Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Not good enough

Three words spring to mind when looking over the college’s plan for gender-inclusive bathrooms: not good enough. Though Augustana is making a step in the right direction towards equality, that step should have been a much larger stride.
Though it’s admirable the college is providing 14 gender-inclusive bathrooms, most of these bathrooms are not in easily located parts of the campus. If a transgender student is in the science building, the closest bathroom for them would be in Founders Hall or the Swanson lobby.
Otherwise, they would have to travel to Sorenson, located on one edge of campus, Centennial Hall, or the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex or the Ken Anderson Academic All-American Club. Old Main, as just one building, has eight bathrooms, yet students who don’t want to use bathrooms with binary labels that don’t match their gender identity would have to literally cross a bridge or walk up a steep hill.
This hardly seems fair when male or female-identified students in Old Main could literally walk up or down one flight of stairs (or even use the elevator) if they were uncomfortable using a gender-inclusive bathroom, which they shouldn’t be.
Having so few gender-neutral bathrooms so spread out also promotes a culture of isolation. Though there are real concerns for the safety of transgender students, having more gender-neutral bathrooms would help normalize instead of stigmatize an act that every human being has to complete.
In an email sent out to the campus by Kent Barnds, Barnds states that gender-inclusive bathrooms “are typically single-use facilities with lockable doors, a toilet and sink, and usually are designed for use by one individual at a time,” and though that can definitely be the case, that doesn’t mean that they have to be, and often times these bathrooms do have multiple stalls.
Augustana made the right choice to have these gender-inclusive bathrooms. Now the college just needs to include more of these bathrooms.

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