A small stall for man (and woman), a giant leap for mankind

Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

It’s been a long time coming, but College of DuPage finally got it right: gender-neutral bathrooms are making their way onto campus.

For a large majority of students and staff, the addition of two single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms in the Health and Science Center are nothing to bat an eye at. Many of us have never faced an issue using any of the other public restrooms on campus, and therefore have no reason to celebrate this new addition. In fact, some may find it a bit strange. However, for those who don’t identify with their assigned gender or identify as transgender, these restrooms symbolize much more than a place to go to the bathroom; they’re proof that COD actually cares about the comfort and safety of its students.

Although the new restrooms were only recently approved, the concept of adding gender-neutral bathrooms on campus has been heavily debated by the administration for a while now. There have been plans in the past to add gender-neutral bathrooms, but unfortunately they fell through. Finally, the idea has become a reality and stands as a mark of how far we’ve come in the fight for human rights.

As time progresses, more and more people are becoming open-minded in their viewpoints when it comes to LGBTQ rights and acceptance. However, there are still those that oppose this community. As a result, it’s not uncommon for transgender people to feel uncomfortable and even be verbally or physically abused in public restrooms at any institution. They may live in fear of judgment or be unfairly ridiculed while doing the most basic of tasks: going to the bathroom.

Most people don’t have to live with constant anxiety of doing everyday activities, which is why some wouldn’t understand the need for gender-neutral bathrooms. It’s often difficult to see and comprehend the needs of others, especially with issues that will never affect us. For some people, gender-neutral bathrooms are redundant when added with existing gender-specific bathrooms. But for others, they are a place of safety, away from the fears they face in other public restrooms. That’s why COD made the right decision in adding them to our campus. It isn’t about making a political or social statement; it’s about making our campus an accepting and tolerant place for all students, regardless of their gender identity.

With time, one can only hope that society as a whole will become more open and accepting of all people, not just those that fit the conventional standard of gender norms. When that time comes, issues such as this won’t be a problem. Until that day comes, we need to remember that whether we identify with our assigned gender or not, we are all simply people. COD is a place for us to get an education, and students shouldn’t have to worry about being discriminated against for something as insignificant as using a bathroom. At the end of the day, everyone has a right to pee in peace.