New all-gender bathrooms bring inclusion to campus

Taisha White

Georgia Southern University’s Housing Department recently announced the addition of three all gender bathrooms located in various locations on campus, in the efforts to become a more inclusive community.

The bathrooms are primarily located in on campus housing. University Villas’ bathroom is in the 2nd floor clubhouse. The Freedom’s Landing bathroom in the Clubhouse Gym and computer lab while the Centennial Place bathroom will be located in the CP Resident Director Suite Room 2122.

Clemente Espinoza, junior mechanical engineering major, believes that the new bathrooms can work if respect is placed first.

“I believe that as long as everyone can be respectful of it, then it can work out in the long run,” Espinoza said.

Although the new addition of bathrooms came as a surprise to many, the talk of adding them has been a topic of discussion for a while.

“I know that higher ups were talking about it for sometime,” Nicole Peavy, vice president of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), said. “But we have been talking about it privately for a little while now.”

This is not the first all gender bathroom that has been added to campus. Other locations include the Library, the Carroll Building and the Russell Union.

The bathrooms’ objective is to create a more inclusive type of campus, straying away from any discriminatory issues regarding genders.

Bathroom battle

The new bathrooms have the potential to stir up some controversy steaming from the North Carolina bathroom bill, House Bill 2, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which was signed back in March 2016 by former governor Pat McCrory.

The bill blocks cities from allowing those who identity as transgender to use the public bathroom for the gender in which they identify as and are instead only allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.

The bill has caused controversy around the state, causing major networks and corporations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), PayPal and Lionsgate to leave and refuse to do any type of business with the state. As of September 2016, the state has lost over $400 million in revenue, according to Business Insider.

Ezequiel Bautista, junior engineering major, understands that the controversial bathroom law might cause issues for some, but believes that it will give others the ability to understand each other.

“We all have different views. I, personally do not have a problem with it, but I know that the topic itself is controversial,” Bautista said. “Overall, it will help us accept the fact that we are all different. So I think that it will be a good thing for all of us in the long run.”

Ethan Winters, president of the Gay-Straight Alliance knows that some people will have an issue regarding the bathrooms, but wants those to understand that it will not hurt them.

“If you don’t like it, don’t use it,” Winters said. “It is just a bathroom. If anything it adds to the culture of Georgia Southern.”