroom quickies between classes on a busy day.
I think the transgender community has nice intentions, but it is important to remember to be realistic and realize that not everyone has good thoughts. In cases like these, it is always better to be safe, rather than sorry.