Northwest needs more gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus to accommodate students, staff, faculty and community members.
Some dorm buildings, such as Franken, have gender-inclusive bathrooms.. However, the academic buildings on campus are sorely lacking them. All of the academic buildings on campus should have gender-inclusive bathrooms added.
Gender-inclusive bathrooms have a multitude of benefits for everyone. For people who identify as non-binary, gender-inclusive bathrooms provide a sense of comfort.
A survey found that 60% of non-binary and transgender Americans avoid using public restrooms due to being scared of hostile encounters, according to a 2019 Reuters article. DC Trans Coalition echoed that survey with a survey of its own that reported 68% of their respondents were denied access to a bathroom or were harassed.
Non-binary students on campus, as well as faculty, staff and visitors deserve to feel comfortable when using the bathroom.
Providing non-binary people on campus gender-inclusive bathrooms also acknowledges their indentity. By only providing the option to use whichever bathroom they want, their identity is ignored and effectively brushed under the rug.
Northwest should strive to ensure non-binary people on campus are able to feel comfortable while having their identity acknowledged. The same applies to transgender people on campus.
Transgender students are far too often misgendered when using the opposite bathroom from the gender they may physcially appear to be. They also face the same potential hostile encounters non-binary students face.
Gender-inclusive bathrooms also benefit gender-conforming people.
Parents can help their younger children of the opposite gender wash their hands without having to feel weird about bringing them into the other gender’s bathroom. They can also help their children that might have accessibility needs more easily.
Older community members that come on campus for events with accessibility needs can also get help more easily. In a gender-inclusive bathroom, having a full-grown adult of the opposite gender as a caretaker wouldn’t be as complicated when it came to helping take care of the person their tasked with helping.
It’s also worth noting gender-inclusive bathrooms would decrease lines and waiting times whenever campus sees a large group of people at sporting events. Having another bathroom option means more stalls, and in turn, more people being able to use the facilities at a time.
Northwest has been moving in the right direction by starting to add gender-inclusive bathrooms to residential halls. They should continue moving in that direction by adding gender-inclusive bathrooms to the different academic buildings across campus.