Gender neutral bathrooms in discussion for campus

Briana Hicks

With the world constantly evolving California State Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law mandating that every business with a single stall restroom must now hang signs explicitly stating the restroom is gender neutral.

Undecided major Jessica Summers has been advocating for gender neutral bathrooms to be included on the campus.

Summers explained that the gender neutral bathrooms are similar to the regular ones except there’s more privacy.

“I actually ended up going to a Tea Girl Tuesday night at Hamburger Marys and that was my first experience with [a] gender neutral bathroom. It was very open, but at the same time it was very closed […] there’s no way for someone to feel uncomfortable.”

She expressed after her first experience using the neutral bathroom, she met with the Title IX Coordinator Dr. Raphael Valyncia to discuss a plan to include the bathrooms on campus.

“Joseph Fierro and Victor Villalobos, two senators currently in seat, approached me and they had no knowledge of any of [the issues regarding transgender students using gender separated bathrooms] so I had to explain it to them,” she expressed.

Fierro, who is currently working with Summers to help bring gender neutral bathrooms to the school, said “So the idea was first brought up by Summers. Our role is to help her in any way we can.”

Summers, on the other hand, has admitted that she feels like Fierro and Villalobos tried to take credit for her work.

“It had [come] to my attention that the week before homecoming apparently [Villalobos] decided to approach the idea as something that he had come up with [and] I don’t think Dr. Valyncia realizes that people are trying to take credit for the sake of credit.

“Not accomplishing something for the sake of good and quite frankly at the same time, somebody trying to do this outside of the [LGBTQI] community it’s not going to hold the same value as having somebody of [the LGBTQI] community trying to accomplish this. That’s what frustrated me […] I don’t want somebody going out there trying to do what I’m doing when they’re not [going to] have the values that I have coming into this, the understanding of what it actually means,” she said.

Summers continued, “It isn’t until you’re put into that [unsafe] position that you actually know what something like this means.”

Fierro admitted that the project was Summers idea.

Concerning Summers’ comment Villalobos stated that the issue was never communicated to him, but from her statement within senate, he assumed it was meant for him and Fierro.

“We haven’t spoken with [Summers] since we first spoke about the gender neutral restroom. In ASCC, how I’ve been trained, is when you speak about someone you speak about them not on a personal [level] but on their title. So for me it was etiquette within student government to not use her name and just say student.

“But after she voiced her concern, […] our wording was misconstrued. Now we [realize we can] say her name, it’s okay to give her credit. I’m not trying to steal credit from anyone, I’m just trying to be a guide or support […] and help her,” he said.

Business major Stephon Smalls said that gender neutral bathrooms are a tough situation but, he feels it’s important because a student who is transgender may not feel comfortable going into separated men and women restrooms.

Undecided major Alysha Godoy expressed that she’s okay with the campus having gender neutral bathrooms on campus only if it will help students who are transitioning feel comfortable.

Liberal Studies Sara Godbee agreed with Godoy and said she wouldn’t mind if the school had gender neutral bathrooms, but she sees it possibly being a problem for some students on campus.

“There are people that won’t see that [transgender people] identify as something else, as something that they feel. I already know if this is going to be a real thing there’s going to be protest probably.”

Summers has expressed that she is still working with Dr. Valyncia and does not have a set date for when the restrooms will be available.