Friday, September 14, 2007
A Different World
My institution of higher learning made headlines in Boston recently, as 21 bathrooms on campus were changed to gender neutral facilities. My college is not the first to do so, but has jumped on the band wagon relatively early (a few dozen institutions in the country currently have similar restrooms), responding to the petitioning of transgendered students who felt uncomfortable having to identify with a specific gender whenever they needed to make use of a bathroom. From academic buildings to dormitories, the school has made it a priority to accommodate everyone.
The decision has come under fire, especially from the (albeit, few) conservative voices at the school and surrounding community. Critics have deemed it a pointless action on the part of the school, accusing the transgendered community of causing a fuss just for the sake of complaining. They're just bathrooms, after all. By the time you're in college, you should know what gender you are. It's a matter of anatomy, not psychology, they say.
Well, I say that's bullshit. Being born into a body and gender that is not compatible with your mindset, your feelings, your personality must be a trying ordeal in itself. America and the rest of the world is so rigid in their socialization of gender roles and norms - to exist outside that box cannot be a comfortable place, especially when it comes to making a very private choice about your gender in such a public way. If we can make these, as the critics call them, pointless changes that do not negatively effect any individual while making SUCH a difference in the lives of those who will benefit from them, why not? Why aren't other places scrambling to follow suit? Why is the world still a place where oppression and insensitivity is the accepted norm? I'm not trying to get all koombyah on this blog or anything, but really - it's not hurting you, conservative America! Gay marriage doesn't hurt you, either. If you don't like it or agree with it and it has no consequence in your life, why can't you just stay out of it? Use your damn gender specific bathrooms and shut up already.
I applaud my college, and all the other places in this country that are finally realizing the need for change. It's about damn time.