Gender Neutral Toilets: SUSU's Latest Talking Point
The last few days have seen discussion via facebook regarding SUSU’s accommodation of the growing community of transgender staff and students. With roughly 1 in every 400 students identifying themselves […]
The last few days have seen discussion via facebook regarding SUSU’s accommodation of the growing community of transgender staff and students.
With roughly 1 in every 400 students identifying themselves as a different gender to the one in which they born, it has been suggested that SUSU should start providing ‘gender neutral’ toilets across the University and Student Union buildings. Gender neutral toilets are toilets that a person of any gender can use and this would enable lads and ladies alike to all defecate in unity.
However, there is some debate as to IF these toilets would be a good thing for transgender people at Southampton.
Whilst the idea of gender neutral toilets making people more comfortable is something many people can certainly get on board with, some worry that it may actually serve to spotlight transgender people and consequently make them targets of hideous discrimination.
In 2013, it is likely that most people at the University of Southampton are enlightened enough to accept and embrace transgender people in their community. Sadly however, there are always a few ignorant people who tarnish the reputation of everyone.
The best thing about neutral toilets would be that they would hopefully be used by people of any gender, sexuality, age and transgender people alike
Ideally, these toilets would subtly start to challenge the perspective of transgender people and consequently serve to promote transgender rights and normalize their presence within SUSU. These changes would not necessarily require a massive campaign but would help to create a better and more tolerant university environment.
Of course, in our financially driven world, there are always costs to think about. Quite rightly it has been argued that nothing is free, so would creating a gender neutral toilet environment require a considerable chunk out of SUSU’s annual budget?
Apparently not! It has been suggested that the only change that would initially need to be made is the signage on some of the toilets within the students union. This would mean that instead of FEMALE or MALE on the door it could say ‘self identified men’ and ‘self identified women’. Handy eh?
The real issue is tackling transphobia on campus rather than specifically the installation of gender-neutral toilets. Attitudes can take a long time to change and creating a students’ union that transgender people can feel equally comfortable in should be important to every student regardless of gender.