Vassar–the crazy college!
The latest: A campaign by campus activists to compel every single bathroom on campus designated as "all-gender."
Yes, you read that right. And no, it's not a campaign to have, say, every Vassar building open up a bathroom to campus transgenders and, presumably, anyone else. That's already in the works, a project of Vassar's LGBTQ Center. According to the Center, there are 13 buildings on the campus that lack such facilities, which imposes a burden on the 1.7 (statistically speaking) transgenders in Vassar's student population of close to 2,500.
This campaign, launched by a group called the Vassar Queer Health Initiative, is to get rid of every last men's bathroom, women's bathroom, and even co-ed bathroom (because that implies there are only two genders) on Vassar grounds. Here's the group's proclamation:
The Vassar Queer Health Initiative (VQHI) is calling for all bathrooms on campus to be labeled “all-gender,” with a subtitle stating: “Anyone can use this restroom, regardless of gender identity and/or expression.” VQHI finds this demand to be reasonable in theory and simple in implementation.
VQHI is predicting administrative and alumni pushback on our demand. Cisgender women, often claim uncomfortability in all-gender bathroom situations. And at Vassar, most often these women are faculty, staff, or outside visitors. VQHI attributes cisgender women’s fear of transwomen in bathrooms to transmisogyny and not actual dangers to their safety.
Spokespeople from the Transgender Law Center and the American Civil Liberties union have reported that there is no evidence that transgender women have committed physical violence against cisgender women in single gender public bathrooms (Bianco, 2015). The Williams Institute ran a survey that instead demonstrated the violence that transgender people face while using public restrooms. Conducted in gendered public restrooms in metropolitan Washington D.C., the study examined the experiences of transgender residents in gender separated bathrooms. They found that 59% of the male-to-female participants and 75% of male-to-genderqueer participants were verbally harassed while using a gender dichotomized restroom (Herman, 2013).
There's something hilarious about the idea of transgenders being beaten up in the restrooms at a college whose own students describe as "the land of the politically correct."
There's also the irony of pooh-poohing cisgender women's discomfort with all-gender bathrooms while making much of transgender people's discomfort with single-gender bathrooms.
But the VQUI plans to push ahead no matter who objects:
VQHI is holding the Vassar administration responsible for making the structural changes students need to allow transgender and genderqueer students to prosper. A resolution to make all bathrooms on Vassar College’s campus “all-gender” will be presented to the Vassar Student Association. In the meantime, new all-gender bathroom signs will be hung over old existing signs. This is not vandalization. This is transgender students taking their security and health into their own hands.
Riiight. Although it now appears that the irresistible force of the all-gender bathroom has encountered the immovable object of Fight the Patriarchy:
VQHI would like to complicate our call for all-gender bathrooms. While we wish to erode and subvert the gender binary, we also have to acknowledge the experiences and ontological realities of all those affected by patriarchial violence. So with that said, VQHI will remain persistent with taping over “Men’s” bathroom signs with “All Gender” signs, while leaving some “Women’s” bathroom signs remaining as they are.
It's hard to keep up in the land of the politically correct.