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New gender-neutral bathrooms implemented on campus

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New gender-neutral bathrooms implemented on campus

Someone walking out of one of the gender neutral bathrooms on campus, which are labelled

Someone walking out of one of the gender neutral bathrooms on campus, which are labelled "restroom." Photo credit: Jorge Villa

Someone walking out of one of the gender neutral bathrooms on campus, which are labelled "restroom." Photo credit: Jorge Villa

Someone walking out of one of the gender neutral bathrooms on campus, which are labelled "restroom." Photo credit: Jorge Villa

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New gender-neutral restrooms have been introduced on the El Camino campus in accordance to Assembly Bill No. 1732.

Assembly Bill No. 1732 states that “all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency shall be identified as all-gender toilet facilities” by March 1, 2017.

The bill was approved on Sept. 29, 2016, giving community colleges and other establishments five months to label single-stall restrooms as gender-neutral or unisex.

The transition from gendered to gender-neutral restrooms involves replacing existing signs with signs that have no gender signifiers on them, such as “restroom” or “all-gender.”

Two emails and one phone call regarding a request for comments regarding the restrooms from Staff and Student Diversity Office Director Jaynie Ishikawa were unanswered.

According to EC, there are 16 gender-neutral bathrooms in the following locations around campus:

  • Physics Building
  • Physical Education South
  • Life Science Building
  • Marsee Auditorium
  • Social Science Building
  • Natural Science Building
  • Pool & Health Center
  • Math Business Allied Health Building

Only five of the 16 gender-neutral bathrooms are available to the public, according to Campus Gender Restroom Project documents sent by Director of Community Relations Ann Garten. The remaining 11 bathrooms are reserved for staff.

Sociology and women studies professor Melissa Fujiwara believes that the gender-neutral bathrooms are one step closer to inclusion at EC.

“Regardless of what your gender identity is, you can feel safe and comfortable using the restroom,” Fujiwara said. “I think we are conditioned to think of gender as a binary system and that there is only two genders and some people have a hard time making that switch in understanding that transgender folks deserve to feel safe just as much as cis-gender people.”

Fujiwara believes gender-neutral restrooms are necessary to have throughout the campus.

“Just like its important to have men’s or women’s restrooms all over campus, it is important to have gender-neutral restrooms throughout campus as well, just so folks who want to access one have the ability to regardless of where they are,” she said.

While pleased with the implementation of the restrooms, Shaelyn Margolin, 19, nursing major, believes that there is more room for improvement.

“I haven’t actually seen any of the gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Even though I’m fairly new, I’ve been inside every building,” Margolin said. “I think (EC) could do a better job at making them easier to find so it isn’t a struggle for people to use them.”

Maisy Lidzinger, 19, psychology major, has not seen any gender-neutral bathrooms on campus either.

“There needs to me more considering that I haven’t seen any and I go to the bathroom every time I’m at school,” Lidzinger said. “(Gender-neutral bathrooms) are important to the school because its just one step closer to making sure everyone is equal.”

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About the Writer
Zach Hatakeyama, Editor-in-chief, News, and Features Editor

Zach Hatakeyama is in his fourth semester at El Camino College and in his second semester at The Union newspaper. He likes to cover features and art stories....

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New gender-neutral bathrooms implemented on campus