There are now genderless bathrooms installed in 10 of The University of Technology’s city campus buildings. It’s a pretty progressive feat for us conservative simpletons living Downunder so we can go ahead and give the Sydney uni an encouraging pat on the back for breaking the mould. They’re the first university in Australia to introduce them so we’re stoked for them. But please, let’s not get too carried away in praising them more than they really deserve.
— Laura Mazzitelli (@lmmazzitelli) February 7, 2019
People are hailing the new genderless additions a ‘big win’ and a ‘big step’ which in a some ways, they are. They’re also a big fat sign that Sydney is really freakin’ far behind the times. LGBTQI individuals represent a growing portion of our total population and we’re only just introducing genderless bathrooms?
Looking at our mates across the big ol’ Pacific it’s pretty obvious where we stand. The LGBTQI party in California started years ago and so too did their strategies to accommodate for them. Their gung-ho approach to creating trans-inclusive communities shits on Sydney’s. So why are we so far behind? These genderless bathrooms got me really thinking, if we’re going to change our attitudes toward LGBTQI individuals, it’s gonna take more than a genderless bathroom.
Their interests extend far beyond the walls of a bathroom cubicle, don’t they?
After taking a quick squiz at what’s going on across the Pacific, we were pretty damn surprised. UTS may be leading the way on the home front but compared to awareness for non-binary or genderqueers on the world stage, we’re being left for dead.
Whilst we’re celebrating genderless bathrooms, this is what’s happening across the ditch.
California passed a Bill back in 2017 that would recognise the legal obligation individuals have to use another person’s preferred pronouns during direct conversation and when making reference. Basically if someone identifies as non-binary they may opt to identify with pronouns such as ‘they’, ‘their’ and ‘them’ rather than gender-exclusive pronouns. ‘Zie’ and ‘co’ are also regularly used.
Universal Locker Rooms
UC Berkeley installed gender neutral lockers rooms last year which aren’t just your ordinary single occupancy locker rooms. It was a $2.7 million student-funded initiative which have cemented their lead in gender inclusivity.
Rock up and do ya thing. Intramural sport competitions are becoming pretty standard across most US university campuses. Students can show up to play for men’s, women’s or co-ed teams without any questions asked.
Trans friendly student housing at The University of Southern California ensures individuals can live with roommates regardless of their gender identity. This type of rooming started to emerge after individuals began speaking out against traditional housing options that automatically paired same-sex roommates, based on their sex assigned at birth.
Name & Gender Changes
Services for individuals to change their name on all university related documentation, such as student and Internet IDs, is added to the long list of trans-friendly services offered to US college students. There are also pathways for individuals to avoid working directly with campus registrar offices which helps the process remain confidential.
Trans Health Care & Health Insurance
The LGBT Resource Centre at The University of Southern California offers students the ability to take out health insurance plans that are suited toward transgender medical needs. This includes things like medication, surgeries and diagnostic testing for pre-ops that regular plans don’t cover.
So really, the bathrooms are a ‘win’. But with all these things pretty standard across the West Coast, it’s certainly not a ‘big win’.
For more information or helpful tips for fitting into diverse communities as an LGBTQI, head on over to headspace and take a look at their article on how to cope with being queer in diverse communities.
Image Source: Unsplash, Giphy, UC Berkely Youtube, @lmmazzitelli Twitter