A recent article in the Daily Trojan reported what many of us already knew: USC is especially welcoming toward members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community when compared with other universities.
USC’s LGBT Student Resource Center has drawn significantly more students this year, and its establishment in 2005 has helped the university make its way toward the top of the list for LGBT college applicants.
All of this is undoubtedly positive and promising. But one aspect of the LGBT Student Resource Center’s plan is questionable: the push for more gender-neutral restrooms on campus.
Twelve buildings on campus currently have gender-neutral restrooms (a bathroom that bears male and female signs on the door), and many in the LGBT community would like this number to increase.
The community has voiced concern that transgender individuals might feel uncomfortable or be harassed when using single-sex restrooms.
But at a place where an LGBT student is purportedly treated as an equal to any other given student, do we really need to waste time, thought and money on a project that would likely be superfluous?
If we are such a tolerant, integrative university then why are protective measures in restrooms even necessary?
Gender-neutral bathrooms are not the next great step in advancing LGBT rights. Though they would help to make transgender students feel more comfortable, the LGBT center and QuASA should focus their efforts on larger issues affecting the LGBT community.
This isn’t to say gender-neutral bathrooms should not exist at all; rather, 12 of them are enough to serve the campus.
USC students, regardless of his or her personal opinion about LGBT rights, should have the common decency to treat every person with respect, or at the very least not attack a person in the restroom because he or she appears to be transgender.
As a university filled with intelligent people trying to attain higher knowledge and to hopefully make positive contributions to society, it is unlikely that something as basic as who one chooses to have sex with or which gender they identify with would incite such intolerance as to cause an issue with single-sex restrooms. To assume otherwise is almost insulting.
The American Disabilities Act stipulates that buildings make accessible restrooms available, these accessible restrooms often being
The new buildings soon to grace our campus are likely to add to the count of gender-neutral bathrooms as a result of the ADA. There is no problem with this. But an attempt to build more gender-neutral restrooms for the purpose of making transgender students feel more accommodated might actually be unnecessary.
Placing such an emphasis on extending congruity to somewhere like the restroom is unnecessary. It draws more attention to the differences that exist among gay, straight and transgender individuals.
Our university has consistently been deemed one of the most LGBT-friendly campuses and our students have repeatedly demonstrated integrity and respect for difference, and it is ludicrous to claim that not offering enough gender-neutral restrooms for transgender students could change or diminish these facts.
The status of our university as one of the most LGBT-friendly should be celebrated. It is more than unfortunate that institutions and individuals still make members of the LGBT community uncomfortable, or even condemn them for their sexual preferences.
We have shown, as a community, that we are not stuck in the dark ages of intolerance toward people of different sexual orientations and have set an example for other institutions for how to make LGBT students feel welcomed.
Throwing money at gender-neutral bathrooms, however, will not make any groundbreaking, positive difference.
Sarah Cueva is a sophomore majoring in political science. Her point runs Fridays.