Gender neutral restrooms on campus is progress

Pierce and its people are a melting pot. We provides an education to students from countries around the world as well as students with different sexual identities.

The Williams Institute found that there were 700,000 transgender people in the United States in 2011, which makes up .3 percent of the population. Transgender students have been using bathrooms that they have been told are appropriate for them to use.

Transgender people have not been afforded the same rights in the United States as the rest of the general public. Only 18 states have clear laws that protect transgender people’s rights according to the American Civil Liberties Union. California is one of those states, but the state and nation still have a long way to go.

Pierce College should open a designated restroom in each building or area of the campus to be a gender neutral restroom. This is not to alienate a group of people, but an attempt to give them the same freedom to go to the bathroom in a space that feels safe.

Students would not be forced to use these new bathrooms, but they will be left as a choice to anyone who believes they would benefit from them.

There have been transgender people who have been embarrassed and harassed for trying to use a bathroom that is comfortable for them. It seems that every day there is a new video that pops up of a member of the LGBT community, not being allowed to use a restroom that matches their gender identity. The fact that the transgender suicide attempt rate is at 41 percent, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey in 2011, should show that we need to change something.

President Barack Obama instructed schools to allow transgender students the choice to use the restroom that matches the student’s gender identity.

Target stores recently created controversy and received negative feedback for its announcement that they will allow people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Since then, over a million customers have pledged to boycott target stores nationwide.

Although Target stores were attempting to accommodate transgender customers, they ended up making a large portion of customers uncomfortable.

This plan for Pierce to bring a comfortable and safe atmosphere for everyone does not accommodate a minority while exiling a majority.

Santee Education Complex is a secondary school that was the first in the Los Angeles Unified School District to designate a gender-neutral bathroom for students.

People who feel uncomfortable with sharing a restroom with someone who was born of the opposite sex could still use a women-only or men-only restroom. And transgender students can still continue to use the restroom they have been using all their life. People have been sharing the bathroom with transgender people their whole life.

Pierce will be having a Theoria Discussion in the Associated Student Organization building on the this topic on May 18 at 5 p.m.

College is hard enough without having to worry about being harassed while using the restroom, or even if you will be allowed to enter the bathroom at all. Let’s make Pierce College an area of safety and acceptance.