With liberty and comfort in stalls

Posted: Oct 27, 2004 12:00 AM

Dear Dr. Adams:

You will not believe the "memo" that was taped on my office door at the University of (Deleted).  I am truly disgusted by what goes on at the university level. As a graduate student in education, I am constantly bombarded with Marxism and sexual politics.  Tell me what you think of the following:

 To students, faculty and staff of (deleted):

 On behalf of the GLBTRC (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Trans-gendered Resource Center), Stop Hate on Campus, and the Transgender/Gender queer taskforce we are writing this letter to the people and offices of (deleted) to specifically address the bathrooms that we all share.

 This letter comes from the collective effort of many people in hopes of providing a place that is comfortable and safe for all the GLBT folks but specifically trans and gender variant people to visit and receive services here.

 A very important part of making this a safer space is to do everything we can to make (deleted) a welcoming place for trans and gender variant people.  We know that this is a place that fosters respect, clear communication, and sensitivity to the needs of the variety of people who work here and come here for assistance. 

 We are excited to increase the familiarity and comfort of everyone who works here with the needs and concerns of the trans and gender variant students and staff on this campus.

 A fundamental concern that we want to address is making (deleted) bathroom facilities safe and accessible for transsexual, transgender, and gender variant students, faculty and staff.  As you may know, bathrooms are a very serious issue for transgender, transsexual, and gender variant people.  Most bathrooms, including the ones in (deleted), are ?gendered,? meaning that they are marked with signs designating a room for ?men? and a room for ?women.? For many reasons, this creates serious obstacles to using these facilities for trans and gender variant people.

 It is vitally important to provide a safe place for trans and gender variant people to receive services and resources where they can use the bathroom facilities as easily and safely as all the other people.  Unfortunately, the current gendered bathroom options are not a safe haven, and we would like to work together to remedy this problem.

  It seems only appropriate to us that (deleted) be a leader and model for other parts of this University in learning how to make their facilities safe and accessible for transgender and gender variant people.  Discussions and policy changes regarding gendered bathrooms are going on at numerous non-profits and universities across the US and Canada, and we think now is a great time for (deleted) and people here at (deleted) to engage these difficult but important questions and work to remove obstacles to equal access for everyone.

 Based on the facilities that we have in (deleted), our recommendation and request is that both gendered bathrooms on the second floor of (deleted) be made gender-neutral.  By this we mean that people of all genders be able to use either of the multi-stalled restrooms on the second floor.  The urinals that are currently in one of these bathrooms will be shut down.

 We will implement these changes on November 1, 2004.  Until permanent signs are in place we will be putting laminated signs over the current gendered signing along with a short piece about why we have multi-stalled gendered neutral restrooms.  Only the two bathrooms on the non-housing side on the second floor of (deleted) will be changed.  Currently, all other gendered bathrooms on all floors will remain unchanged.

 We realize that these changes may spark a variety of questions and because of this we have set up an informational meeting on Monday, November 1st at 3pm in the GLBT Resource Center (on the 2nd floor of [deleted]).  This meeting will address basic questions and there will be a space for discussion.

 It is our goal that we can create a policy that allows all of us to access the bathroom facilities here safely and comfortably.  As long as our world is structured by this coercive system, those who traditionally bear the weight of it, women and non-traditionally gendered people, will continue to struggle to re-shape our institutions to improve equal access and equal justice for everyone.

Dear Dan (not real name):

I feel your pain, man. These people are merely pampered perverts who need to put a lid on it, so to speak. But, since they have called for a meeting to help people flush out their differences, maybe you should refrain from using the p-word. Be especially careful in the bathroom. You never know who (or what) might be listening.

I think that you should attend the ?informational meeting? since this has apparently become a serious (even international) issue.  Plus, it would just be so much fun. By the way, I once had to go behind enemy lines, so I think that I have some advice that might be helpful.

The occasion was a protest of the Iraq war, staged here at UNC-Wilmington. I decided to attend the rally dressed as an Iraqi woman (wearing only a burqua and sandals). When they tried to arrest me, I was fully prepared to claim gender identity confusion. When the university police lieutenant saw who I was, he called off my brief detention. Maybe it was because he wanted to avoid bad press. Or maybe it was because of the unwritten rule that cross-dressers can do whatever they want, whenever they want at a public university. By the way, I?m not a cross-dresser anymore, Dan. It was only for a day.

So, I recommend that you go to the ?informational meeting? dressed as a woman. That way, when you enter the GLBT Resource Center, you will have already become a member of a special, protected class. That will enable you to ask all of the tough questions like ?Don?t you people have anything better to do??, ?Do you really think that it is safer to let a grown man use the stall next to a teenage girl??, and ?Are these really the biggest problems you face in your struggle for civil rights??

After you ask these questions, the staff of the GLBT Resource Center will undoubtedly try to kick you out of the meeting. But that?s the beauty of it. As long as you are a man wearing a dress and feeling uncomfortable, you have a right to be in the GLBT Resource Center. That?s why it was built, Dan. It is supposed to be a ?safe zone.? Just remember to claim that whatever they say to you makes you feel uncomfortable.  Since it is their job to make you feel comfortable while you are ?at variance? with your gender, they might even get fired for trying to evict you! You can?t lose, can you?

It may sound like a silly prank, but it isn?t. The members of the so-called Transgender/Gender queer taskforce, like most other gay activists, are simply whining emotional misfits who are trying to terrorize decent society under the guise of ?tolerance? and ?diversity.?

It is time that someone gave them a taste of their own medicine; instead of allowing them to turn our campuses into cesspools of moral contamination.