By Rebekah Maxwell – BarbWire guest contributor
This Week’s Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us
It’s not easy being a college student today. With the culture in upheaval all round us, practical concerns are sadly begin to harsh the buzz of our carefree co-eds. Concerns like, “are the campus bathrooms inclusive enough?”
Evidently, we didn’t learn everything we needed to know in kindergarten (in fact, those Pre-K lessons on toilet etiquette need to check their privilege). Our enlightened collegiate classes have evolved beyond the Dark Ages of the male/female dichotomy. So they can teach us the higher path. Elevate the discussion. By boycotting bathrooms….and “doing their business” on the lawn.
From Maggie Lit’s report at Campus Reform:
Students at San Diego State University (SDSU) hosted a “Sh*t-In” event last week to protest non-gender inclusive bathrooms.
The event’s Facebook page says the goal is “to raise awareness and advocacy for Gender Neutral/ Gender non segregated bathrooms.”
“For trans* and gender nonconforming individuals, gender segregated bathrooms can be spaces where they are met with intimidation, harassment, run-ins with security, and/or violence,” the page description says. “These occurrences happen when people using the restroom police the gender of others based on binary assumptions and expectations of who men and women are and what they look like.”
For those less-enlightened among us, the “sh*t-in” event features toilets set up on a common green and students/volunteers sitting upon them. The participants also pledge they won’t use gendered bathrooms or change rooms for a week. To raise awareness, you know.
Incidentally, the SDSU campus already has more than 10 gender-neutral bathrooms on the campus as part of the university’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion.” But it would seem that it’s not enough.
Meanwhile, queer and transgender organizations at the University of Oregon (UO) also protested traditional male-female bathrooms through a “Gender Inclusive Bathroom Challenge,” where students pledged to boycott traditional campus bathrooms during Oct. 14-24.
“Having non-gender neutral bathrooms makes them (transgender and gender-fluid students) afraid and uncomfortable. It is not fair to that population of students to have to think about that on a daily basis,” Kayla Caddell, a student participating in the challenge told Daily Emerald, UO’s student newspaper. “It has checked my privilege in a way I didn’t expect it would.”
Nothing “checks your privilege” like paying $45,000 a year (of other people’s money) at the hallowed halls of higher learning to pretend-poop on a lawn. Forgive the bathroom humor.
Those participating in the challenge say the goal was to update UO campus maps to show where the nearest two gender inclusive bathrooms are at any given location. They also hope to install a gender inclusive bathroom in every building on campus and make all single-stall facilities gender inclusive.
According to CampusPride.org—a website that lists campuses nationwide that offer gender-neutral facilities—UO already offers gender inclusive bathrooms and showers in a centrally located building.
But they clearly need more. Forget that only 0.3% of the population identifies as transgender. It’s about social justice, not statistics. Why shouldn’t they demand more transgendered bathrooms than actual transgendered people on campus? From your post-colonial reparations class to your queer studies practicum, all roads must lead through an “inclusive” bathroom…preferably subsidized by middle class taxpayers.
“We find that restrooms and lockers rooms are the places where transgender people encounter aggression and micro-aggression,” Maure Smith-Benanti (director of LGBT Education and Support Services) told the Daily Emerald. “The most important thing is everyone needs a safe place to do their business.”
Another quick translation: Micro-aggression describes social exchanges in which a member of a dominant culture says or does something, often accidentally, and without intended malice, that belittles and alienates a member of a marginalized group.
For example, when you walk into a women’s bathroom and see an apparent man standing and unzipping in a stall, your gasp of shock might be a micro-aggression. Your eyes widening in surprise might be oppression. In fact, if your mere presence in the public bathroom offends this bearded stranger, you are the offense. We know what you’re thinking, hater. And we know you’re the problem.
That’s why you have change your archaic preconceptions, like that there’s any difference between males and females. That’s not simple reality (let alone necessary for survival), it’s a tool of the patriarchy. Time to shake loose the shackles of society (and biology), and force everyone to conform to gender-nonconformity.
It’s not easy to know which base urges to follow these days—after all, we don’t know who we are, how to breed, or where to relieve ourselves now. It’s not easy. But reconstructing reality never is.
Rebekah Maxwell, producer of the Steve Deace Show, began reporting and producing at WHO Radio in 2007, with on-air work recognized by the official alphabet soup: the AP, IBNA, NBNA, RTDNA, NAB (all the while staying far from the TSA and UFOs). She delights in debating religion, politics, and all other subjects impolite at the dinner table. Her favorite time of year is Caucus season, and she’s an accomplished slam poet, ready to spit the truth…in mad rhymes, if necessary.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.