Gender-Neutral Bathrooms at CLU

The Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government Senate recently passed a resolution in favor of changing all unisex bathrooms on campus to gender-neutral bathrooms. This change would be made to accommodate transgender students and make them feel more comfortable.

Although this may just seem like a name change for a bathroom, people directly involved with the project know the importance of the issue.

ASCLUG Senator Nia Aglipay, who is the project leader said she decided to take on the project because she felt like this is a student need.

“As one of the many voices of the CLU student body, it is our job as Senators to speak up and out about things that need change,” Aglipay said in an email interview.

Aglipay said she is hoping this change will not only  allow transgender students to feel more comfortable on campus but also help raise awareness from other students on campus.

“Not only would this allow people to be aware and open to the population of people who identify as LGBTQ, but it would also allow those who identify as LGBTQ to be comfortable using the restroom which is a basic human need,” Aglipay said.

However Aglipay is not alone on supporting this issue. The Residence Life department as a whole is behind the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms.

“We continuously want to provide for the most welcoming environment that meets all of our students’ needs. As changes continue to occur, both nationally, and within our own institution, we will stay ahead of progression and change our policies to provide for that experience,” Associate Director of Student Life Chris Paul said in an email interview.

“The important piece is that we want our students to feel comfortable enough to approach our office to discuss their needs, and then our job is to work with them individually to meet those and create an environment that welcomes our decision,” Paul said.

One of the biggest advocates for the change on campus is transgender student, junior Chris Mitchell. Although Mitchell said Cal Lutheran has been amazing in the way they have accommodated him, he still thinks there is some progress that needs to be made.

“I think that what CLU is missing the most is transgender awareness,” Mitchell said. “We have Safe Zone training and PRIDE club. Those might be the only ways for students to learn about transgender individuals. I think that awareness is the first step in being more accommodating to a minority group on campus.”

Mitchell not only hopes there will soon be a number of gender-neutral bathrooms but also that gender-neutral housing will be available as well.

“This issue is very important because there are transgender students on campus. There are transgender students who have had to move off campus because we don’t advertise options for transgender students in housing,” Mitchell said. “We are a small group of people, but we are still here and we have to rely on the voices of the administration in order for changes to happen.”

However Mitchell said he does believe changes are on their way.

“Being such a liberal campus, I have a lot of faith in the changes that are to come,” Mitchell said.

The resolution for the gender-neutral bathrooms will now go to the Board of Regents for a final approval.

Cody McElligott
Staff Writer
Published February 25th, 2015