ASU unveils more gender neutral restrooms on campus

The transgender community has made great strides toward awareness and inclusion this year in the media and even at ASU, where the University implemented more gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

Tempe USG President Isaac Miller said that USG Tempe had an entire team working on policy to add more gender-neutral bathrooms.

“This last year, the USG passed a resolution advocating for the further creation of gender-neutral bathrooms and housing on campus,” Miller said. “Our services department in particular was emphatic on at least setting the groundwork to realize this goal.”

ASU public information officer Herminia Rincon included a university statement in an email that the design of bathroom accommodations on campus will be inclusive. 

"The needs of all members of the ASU community are important, and the university is committed to providing a safe environment that is free of discrimination and harassment towards any student, faculty member, employee or visiting guest," she said. 

In April, USG Tempe passed Senate Bill 81 to advocate for more gender-neutral restrooms to be established and labeled correctly. A State Press investigation found that as of fall 2013, ASU offered amenities comparable to other universities.

Gender-neutral restrooms provide a universal convenience for cisgender, transgender and genderfluid individuals alike. These gender neutral restrooms provide more space and accessibility for people whose disabilities require wheelchair access, as well as individuals whose caregivers may not be of the same gender. Young children and their parents may also benefit from non-binary restrooms, where a father caring for his daughter, or a mother caring for her son may face a difficult decision during bathroom breaks.

Julian Melson, a facilitator and advocate for Trans Spectrum of Arizona, said he thinks the best approach is to meet the needs of everyone within reason.

“Much like segregated bathrooms during the civil rights movement, in time, with progress and education, gender-neutral restrooms should be accepted," Melson said. 

Last August, the Association of Students of Mesa Community College and the LGBTQ Alliance petitioned their school to change restroom signage and to add more single-stall restrooms.

The petition needs 1,000 signatures in order for the alliance to secure a meeting with the administration.

Christopher O’Connor, the executive vice president of ASMCC, said the organization wants to make sure that "everyone is being provided resources and the ability to feel comfortable on campus."

Cassandra Pierre, a Trans Spectrum board member, said the threat of violence or sexual assault is real and equal for any gender direction when it comes to the restroom.

“Security on campus helps, but awareness through education is the most important defense against discrimination or violence," Pierre said. 

Last April, transgender activist Laverne Cox spoke at ASU’s Tempe campus as part of pride week at ASU. Pierre said the restrooms at the event were gender-neutral.

“It was a success, any doubts I had about gender-neutral bathrooms were shut down," Pierre said.

Battle still continues across Arizona 

Tn 2009, 17 percent of all reported hate crimes against the LGBTQ community were disproportionately directed at people who identified themselves as transgender, according to The Office for Victims of Crime.

In 2013, Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, spearheaded “The Bathroom Bill.” This bill would have blocked local governments from passing ordinances that would penalize businesses for barring transgender individuals from using their restrooms.

In 2014, the controversial arrest of ASU student Monica Jones drew the community’s attention. Jones was charged with “Manifestation of Prostitution,” by Phoenix police, and sentenced to 30 days in a men’s prison. Jones claimed she was merely “walking while trans.”

Just this year, Phoenix was the scene of the sixteenth transgender person to be killed in the U.S. Kandis Capri, 35, a transgender woman of color, was shot and killed outside of a Phoenix apartment she had been staying at.

According to a 2013 State Press article, ASU was already stepping toward improving gender-neutral accommodations, but, unfortunately, most students were unaware of the options available to them. 

With the help of Trans Spectrum AZ, the rest of the state should be able to avoid a similar predicament.

Additional information about the transgender community, educational material, a resource guide or community events can be found at transspectrum.org.

Gender-neutral bathrooms at ASU:


Downtown Phoenix:






Tempe:


West:




Polytechnic:



Reach the reporter at Preston.Scott-Hall@asu.edu

Related Links:

Transgender actress, activist Laverne Cox speaks at ASU

Students, LGBT activists march for deceased transgender teen



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