Students organize 'Sh*t-In,' 'Gender Inclusive Bathroom Challenge'

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • Students at San Diego State University held a “Sh*t-In” in protest of non-gender inclusive bathrooms.
  • Meanwhile, students at the University of Oregon pledged a 10-day boycott of traditional restrooms.
  • Both schools already have some gender inclusive facilities.
  • Via Read the Score.

    Students at San Diego State University (SDSU) hosted a “Sh*t-In” event last Tuesday morning to protest non-gender inclusive bathrooms.

    The event’s Facebook page says the goal is “to raise awareness and advocacy for Gender Neutral/ Gender non segregated bathrooms.”

    "It has checked my privilege in a way I didn’t expect it would."   

    “For trans* and gender nonconforming individuals, gender segregated bathrooms can be spaces where they are met with intimidation, harassment, run-ins with security, and/or violence,” the page description says. “These occurrences happen when people using the restroom police the gender of others based on binary assumptions and expectations of who men and women are and what they look like.”

    According to SDSU’s #TuesdayTrivia, there are already more than 10 gender-neutral bathrooms on the campus as part of the university’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

    Meanwhile, queer and transgender organizations at the University of Oregon (UO) also protested traditional male-female bathrooms through a “ Gender Inclusive Bathroom Challenge,” where students pledged to boycott traditional campus bathrooms during Oct. 14-24.

    “Having non-gender neutral bathrooms makes them (transgender and gender-fluid students) afraid and uncomfortable. It is not fair to that population of students to have to think about that on a daily basis,” Kayla Caddell, a student participating in the challenge told Daily Emerald, UO’s student newspaper. “It has checked my privilege in a way I didn’t expect it would.”

    Elle Mallon, the Gender and Sexual Diversity advocate for Associated Students of OU (ASUO), led the challenge, alongside Maure Smith-Benanti, director of LGBT Education and Support Services. The pair hopes the challenge will combat the discrimination and discomfort facing non-conforming students.

    “We find that restrooms and lockers rooms are the places where transgender people encounter aggression and micro-aggression,” Smith-Benanti told the Daily Emerald. “The most important thing is everyone needs a safe place to do their business.”

    Those participating in the challenge say the goal was to update UO campus maps to show where the nearest two gender inclusive bathrooms are at any given location. They also hope to install a gender inclusive bathroom in every building on campus and make all single-stall facilities gender inclusive.

    “The point of the challenge is to raise awareness for how hard it is to find and navigate gender inclusive bathrooms,” Mallon told Campus Reform in an email. “This way allies to the trans community get a sense of how difficult it is for trans people to navigate. This was an attempt to get allies to become passionate about creating a safer campus for trans folks and everyone who has difficulty navigating the gendered space around our campus.”

    Mallon and the LGBTQA community are requesting the ASUO draft a resolution for university administrators to eventually institute and fund gender inclusive bathroom signs. Mallon told Campus Reform that each sign will cost an estimated $90 per bathroom and the group must raise the money through the administration, academic departments, and donations.

    According to CampusPride.org—a website that lists campuses nationwide that offer gender-neutral facilities—UO already offers gender inclusive bathrooms and showers in a centrally located building.

    UO did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publishing.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO