Gender Neutral Bathroom Sign
The sign displayed in the photograph is explaining the concept of a gender inclusive bathroom. This means that anyone of any gender is allowed into the bathroom rather than our present societal “norm” of a gender segregated bathroom. It acknowledges that this new concept could “feel different” to many people who are experiencing it for the first time. This sign means that as our society progresses and as American University attempts to create a more inclusive environment, they request that everyone be open to the new changes occurring. The placement of this sign outside of a bathroom, I believe, has more detrimental effects than proactive effects. If all bathrooms were made gender neutral and it was more publically advertised throughout campus it would be more beneficial in communicating the concept of inclusivity. However, posting this sign directly outside of one of the bathrooms that happens to be gender neutral only encourages some to be against the concept and find a different bathroom that doesn’t have a sign posted outside of it rather than view this progression as a positive change. While informing the student body of this newly accepted concept of a gender inclusive bathroom can be seen as necessary in order to ensure no one feels uncomfortable, public advertisement of gender inclusivity should be displayed throughout all aspects of campus not just in the bathrooms. If the concept of gender neutrality was more widely dispersed into all aspects of our American University community, then the bathrooms themselves would not be seen as that outrageous of a concept, but rather just another step towards making our campus more inclusive. Lastly, the final paragraph on the sign offers the option to lock the main door to the restroom if you feel uncomfortable while using it. While offering that as an option is meant to create more comfort, it counteracts the purpose of the entire letter itself. If there is going to be a gender neutral community and gender neutral restrooms on campus, then offering someone the ability to completely lock out others from entering due to fear of being inside with someone of opposite gender defeats the message that is being portrayed. If someone feels rather uncomfortable in the setting that they are in they can use a different bathroom that is not gender inclusive. Offering the ability to completely lock out someone of the same or opposite gender could cause many other detrimental issues later on. I understand the purpose of this letter and fully support the message American University is trying to portray, however, I think singling out bathrooms as an area for gender inclusivity to be integrated rather than involving it in every aspect of our campus creates a higher level of discomfort and contradicts the purpose of what is trying to be accomplished.