Kiara Fox | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rainbow Alliance is proposing the conversion of bathrooms to be gender neutral
UW-Parkside currently has three gender-neutral bathrooms which can be found in The Rita, Wyllie Hall and in the Student Center. It can be a hassle for the students to use the bathrooms because it is neither convenient nor accessible. Conflict regarding this issue has been on the rise due to “significant issues within the trans population at UW-Parkside where many people have had instances where other students are telling them that they are in the wrong bathroom and cannot be there,” according to Elliot Michael, the Vice President of Rainbow Alliance.
Rainbow Alliance is a student-run organization that welcomes all people. According to Krish Colon, president of the organization, says that Rainbow Alliance is “an organization that exists to advocate and support the LGBTQ students on campus and facilitate activities and events for educational and support purposes.”
In the past years, they have hosted many events on campus including a bake sale, a drag show, and a trans day remembrance vigil.
Unlike the family bathrooms that UW-Parkside currently has, the bathrooms that will be converted will have multiple stalls with the intention of reducing wait time. Rainbow Alliance is hoping that the locations would be more convenient for everyone. Ideally, several more bathrooms on campus could be changed as well.
The concept of gender-neutral bathrooms comes with many opinions about privacy and safety. Ahmad Qawi, a student, has mixed opinions about converting more bathrooms to gender-neutral ones. He says, “For transgender [people] or people struggling to come out, I feel that [the bathrooms] would be an open place for these individuals to feel comfortable and normal.” Qawi likes the idea of adding more bathrooms, but he does not think that just anyone should be able to use these bathrooms. He thinks that problems of rape, invasion of privacy and health issues could arise from adding more gender-neutral bathrooms.
Rainbow Alliance has just recently started the process to request these bathrooms. Over the next couple of semesters some big changes could be coming. The process is still in the early stages, and Rainbow Alliance has been drafting letters to send to the Dean of Students that outlines their plans.