Society changing, but not fast enough

By Stacie Guevara, Scene Editor

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Something I have seen too commonly in public establishments are one-person rest rooms with no stalls, one toilet, and one sink — labeled as rest rooms for only men or only women.

There is nothing inside the bathrooms to identify them specifically as being for only men or only women — the interiors of the two look virtually identical.

There are no urinals or any dispensaries for feminine hygiene products, so what makes these rest rooms specifically for men or women?

Establishments that have one-person bathrooms need to start labeling them as gender-neutral bathrooms to let anyone and everyone use those rooms at any time.

Or, if a place of business only has rest rooms with stalls specifically designated for men or women, they need to install one-person gender-neutral bathrooms.

This would not only make nonbinary individuals feel safe and appreciated at stores, restaurants, or other public places, but it would also help transgender individuals and people going through a time of gender transition feel secure.

Trans men and women have often been harassed, either verbally or physically, in public rest rooms, and the problem continues without resolution.

Many avoid using the rest rooms in public spaces to avoid that humiliation and hurt.

I have been in a situation where there were two one-person bathrooms labeled for men and women and there was a line of men waiting to use their designated rest room — however, the women’s line was noticeably shorter.

If both bathrooms were gender-neutral, there would be less of a need for lines and people wouldn’t have to worry.

Bathrooms were originally labeled as men or women to avoid harassment and sexual misconduct, so with one-person gender-neutral bathrooms, people would only be safer.

With these bathrooms, nonbinary individuals would continue going to those same establishments, which is good for business.

The eradication of gender-specific bathrooms should be on its way and more inclusion should follow suit.

Legal action could also be taken by someone who is gender-nonconforming and they could sue for discrimination.

At Contra Costa College, four locations on campus are listed as having gender-neutral bathrooms, but students do not have easy access to one of those four, which is located on the second floor of the Library and Learning Resources Center.

There are gender-neutral bathrooms on the first floor of Early Learning Center and the second floors of the Gym Annex and the General Education Building.

The little-known AA Annex bathroom is also gender-neutral, but it’s not listed.

The fact there are some gender-neutral bathrooms on campus — be it few and far between — gives me some hope.

Some gender-neutral bathrooms are better than none and it’s a step in the right direction.

Society needs to realize there are more than two genders and should start catering to the equality of nonbinary individuals.

Discussions of issues like this that are impacting real people are happening.

Showing support to individuals who identify with whatever gender they want is part of that dialogue.

They should be able to identify as any gender, or no gender, without worry of discrimination or safety.