Senior social work major Evan Decker rarely encounters any level of simplicity when she needs to pee. She instead faces fear, intimidation and even threats.
“I wonder what it’s got under there,” someone once said as they gazed down at her crotch, she said.
As a transgender female, Decker said the heavy stares she receives in either restrooms are quick to instill fear. She said gazes make her shake as she puts on makeup.
Aaric Guerriero, GLBTQQA Resource Center director, said as a transgender male, using the restroom still makes him feel anxious.
“I feel like I’m able to pass a little more as male, so I do feel more comfortable that way, but there’s always that kind of sense of anxiety in the back of my mind,” Guerriero said.
At Colorado State University, departments have begun work to solve this problem through the implementation of gender-inclusive restrooms. Newly renovated Eddy Hall includes gender-inclusive restrooms
“Facilities Management, along with other CSU groups and divisions, are actively developing best practices for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus,” said Steve Hultin, executive director of facilities management.
Hultin said the Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee pushed for gender-inclusive bathrooms December 2014, and the details of the budget set forth by the committee are still being worked out.
“(They) recommended that steps be taken to convert single-stall bathrooms on campus to gender-inclusive restrooms,” Hultin said.
The Lory Student Center opened to students fall 2015, and Mike Ellis, executive director of the LSC, took part in the meetings before the renovations. He said gender-inclusive restrooms were considered early on.
“It was discussed in all of the meetings we had with the hundreds of students that were involved in the planning process,” Ellis said.
Ellis said, as a result each of the three floors of the LSC offers at least one gender-inclusive restroom for the safety of students.
According Guerriero, these restrooms are a crucial part of the University’s efforts to make this an inclusive campus.
“In the non-discrimination policy, falls gender expression and gender identity, so what message are we sending to have students protected that way, but not allowing the facilities to represent those students,” Guerriero said.
While Decker said she feels these restrooms are crucial for the safety of students on campus, she has a bigger goal in mind.
“I think it would be great if we could get to a point on this campus where people can just use the restroom that conforms with their gender identity,” Decker said.
Departments will begin moving back into Eddy soon. A few summer classes, as well as Ram Orientation, will be housed in the newly renovated building, according to Associate Dean for Faculty and Graduate Studies Bruce Ronda.
Ronda said he felt it was important to recognize students’ gender identities and their safety while planning buildings.
“(They need space) that recognizes their circumstance and their need, and gives them the comfort they need to go into those spaces and not feel threatened or feel awkward,” Ronda said.
Decker said she understands the issues some people face when encountering transgender people, but wants people to also understand she cannot change that.
“I understand I’m different,” Decker said. “I get that (it’s) scary for some people, but that’s just who I am.”
Collegian A&E Editor Cassie Maack can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @.