Next fall, gender-neutral bathrooms will finally be available to the campus community. We applaud the efforts of all of the students, administrators and representatives from Facilities Management that have made this happen. Now that we have seen that this kind of progressive change can happen, we hope that the college will continue to move in the right direction and consider offering gender-neutral housing options.
We want to commend the continued involvement of Student Association (SA) representatives in regards to the issue of gender-neutral bathrooms. This project was not a simple thing to accomplish – we have seen several SA Editorial (E-board) members champion this cause over the course of several semesters. We commend them for that. It may not have been easy, but we are glad that they saw this project through.
Now these student representatives have brought forth the idea of implementing gender-neutral housing on campus to administrators. We hope that administrators will seriously consider this idea, as it will make some students on campus feel more comfortable with their living situation during the academic year.
We understand that some within the community may have reservations about this sort of change. The idea of men and women living together seems radical to some. But why should it? And why should we polarize people, asking them to identify with one gender or another when they may not be able to, or even want to in the first place?
The issue of gender is not simple – people may define themselves in more than two ways. There is a fraction of students on this campus who do not identify with a specific gender, and we need to make sure that these students feel comfortable as well.
For nine months of the year, SUNY New Paltz serves as our home away from home. We need to have a certain level of comfort that may not necessarily be like home, but it needs to be sufficient enough. We find it sad and unfair that some of our peers are forced to go into a bathroom that they may not want to use or live in an environment in which they don’t feel like they can truly be themselves.
Having gender-neutral bathrooms would create a safer and more comfortable living environment for different groups of students, something that we feel should be a top priority of college officials.
By incorporating gender-neutral rest rooms on our campus, we are creating a more inclusive community that caters to the diverse needs of our students. Offering gender-neutral housing would only show our stronger commitment to progressive ideals that we show strive for as a campus community.