Gender-neutral bathrooms aren’t complete ‘safe-zones’


Ted Eyton

If gender-neutral bathrooms are implemented, everyone could use the bathroom at the same time, but there would need to be set precautions.

Justin Som, Staff Writer

As a conservative Democrat, I completely support the efforts of transgender people to erase discrimination from the general populace. Like many Americans, I have seen that there are similarities between the African-American civil rights movement of the 1960s and the LGBT movements of today. Yet, when it comes to the most recent call by the LGBT community for gender-neutral bathrooms in schools I support them only under certain conditions.

Even though the idea of a “gender-neutral” bathroom does have undeniable merits, there are still flaws and set conditions that must be attended to upon their installment.

To be direct, the main problem with “gender-neutral” bathrooms is safety.

Now, before readers jump to conclusions, I am not talking about a threat of rape. Yes, the argument by many conservative Republicans does center around sexual assault occurring in these restrooms as a result of both male and female sexes being in the same restroom, but such a claim is obviously a bit of a stretch.

Most cases of rape don’t even occur in bathrooms. In fact, according to RAINN, an anti-sexual assault group, only seven percent of rapes even took place in a school environment, with a large percentage being in public places or in the homes of people who were close to the victim.

A gender-neutral bathroom wouldn’t have fewer restrictions than a normal bathroom. The idea that a gender-neutral bathroom would have less security than a traditional single-gender bathroom is a problem with rape culture itself, not the restrooms.

What do you think about the new gender-neutral bathroom in D Hall?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

For instance, should a sex offender be really set on harming victims, who may already be pre-chosen in their mind, the offender wouldn’t be deterred from entering an opposite-gender bathroom that is unsecured. It is certainly against the social norm for an opposite gender to enter another restroom, but once an offender breaks out of this mindset, there is no real shielding against a possible sexual offense.

On the other hand, there is an undeniable problem with the social implication and outlook that will be thrown onto the people who use the new restroom.

The purpose of a gender-neutral bathroom is to provide a safe place for all to use the restroom comfortably. To even come this far with such a measure, transgender people have argued that they needed it because they were constantly feeling animosity from other people when they used the restroom of their own choice.

Yet, the usage of such bathrooms would only increase the targeting of these transgender people.

Right now, much of the discrimination against a transgender person is limited to inside the restroom, where people are more prone to noting differences. Upon leaving that restroom, most of that antagonism would diminish if the transgender person didn’t openly reveal their gender.

The case with gender-neutral bathrooms is this: animosity toward a transgender individual will not vanish when they depart from the bathroom.

When people see the gender-neutral bathroom being used, it would be natural to assume that the user could be transgender despite the fact that anyone can use the restroom, and not only transgender people. Even if the user is not transgender, an onlooker might assume that the user is a member of or even just a sympathizer to the LGBT community.

This may cause higher victimization of LGBT people and their supporters by hate groups, who would simply have to look toward the gender-neutral bathroom and determine their targets from that smaller sample. In this case though, anyone who uses the bathroom is a possible victim of such an attack.

In 2014, there were 1402 hate crimes based on sexual orientation in the United States, according to the FBI.

With the discrimination against this community clearly a reality, the purpose of gender-neutral bathrooms faces some significant disadvantages. Yet, the idea of a gender-neutral bathroom is definitively beneficial. There are just some issues that need to be handled before installation.