OPINION: We need more gender neutral bathrooms

It’s important for all students to feel welcome, included; gender-neutral bathrooms would make this happen

Gender+neutral+restrooms+are+safer+and+more+inclusive+for+everyone%2C+regardless+of+gender+identity.+

ANISSA CHAK

Gender neutral restrooms are safer and more inclusive for everyone, regardless of gender identity.

PORTIA SIMMONS

Although society has taken strides for the equality of LGBTQ+ community members, there are still some things we can do to improve the everyday lives of these individuals. One of them is having gender-neutral bathrooms and having menstrual products available in both gendered bathrooms.

Matthew Jeffries, director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, said there should be more gender-neutral bathrooms and menstrual products in all bathrooms.

“I think it’s one way we can show care and affirming communities,” Jeffries said.

Normalizing more gender-neutral bathrooms will benefit a wide range of people. These include caregivers, parents or guardians that have kids that might be too old to go with their parents into a bathroom, or for someone who has a baby, Jeffries said.

“We often think of gender-neutral bathrooms for just trans people, and we are focused there because they are the most vulnerable, when we think about it more broadly, it benefits everyone,” Jeffries said. “I would love to see more and more gender-inclusive bathrooms, multi-stalled gender-inclusive bathrooms, menstrual products in all bathrooms, easily accessible and free.”

On campus, some of the gender-inclusive bathrooms can be found in the Chinook, the CUB and many of the student dorms, as well as lecture buildings.

Aydan Garland-Miner is the president and executive director of WSU’s PERIOD chapter, which is an organization focused on normalizing menstruation through education and provides menstrual products to those in need.

“When it comes to both bathrooms, it’s an accessibility issue,” Garland-Miner said. “If someone said ‘We want menstrual products in all bathrooms,’ I think we should be understanding of them. Everyone has different needs and we should be accommodating for them.”

The politicization of gender issues has become a large issue as well.

“I think the first thing that comes to mind is understanding,” Garland-Miner said. “I think that these issues have become sort of political, which I think is a little ridiculous. The idea of having menstrual products in the men’s bathroom — there’s really no reason for the men that use the men’s bathroom to be upset, it doesn’t interrupt their experience in the bathroom.”

In regards to the future, Garland-Miner said she wishes for gender-neutral bathrooms to be more readily available and that students had access regardless of location.

“I wish every single building on campus had one on every floor,” Garland-Miner said. “Ideally, in the next decade, it’s normalized to have gender-neutral bathrooms.”

Those who would like to contact the PERIOD WSU chapter can reach out to wsuperiod@gmail.com.

As society progresses, the first step is putting menstrual products in both men’s and women’s restrooms. Hopefully, in the future, there will be no need to discriminate menstrual products by the bathroom. Ideally, there will be more gender-neutral bathrooms so all genders can access a bathroom facility with ease.