By Matthew Tomlinson

Single-stalled bathrooms in the MSU.                                                                 Photo by Brenna Everdale, The Keystone
Single-stalled bathrooms in the MSU. Photo by Brenna Everdale, The Keystone

Recently it has been brought to my attention that campus organizations including the Allies Equality Network, the Student Government Board and the Academic Affairs Committee, are collaborating to introduce gender-neutral bathrooms to certain buildings on campus. Two new gender-neutral bathrooms will be at the McFarland Student Union Building towards the end of the Spring 2015 semester, and within the next few months, the one-person restrooms in Lytle, Rickenbach and deFrancesco will also become gender-neutral.

As a student here at KU who not only has friends who do not identify as either male or female, but who also opposes the idea of publicly assigned gender roles, I think this is a great idea. This proposal will promote an inclusive and open-minded environment in which everyone’s comfort levels, beliefs and identities are respected.

Initially, my female friends and I were concerned that the plan would require women to share bathrooms with men. However, because this plan will only affect the single-stalled restrooms, women’s privacy and safety will not be compromised.

Personally, I feel as though the university setting is one in which ideas and beliefs are to be fostered, discussed, respected and potentially transformed. Something as commonplace as a bathroom can make all the difference in how people interpret what should and should not be discussed based on the message it conveys. In a world consistently becoming more aware of identity politics, as well as other prevalent social issues, this implementation will help promote discussion and tolerance of marginalized gender groups.

These changes have also brought to my attention the fact that there already have been gender-neutral bathrooms installed in various locations throughout the university; these changes are simply adding to their number.

Schaeffer Auditorium, the Sharadin Arts Building, and the Facilities Building on south campus already have gender-neutral bathrooms.

The fact that there are a growing number of gender-neutral bathrooms being positioned in locations that students will see on their day-to-day routines is fantastic.

However, I feel that a necessary step further would be to have them installed in the dorms and at South Dining Hall. These are areas that are much more frequently visited by students.

But since the current plans simply involve a change of signage, enacting these changes on a larger scale, which would include the dormitories and South Dining Hall, may involve higher costs, as well as safety concerns. If disposing of women’s restrooms is proposed, I would strongly oppose further changes.

Instead, I would ideally like to see the addition of single-stalled gender-neutral bathrooms to these locations. I am aware that this will require more funding, but if there are only gender-neutral bathrooms in the most public buildings on campus, we have to question how much of this is really benefitting the students rather than simply giving us a progressive reputation.

There is currently an information pamphlet as well as a map on the gender-neutral bathroom locations in the works to raise awareness of this project. I’m glad to say I’m attending a school with student groups that are interested in understanding and accepting the multifaceted and diverse needs of the student body.

22 responses to “Addition of gender-neutral bathrooms signifies progress at KU”

  1. Alex Jarossy Class of 2015 Avatar
    Alex Jarossy Class of 2015

    Thank you!

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through
    more, thanks for the information!

  3. Thank you bickledick

  4. It’s not all about the cost, it’s about the principle. I’m tolerant, but only to an extant then you end up getting stepped on. This is an autrocity to the majority!

  5. this article was written by a non-transgender man, so the ‘trannies who think this way’ comment is a complete non-sequitur, in addition to being offensive and antagonistic. also, acknowledging that some men ARE rapists/predators and would take advantage of gender-neutralizing all of the bathrooms does not mean “all men are rapists”. i don’t understand how someone could think that it means “all men are rapists”, unless they are extremely defensive and somehow construe women’s reasonable safety concerns as a personal insult. 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while attending college; it’s not unreasonable for women to be worried about being attacked.

  6. The dark side of humanity Avatar
    The dark side of humanity

    This is all just nonsense. Don’t concern yourselves with it. Trannies make up something like 0.2% of the population. Don’t entertain their delusions, it’s a waste of your time.

  7. Big Nick Digger Avatar
    Big Nick Digger

    First of all, nice reply. Second of all, yes you do. You’re just obfuscating. Playing ignorant doesn’t work when the people you’re talking to are actually smarter than you.

  8. A tolerant human Avatar
    A tolerant human

    Also I still don’t understand how anatomy or childhood toy preference has to do with whom adult college students defecate next to.

  9. A tolerant human Avatar
    A tolerant human

    This study sounds very interesting, could you please link it?

  10. Good, so you’ll be happy if they didn’t do it at all, because all it is is a sign?

  11. “not all humans are born with a clear penis or vagina”, yes like 0.001% of them, you idiot. But luckily for us, doctors still found that they still are male or female based upon the types of toys they gravitate to: males go to technical toys, females gravitate to things with faces. Surprise surprise, at less than three months old, in over 95% of cases, the ones with penises gravitate to technical and vaginas to faces.

    Guess what they did later? The ones who did the opposite as expected reverted the change by age 8.

  12. A tolerant human Avatar
    A tolerant human

    Even assuming you’re correct (you aren’t, not all humans are born with a clear penis or vagina, some have neither or a more complex arrangement) but still, assuming you’re correct – why should the organ you were born with dictate who you may poop or pee next to?

  13. Exhausted from political correctness Avatar
    Exhausted from political correctness

    “Initially, my female friends and I were concerned that the plan would require women to share bathrooms with men.”

    Hypothetically, women wouldn’t be required to share bathrooms with men…. non-specified gendered humans with boobs would have to share with non-specified gendered humans without boobs…. so why would either nin-specified gendered human care?

    For heaven’s sake, this stuff is all so nonsensical. which parts do you have? You are that gender. Gay or straight, you are a gender based on what your parts were when you were born.

  14. A tolerant human Avatar
    A tolerant human

    What exactly are you angry about?

  15. The Patriarchy Avatar
    The Patriarchy

    Do not the parts about it being unacceptable if the women’s rooms were changed.

    And the bit about “However, because this plan will only affect the single-stalled restrooms, women’s privacy and safety will not be compromised.”

    They just had to put in an “all men are rapists” line didn’t they. No thanks we’d rather not copulate with trannies who think this way.

  16. A tolerant human Avatar
    A tolerant human

    Tons of countries dont have any segregated bathrooms at all. All you prudes that are terrified of the other gender smelling your shit or whatever… get over yourself.

  17. The Patriarchy Avatar
    The Patriarchy

    Oh god you freaks have a voice in decision making? Get out if you can’t make a decision on your gender, you can’t make a decision that affect our lives.

    Oh well, more places for sex.

  18. it barely costs anything cuz they’re only changing the signs on the single-stalled bathrooms

  19. Suppressed Popular Opinion Avatar
    Suppressed Popular Opinion

    Yes, nothing says progress like discarding genetics in favor of sentimental appeals to emotion and self-delusion. Never forget: sexual preference is “genetic” (despite twin studies disproving this and no evidence that ever survived peer review of a “gay gene” in the human genome) and that gender is a social construct. This message is brought to you by GLBTQFPVEOATNWMZ. Enjoy your gender alphabet soup.

  20. As chair of Allies Equality Network, one of the organizations supporting this initiative, I am, of course, exceptionally pleased to see Kutztown University welcoming all students, including those who may not feel comfortable using a gender-segregated restroom, and I thank the Keystone News for covering this story. Keep up the good work!

  21. Joe Bickledick Avatar
    Joe Bickledick

    It’s called using a stall…

  22. This is the biggest waste of money ever. I’m glad I am graduating and I will never give any money to kutztown.

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