This week, we highlighted a challenge transgendered people face, and it’s something we tend to take for granted on a daily basis: using a restroom.
Although some points brought up in the argument for creating full unisex restrooms are valid, we aren’t entirely sure how this would work at SVSU.
Because SVSU is a relatively small university compared to others in the state, we feel like there is a relatively small transgendered population as well. We could see potential benefits of including these restrooms at much larger universities, such as Michigan State, but not necessarily here.
Perhaps our reaction can be summed up by an acquaintance of one of our board members. When discussing the possibility of converting restrooms on campus into full unisex restrooms, the acquaintance said there were two major reactions: no one really cares about who is in the restroom, and he very much doubted transgendered people wanted extra attention paid to them when using the restroom.
We tend to agree. We feel like most people don’t look at others when using the restroom because we have other things on our minds when we walk into a restroom. Some of our board members even brought up the “guy code,” which requires men to not make eye contact or talk during their time in the restroom.
For the most part, people use the restroom for one main purpose. We feel like offering full unisex restrooms would increase negative attention, and the last thing anyone wants is scrutiny.
But this isn’t the only concern. One of the consequences we foresee with full unisex restrooms is an increase of harassment or worse. The possibility of harassment is reason enough to not have these on a full scale at SVSU. We feel they could promote a hostile environment in a place that shouldn’t be. No one wants to be uncomfortable, especially in an environment where people are already so exposed.
Another point we discussed is the student population of the University. We aren’t even sure the idea of full unisex bathrooms would be accepted by a lot of students, especially when using transgendered people as examples of why this is a good policy.
For reasons including religious beliefs or just feeling uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a restroom with the other sex, we have serious doubts that full unisex bathrooms would be accepted.
We are, however, happy that the University already offers single unisex bathrooms, and we are happy that they are located in multiple places around campus. We feel this should be promoted much more than it already is.
Using the restroom is something we take for granted, and for some people, this situation can be a major dilemma. We want to encourage the University to take steps that involves everyone, and we believe the University is on the right path at this point in time. With a little more promotion of existing unisex bathrooms, we believe the University could improve the quality of life.