Gender-neutral restrooms to be incorporated on campus

Gender-neutral bathrooms will be incorporated on campus starting next year, a Planning and Budgeting Committee council member said in a meeting Thursday, Dec. 3.

To comply with new state and federal legislation, EC will move toward converting single-stall bathrooms on campus to accommodate transgender students by March 2017, Chairman Rory Natividad said.

Assembly Bill No. 1732 was approved by Governor Jerry Brown this past September and will require all single-stall bathrooms in public places or state and local government agencies to be labeled as gender-neutral, according to the California Legislative Information website.

EC Counselor Ken Key attended the meeting and said that the new facilities will create equality for transgender individuals.

“We need to provide services for them,” Key said. “This is a way to move in that direction.”

Over 40 restrooms throughout campus, single-stall and potentially a few double-stall facilities including both student and staff restrooms, will be converted and accompanied by gender-neutral signs, Irene Graff, director of Institutional Research and Planning Staff, said.

Not only is equality a factor of the transition, but safety as well.

In 2010 a transgender student was attacked and slashed on the chest in a Cal State Long Beach restroom, and in 2013 20.8 perfect of 5,922 single-bias hate crimes were over sexual orientation, according to the Hate Crime Statistics Report released from the FBI.

For women’s studies professor Hong Herrera Thomas, it’s important to take strides in the right direction.

“Gender-neutral bathrooms are an asset, not just for gender non-conforming people, but for people with families,” she said. “It’s helpful for students who bring kids on campus.”

The single-stall bathrooms always existed on campus (so) it doesn’t take much to change a sign, she added.

At least one student isn’t bothered by the change.

“I have no problem with it,” Eric Flores, 24, guitar major, said. “If transgenders feel more comfortable and if it makes things safer.”