Although using a public bathroom is an uneventful experience for many people – particularly heterosexual and cisgender people – for many LGBTQ+ folks, using public bathrooms continue to be physically and psychological unsafe due to their disproportionate risk of experiencing overt violence (i.e., physical, sexual, and verbal assault), as well as subtle forms of gender policing (i.e., prolonged stares, double-takes, audible gasps, being asked to leave, etc.). All-gender restrooms provide safe(r) access to bathroom facilities for LGBTQ+ students and environmentally signal that they belong and are valued. All-gender bathrooms benefit all people, including transgender and gender diverse individuals, people who require the assistance of a caregiver of a different gender, and parents with children of different genders.
The short answer: no, cis women are not at risk of experience more violence in all-gender bathrooms. Although opponents of bathroom nondiscrimination laws (i.e., laws that allow trans people to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity) argue that all-gender bathrooms increase rates of sexual assault and voyeurism, many studies have found these concerns unwarranted. In a recent study, for example, relative to public localities that made no changes to their bathrooms, localities that created gender-inclusive public bathrooms did not see an increase in the frequency of assault, sex crimes or voyeurism. Simply stated, public fears about safety and privacy violations are empirically unfounded.
It is important to note that a sign that says “women,” does not prevent people who want to harm cis women from entering. Someone who is intent on causing harm will do so regardless of the sign outside.
Contrary to public discourse, trans people – particularly trans women of color – are most at risk for experiencing physical and sexual harassment in public bathrooms. Importantly, these crimes are disproportionately perpetrated by cis men – not trans people.
Yes! If all proposed changes identified on the Pride Center’s proposal are implemented, 39 gender-segregated bathrooms will remain for public use on SMC’s main campus.
No problem. Simply follow the directions to the closest Men’s and Women’s restrooms.
Yes! The following groups, committees, programs, and faculty have endorsed creating more all-gender restrooms at SMC:
- Associated Students
- Academic Senate
- Safe Zone Initiative
- Gender Sexuality Alliance
- Student Equity Center
- Equity & Diversity Academic Senate Committee
- Office of Equity, Pathways & Inclusion
- Racial Justice Center
- Dream Resource Center
- Gender Equity Center
- Black Collegians
- Latino Center/Adelante Program
- Latinx Collective
- Men of Color Action Network
- Guardian Scholars
- Public Policy Initiative
- Chairs/Academic Affairs Data Coaching Group
- DPAC Facilities
Yes! Stay tuned for upcoming events and programs.