CSUN emphasizes how inclusive and diverse our campus is, yet still manages to isolate a large part of our student population – our transgender and gender-nonconforming community.
Recently, CSUN implemented gender-neutral restrooms in the Oasis Center that opened in August. Not only did the campus gain a place to relax and be in complete serenity, but they also included a gender-neutral restroom to top it off.
Although this was a great innovation to our campus, what happens to those gender- nonconforming or transgender students who are in Manzanita Hall and are in need of a restroom? Are they expected to walk across campus just to use a restroom?
CSUN needs to implement gender-neutral restrooms in every building on campus to alleviate this issue. The LBGTQ community on campus is large and is severely impacted by the lack of safe spaces where they can use the restroom.
Many do not realize the struggle these people encounter on a daily basis, myself included. But as a progressive campus that is moving towards inclusion and overall campus safety, it’s important to recognize the issue at hand.
Having bathrooms for these individuals only in the USU does nothing for those who are on the polar opposite side of campus. According to the a study by Williams Institute, 70 percent of transgender or gender-nonconforming people experience some sort of negative experience in a public bathroom.
With this study in mind, CSUN puts students at risk. Sometimes, those who want to use the gender-neutral restroom are not able to make the long journey across campus. Therefore, they are forced to use a restroom that not only makes them feel unsafe, but they are at risk for discrimination on our own campus.
The LBGTQ community should not have to fight for a basic right that is the use of a public restroom. With this, as an inclusive student population we need to accept those who are a part of this community, and use our voices to stand up and support them.
Whether that is speaking out and raising awareness to the Board of Directors about implementing more gender-neutral restrooms, or showing support in another way. A handful of gender-neutral restrooms are not enough to stand up to the masses of the traditional men and women restrooms on campus.
Transgender and gender-nonconforming students at CSUN should be able to focus on education and only their education. They should not have to worry about where they are going to use the restroom or have to plan their day accordingly so they can walk to the USU to the handful of gender-neutral restrooms in that location.
The lack of safe spaces for these individuals becomes a burden that people outside of this community are not taking into consideration.
In general, these bathrooms do not have to be just for the LBGTQ community, it can be for the average single dad who has to take his daughter to the restroom. Although it is focused on the LBGTQ community, it can benefit multiple people in multiple communities.
With that in mind, if we are inclusive of families by incorporating family restrooms and are able to provide them with privacy, how come we cannot do so for our LBGTQ community? If we are unable to provide a variety of options for restroom facilities, is CSUN as diverse as we set ourselves out to be?
Prior to this year, I was personally unaware that there were gender-neutral restrooms on campus. When I first heard about the Oasis, I thought it was our first and only gender-neutral restroom. To my surprise, we had a few other single stall restrooms, scattered around the USU that have gone un-publicized.
So, get it together CSUN. Create things we need such as gender-neutral restrooms, not new university halls. The average price to renovate a restroom is slightly under $10,000. So, instead of spending that $39 million budget all on a new building, set aside money to renovate gender-neutral restrooms.
-Alexandra Chandler, 20, is a CSUN communication major.