Growing Demand for Gender Neutral Public Bathrooms, Dorms, and Forums

Education, Freedom, News

Many organizations are recognizing the LGBT community by providing gender-neutral options and facilities. While a bit of backlash and a few stepping stones are expected, the trend seems to be moving forward swiftly.

Gender-Neutral Public Restrooms

Many transgender individuals experience severe anxiety and sometimes even harassment in bathroom settings, so many public spaces are creating gender-neutral bathroom facilities. Last month a Maine Supreme Judicial court ruled that a transgender female student — diagnosed with gender dysphoria — would be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom of her elementary school. New policies recognizing varied gender identities and equal opportunities in public spaces are becoming a quickly-growing trend.

Gender-Neutral College Dorms

For gender-neutral students, a safe and accepting community such as this is often the reason they attend their chosen school. A total of 150 American higher-education institutions now have policies offering gender-neutral living (also called “flexible housing”) options; 97 of these have “true” gender-neutral offerings, according to the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. True gender-neutrality in these cases means students are not required to live with students of the same legal gender within the dorm community.

Critics of gender-neutral housing argue it could lead to romantic couples living together, creating the potential for messy breakups and other relationship problems.

Gender-Neutrality Options for Online Profiles

Facebook has added new gender identity profile options. Users of the social network may now select a “custom gender” for their profiles. Users can change their gender settings by clicking “About,” then selecting the editing icon in the upper-right hand corner of the “Basic Information” tab. There, users can set their genders to “Custom,” and then make a selection from a list of specific gender options. This can mean that a user’s profile updates will refer to the user by saying things like “Write on Casey’s wall for THEIR birthday” instead of “HER” or “HIS.”

Everyday Transgender Concerns

Transgender individuals face a great deal of social outcast, often being unable to participate in all the activities they would like. According to a report in the Center for Transgender Equality, trans people experience three times as much police violence as non-transgender people. The report also shows that trans people are more likely to be poor and homeless because of their inability to obtain employment and a lack of protection in employment rights. A growing amount of public awareness and understanding of transgendered individuals is likely to lead to an increase in gender-neutral policies.