Unisex Bathrooms are Important

22cBy Courtney Downs

Unisex bathrooms are available for transgender students at College of Southern Nevada.

A unisex bathroom, which has one toilet in its own room, is available for use by male, female or gender non-conforming students, which don’t align with male or female genders. Think of a unisex bathroom as a family bathroom. It is private, which is a benefit for some of these students.

According to GLAAD, a group that advocates for LGBT issues, transgender is an umbrella term for someone whose gender identity or expression differs from what was noted at birth.

“An estimated .6 percent of adults, about 1.4 million, identify as transgender in the United States,” according to a June 2016 report titled “How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States” produced from University of California, Los Angeles’ The Williams Institute. In Nevada there are 12,700 people who identify as transgender.

An openly-transgender student at CSN Dani Gouaille didn’t know there were unisex bathrooms available on campus. She was made aware of this recently and favors the idea but suggests that these bathrooms should become more commonly used and have multiple stalls. She thinks the college should have universal bathrooms for everyone instead of gender-specific bathrooms.

“Specifically there is some controversy over use of bathrooms for transgender people,” said Joseph Hassert, communication instructor at CSN and adviser of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, a student club on campus. “So this would give transgender people a safe alternative when they perhaps don’t feel comfortable using the bathroom of their genders. So this gives them the option that could be safer, depending on how this person is feeling.”

Maria Marinch, executive director of The Office of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, said that she is aware that many students do not even know unisex bathrooms are available. Although there is at least one at each main campus, she notes that the locations are less visible than the gender-specific bathrooms. She is working on a solution. She hopes to get more unisex bathrooms in future CSN campuses.

Owen Pillion, CSN professor and a member of the Queer Inclusive College Committee, which supports LGBT students, advocates for more unisex bathrooms. From his own experiences, he understands the need for these bathrooms.

For locations of the unisex bathrooms on all three main campuses click this link https://www.csn.edu/sites/default/files/documents/imported/genderneutralbathrooms.pdf.

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