There are a lot of restrooms on campus and around Fort Collins that are a single stall. If you don’t know what I am talking about, this means that there are a lot of restrooms that can only have one person in them at a time.
This means that there really is no reason for them to have gendered signs outside telling women and men which one they are allowed to use. This seems kind of basic, but many people would have absolutely no idea what to do if tomorrow these restrooms had no gender decisive signs on them.
I don’t understand our obsession with gendering everything. I use the men’s restroom a lot, simply because there always seems to be someone in the women’s restroom. Also, I do it because it makes no difference at all. I wouldn’t possibly make someone else feel uncomfortable because there wouldn’t be anyone else in there.
I love that CSU has gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus. It is truly awesome. However, it really is not enough. When there is no gender-inclusive restroom in the library, where some students spend a huge amount of time, there is a problem. The most simple of all the possible solutions would be to just take down the signs with pictures of “men” and “women” and put up signs that say “restroom.” I know, mind blowing.
Something as little as this could make a world of a difference to many students on our campus. There has already been a petition to do this in the study cube, where the two bathrooms are exactly the same, single restrooms, but for some reason have gendered signs saying where women and where men are allowed to go. The petition was not successful as the bathrooms remain that way.
There are already bathrooms in places like the library that have multiple stalls and could remain gendered. But for those of us who would like to walk into a bathroom that does not reinforce a binary system of classifying gender, there is something that can and should be done.
Too many people ignore issues that do not seem to affect them. If you aren’t bothered by the way most restrooms are set up now, this is not your chance to ignore this issue. It is your chance to be supportive of a small change that would be hugely impactful.
If for some reason you are very against gender-inclusive restrooms, I can promise you that this world will not soon run out of gendered things for you. You will still be able to find a restroom with either a silhouette of a person wearing pants or a silhouette of a person wearing a dress. I understand how comforting that must be.
Breaking down the gender binary is a really hard thing to do. It starts with committed people like the ones we have at this university who have demanded things like gender-inclusive restrooms that we already have on campus. When more people understand issues at CSU, there are many more possibilities for what we can do.
Michaela is a second year Ethnic Studies student who hopes she doesn’t get in trouble for saying she used the men’s restroom. letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.