CSU looks to expand all-gender bathrooms despite Trump’s order

Austin Fleskes

President Trump recently made the executive decision to pull funding and protection for transgender students to have the ability to use the bathroom that they identify with, according to an article written by the New York Times. However, Colorado State University students are protected by local law.

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Colorado is one of 17 states with local laws protecting transgender students, according to an article written by the Denver Post. The law, placed in 2008, made discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in any public place, including schools, forbidden. The law was put to test when a transgender student in a Colorado elementary school won a court battle that allowed her to use the girl’s bathroom in her school.

gender neutral, bathroom,
A gender neutral bathroom on campus. (Kasen Schamaun | Collegian)

According to the official CSU map, currently there are over 60 all-gender bathrooms, ranging across campus in several different buildings, giving students who identify as gender neutral or non-binary the opportunity to relieve themselves where they want to.

Aaric Guerriro, director of the Pride Resource Center at CSU, explained that an internal committee is trying to get a policy passed at CSU that will require every new building on campus to have one gender inclusive restroom. The policy would also change single-stalled bathrooms in older buildings to gender inclusive bathrooms.

Guerriro said the bathrooms can be used by more than just gender neutral or non-binary students. They will be available and useful for single parents on campus as well as those who have different physical needs, and said it is a far reaching project that is inclusive across the board.

“It’s important to provide a space where people can use a space that is safe and comfortable,” Guerrerio said. “I think it sends a really strong message about what CSU stands for. I am appreciative that I work at a university that is so driven in inclusivity and understands why spaces like all-gender restrooms are necessary.”

Mary Ontivero, Vice President of Diversity at CSU, said the committee started out by looking at campus climate and realized that there was an issue with some populations not feeling included.

“Regardless of why you’re on campus, whether you’re here to learn, teach, do research or visit campus, you should feel like you’re welcome on this campus.”

Ontivaros said the implementation of all-gender restrooms on campus has led to helping a much wider variety of issues.

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“What we have learned is by resolving this situation we are really addressing a whole variety of needs on campus that have not been brought to our attention by other populations,” Ontiveros said.

Ontiveros used examples such as spouses who have had strokes and need assistance in restrooms. She also said that the committee is also working on creating an inclusive physical and virtual community so students and faculty with all different types of needs can get what they need.

“This committee is saying that we need to be a campus that values inclusion,” Ontivaros said.

Kinsey Hlefrich, a senior psychology major, supports gender neutral bathrooms.

“People need a safe place regardless of their identity,” Helfrich, said. “Everyone deserves to relieve themselves in peace.”

Sophomore social work major McKenna Fish said she believes it is important to have places where students won’t be judged.

“I think it’s just important that people have a place to go where they feel safe,” Fish said.

Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MrPacMan80