Why we should welcome unisex restrooms

While the installment of unisex restrooms on Georgia State’s campus is the initiative of Georgia State’s Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity in the interest of transgender and gender non-conforming students, it’s an initiative that we can all stand to benefit from.

The interest in the safety and security of transgender and gender non-conforming students is not to be taken lightly, however.

Several sources shed light on the hostile environment many of these students encounter, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who reported that 44 percent of transgender students have experienced harassment.

So, whatever your personal stance on gender expression, no one should hinder or even question the necessary safety of another person.

However, there are still many students opposing unisex restrooms.

So, how will you benefit from a unisex restroom?

You’ll save time. How often do you find yourself searching for your assigned bathroom in campus buildings? Or, how often do you find yourself waiting in a restroom line that has already managed to spill out into the crowded halls?

As students, we’re well aware of what fleeting time the university has granted us, and with professors counting tardies as absences, the thought of unisex restrooms should be nothing short of soothing.

While we’re making it to class on time, thanks to unisex restrooms, we’ll also be saving money.

Installing unisex restrooms saves facilities and their occupants money. Facilities with unisex restrooms save money on supplies such as soap, toilet paper and appliances such as hand dryers. Companies also save money during expansion endeavors because a unisex restroom means less construction, less maintenance and more space.

With our campus’s current expansion, the installation of gender-friendly restrooms would save a considerable amount of space and, subsequently, a significant amount of money—money that could be better spent elsewhere.

We should also consider student fathers who have limited access to changing stations on campus while every campus female restroom provides one.

Let’s also dispel the looming myth about unisex restrooms: cooties—the elementary school plague that seemed to infest lunch boxes, notebooks and bus seats.

When sharing the news of unisex restrooms with students, I often hear the groans of their sanitation nightmares and the conversation quickly turns into the age-old debate of “Boys vs. Girls: Who keeps their restrooms cleaner?”

To their complaints, I give a deep sigh and bow my head in despair. While the debate makes for fun chat amongst buddies, I’m sure campus janitors would call it a draw.

What many of the students also fail to realize is that they’ve already used unisex restrooms. Where? Have you taken a flight lately? Gone to a carnival? Used a port-a-potty before? Yes, you’ve shared the sacred space of the golden bowl with the opposite sex and you survived.

Keep in mind, these restrooms are said to be single-stalled with locks. They are expected to ensure the privacy and security of the user. You can exhale now.

In issues such as the one being debated here, we ought to clear our minds of our biases and remain objective in our train of thought. We ought to consider the things here that we stand to gain and not just what we feel we stand to lose in the addition of gender neutral restrooms.