According to complaints the ASB has received, some transgender and gender non-conforming students have been harassed when they use the public restrooms on campus.PCC should not tolerate this kind of agitation against any subculture. The administration should install gender-neutral restrooms for those students who would feel safer using them. This would be the most cost effective and humanitarian way to address this issue of potential harassment.
Installing gender neutral restrooms would be much less expensive than, for example, developing a school-wide mandatory class to teach tolerance, stepping up police patrols of restrooms, and possibly installing security cameras outside of restrooms in order to catch instigators of intimidation.
The goal of any college campus is to provide a safe, supportive, and professional learning environment for its students. The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 states, “.it [is] a crime for a person.to willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person, .in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the.laws of this state. because of the other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, or because he or she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics”.
The PCC administration and Board of Trustees need to acknowledge that all people have an equal right to protection under the law regardless of how they talk, walk, or think. As long as these individuals are not hurting anyone they are entitled to the same right to use the restroom in peace as all the gender conforming students enjoy.
The harassment that is being tolerated today toward gender non-conforming students is exactly the same kind of harassment that was experienced in the past against African Americans, Jews, the Irish, Catholics, Italians, Latinos, Native Americans, persons of Asian descent, etc., etc.
Time and time again in this country we have seen that the minute someone “different” enters an established community, certain insecure members of the majority culture try to annoy and harm the non-conformists back into obscurity.
We cannot wait for the intolerant to get their act together and simply accept all the variations of human beings we have on campus. Events like the Jena 6 trials have shown us, once again, that there are still individuals in this country who have no idea what equal rights to peace and the pursuit of happiness mean under the law.
Sadly, this kind of ignorance may be with us forever. But gender-neutral restrooms are an easy, relatively inexpensive solution to stopping a portion of this persistent ignorance.
Gender-neutral individual restrooms would also be of great benefit to other students who would like to have more privacy than the multi-stall restrooms currently provide. Students who are parents and bring their young children on campus would welcome the privacy of a gender-neutral restroom for family use. Students who are experiencing digestive illness (as we all do some time) would appreciate the privacy of an individual restroom. Disabled students in wheelchairs would also appreciate the privacy that an individualized restroom provides.
It’s time to remodel the college a little bit more for the sake of a secure and egalitarian campus environment.