By Lindsey Pytrykow
Gender-neutral bathrooms have been a national and local discussion for years.
While this concept is controversial to a number of people, NDMU has instituted numerous gender-inclusive restrooms.
WMAR, Baltimore News, reported that in 2014, Maryland passed an act to prevent discrimination against someone due to gender identity.
This act, known as Fairness for All Marylanders Act, “prohibits gender-based discrimination state-wide.”
Jamie Alexander, the Community Director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, explains the importance of these bathrooms.
Alexander states that all-gender bathrooms provide a safe place for transgender and non-binary individuals, as well as privacy for people with disabilities and nursing mothers.
In addition to state laws, a report from the Baltimore City Council states that on June 15, 2019, the mayor of Baltimore city signed an ordinance that required all single-stall bathrooms to be made gender-neutral.
“NDMU’s facilities team moved quickly to identify all of the University’s single-occupancy restrooms, as well as review and install new inclusive signage for the fall semester,” Gregory P. FitzGerald, the Chief of Staff & Associate Vice President for Planning and External Affairs on campus said.
Although the city enforced this rule, the staff at this school made the changes necessary.
“I feel great about them – I’m all about inclusivity. I am comfortable using them,” Dr. Jennifer Erdman, Associate Dean SASB said.
Alycia Hancock, a first-year student, concurred with Erdman and says that she is glad that these restrooms exist.
Hancock expressed that she believes these bathrooms provide a safe place for those that do not conform to binary constructs.
She also shared that she hopes that other issues of inclusivity and accessibility will be addressed.
While some students supported the insertation of gender neutral bathrooms, some students were hesitant about the new facilities. “I don’t have anything against the bathrooms, I’m just worried that another incident like the intruder who snuck in the restrooms before could repeat itself,” an anonymous student said.
To learn more about these restrooms, watch a TED talk by Ivan Coyote called “Why We Need Gender-Neutral Bathrooms.”
Photo By Taylor Bynion