One Flush Away From Possible Solutions
Emmitt Williams
ewill756@uwsp.edu

On a quest to find out what people on campus think about gender neutral bathrooms, the most common feedback seemed to be more positive than negative. With this in mind, one might inquire why there may not be an equal distribution of gender neutral bathrooms and the "regular" ones here on campus. Whatever the reasons may be, there are definitely pros and cons to be weighed; rather one holds more weight than the other is a matter of opinion.

After speaking with representatives from different organizations like the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Women’s Resource Center, the matter became more personable. Gender neutral bathrooms tended to have the popular vote in the context of being a moral issue.
 
Axel Larson, a sophomore double majoring in Web and Digital Media Development and Computer Information systems and also the Administrative and Institutional Support Director in Gender and Sexuality Alliance believes that gender neutral bathrooms are incredibly useful.

Increasing the number of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus is of question most recently 
at University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Photo by Emmitt Williams.

"Gender neutral bathrooms are necessary for transgenders. They bring more comfort," Larson said.
 
"The pros weigh out the cons", said Triston King, a theatre major and also general member of GSA.
 
After speaking with Nigel Golden, a sophomore double majoring in Biology and Wildlife Ecology, it is clear that gender neutral bathrooms, in some students’ opinions, bring more than comfort to transsexuals or transgenders but to the elderly as well.
 
"Family also seems to be another huge reason why gender neutral bathrooms could be effective. I remember taking my grandmother to Mississippi for Thanksgiving and all the places we stopped at did not have gender neutral bathrooms," Golden said. "It was hard for my grandmother to even stand up on her own. So I would have to assist her and wheel her into the women’s bathroom. The looks I got made me feel uncomfortable, but I had to ignore it."
 
It is a great advantage that gender neutral bathrooms do not discriminate against sex or age and this within itself could be revolutionary. What does a mother tell her child (who is the opposite) who is still frightened to go to the bathroom without mommy? "When my son was five, and he still wanted me to go in the bathroom with him, what do I tell him? … Go in the women’s room?" said Jamie Chariton from the Women’s Resource Center.
 
Generally people support gender neutral bathrooms because they do not discriminate, are more convenient, and individuals are more comfortable and free from judgment. However, what makes them not such a good idea?
 
When considering why gender neutral bathrooms may not be such a good idea or more publicized here on campus, the most common response revolved around cost. With school budgets being deducted, gender neutral bathrooms would probably be last on the list of things to spend university dollars on. However, this is mere opinion; different people equal different ideals and perspectives which lead us back to the situation at hand.
 
The second most common response on why people thought gender neutral bathrooms may not be as popular was the idea of causing rape to be more prevalent. Some of the same people who thought this might be a con also thought the logic behind it was not so reasonable.
"[It’s] not justifiable because there are no locks on bathroom doors … If you go in the bathroom stall you don’t really know if the person next to you is a boy or girl," Larson said.