I would like RUSU to be campaigning for more gender neutral toilets in every building around campus, to be used by people of any gender, for the help of those who may be transgender or gender-questioning.</p>
Many social scientists consider gender to be on a spectrum, with some people identifying as a mixture of both, or neither. But the bathroom remains binary. It forces people into categories. Gender segregated restrooms in the United States and Europe only originated late in Victorian times as men thought that, as they were entering public spaces more often, women's modesty and safety were considered at risk. Alongside segregation of race, class and religion, gendered divisions of people occurred everywhere from train coaches to library rooms, yet it is only bathrooms which still maintain a binary split of genders.</p>
With gender neutral bathrooms, we would be saying that we accept and don't want to discourage differing gender expressions. If a man wants to wear make-up or feminine clothing then he shouldn't be discouraged by the fear of a "locker-room" environment in the men's toilets. If a woman wants to appear more masculine then she shouldn't be discouraged by fear of the environment inside a women's toilets either.</p>
By creating more gender-neutral, or uni-sex, toilets, we will have more safe places for anyone to use irrelevant of their gender identity. This is not to do away with single-gendered toilets altogether, I appreciate that many may fear their loss, but instead this will provide a place where, without need for fear and anxiety, anyone can relieve themselves. Which in turn will be a relief for many.</p>
Going to the toilet as a transgender person can bring large amounts of anxiety and stress to a situation that the large majority of people don't think twice about. For many transgender people in public, they often have to chose between feeling massively out of place, possibly face verbal or physical abuse, or being shouted at and humiliated as you're made to get out. It is a scary situation. Myself and others have planned our days around when we know same bathroom space can be found, in the hope of avoiding panic, shouting or scaring someone unexpectedly.</p>
In the US, a survey of transgender people "found that 70 percent of survey respondents report experiencing verbal harassment, assault, and being denied access to public restrooms." It also found that "54 percent of all respondents reported having some sort of physical problem from trying to avoid using public restrooms, such as dehydration, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections". Clearly the implementation of gender-neutral toilets would do a lot to relieve transgender and gender-questioning people.