California Lutheran University is now a public facility that offers trans, intersex and gender non-conformist a safe place to go to the bathroom. Thanks in part to the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government senior senator Nia Aglipay for making this a reality, with help from mydoorsigns.com who donated some of the signs.
This issue of gender binary in today’s culture raised the need of gender-neutral restrooms for those people who, Professor Peter Carlson said, “don’t fit those two stick figures.”
“There’s always a fear, and the fear is well based. Assaults on trans people are disturbingly high. Your likely hood of being assaulted as a trans person is far higher than if you are not trans,” Carlson said.
According to Carlson, the importance of these gender-neutral restrooms is that non-gender binary individuals need places where they feel safe to use the restroom. Carlson also said that by offering these restrooms, Cal Lutheran is demonstrating that the university is a welcoming community.
“It suddenly dawns on us, ‘Wow! When I see the men’s room sign…it doesn’t even occur to me that that might be a problem for someone until I’m made aware of that fact,” Carlson said.
Carlson also said he hopes that these restrooms will be subtle triggers that remind students this community welcomes people who don’t necessarily fit into that gender binary.
The Vice President of People Respecting Individuality, Diversity, and Equality Club
Michelle Cerami, said, “We’re here to make students feel comfortable. No matter who we are on campus, we should all be towards the goal of making sure student feel included and safe here.”
Professor Carlson and Cerami hope to see more of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual presence on campus, however they are all happy with the progress Cal Lutheran has made so far.
Cerami said, “It’s just so important to have people of faith just being inclusive regardless of where you are on the faith spectrum, for everyone come out and say ‘yeah we’re for the LGBT community’.”
With gender fluidity becoming more present in pop culture more barriers for trans, intersex and gender non-conforming will be broken. Cal Lutheran has achieved in becoming a university that welcomes diversity and as Carlson said “addressing these ways of making our welcome real rather than just words on a website.”
As Carlson and Cerami said there may still be issues, CLU is showing actions speak louder than words with a place that embraces the challenges of diversity.
Published September 16th, 2015