Eliminating Sexual Diversity

Two weeks ago, I submitted an article to The New Hampshire, UNH’s only student newspaper with a significant reader base, about the school’s recent creation of “gender neutral” bathrooms. Or are they “transgender” bathrooms? The liberals can’t seem to make up their minds (as you can tell from a careful reading of the above source). The newspaper has thus far declined to publish my article, although it has since published several articles supporting the new bathrooms and attacking the sole columnist who spoke out against them.

UNH is supposedly only the second university in the U.S. to create transgender bathrooms, but the trend of eliminating sexual diversity on college campuses is hardly new. In Dartmouth, where one of my younger brothers goes to school, intersex dorms are the new thing - students can sign up for a roommate of unspecified gender, and they will be randomly paired with others who have the same request.

But anyway, here's my article, which will probably never be published by TNH. For the sake of length, I excluded several rebuttals that were featured in my article, but you can see them on my personal website.

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AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: RULE OF THE MINORITY?

In the 1960s, the battle against Civil Rights legislation prompted the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history, as the Dixiecrats – a minority – tried to halt racial equality from permeating the American legal system. The death of racist laws was inevitable, but the reign of a few, exploiting a clause in Senate rules, managed to hold back the tide of democracy for a short time.

I am a racial minority at UNH, and I also happen to be brown. The UNH Student Senate’s establishing of “transgender-friendly” bathrooms is analogous to UNH deciding to add signs above all the lecture halls in Hindi because I am half-Indian. Never mind that I don't actually read, write, or speak Hindi or any other Indian languages – they simply assume that I do because I’m brown. The mostly-white Senate assumes that it was representing my opinions, even though I choose not to attend UNH's diversity meetings. So they go ahead and spend my tuition dollars to put up the new signs. If you agree with me that such a proposition would be ridiculous, keep reading.

According to the articles I have read in the TNH, the primary reasoning behind creating transgender bathrooms at UNH was to make people feel more comfortable. I believe UNH has failed in this regard. Firstly, I suggest that most students are actually NOT more comfortable going into the new bathrooms. In TNH's online poll, 87% of students agree with Paine that “transgender bathrooms are stupid”. Perhaps this is because the signs on the door are on a circle and triangle backdrop, both symbols of the political far left’s ideals of diversity. Or maybe it's because the signs say “Accessible bathrooms located on the east side of the building”. So these are non-accessible public bathrooms?

Now that we have two bathrooms at UNH that are “transgender-friendly”, anyone who sees someone walking into one of the bathrooms will wonder if they are transgender. And anyone who enters will wonder if the people outside are thinking he/she is transgender. It could even degenerate into a kind of peep show (except that you can lock the door to this “public bathroom” if you like). Beforehand, someone transgender could go into any bathroom they chose without worrying about speculation. I think you’ll agree with me that most people prefer inconvenience to embarrassment. Are non-activist transgender people any different?

Secondly, and more importantly, the bathrooms are symbolic without actually being more functional. Despite feeling uncomfortable walking into the bathrooms with other people in the hallway, I visited both bathrooms to see if UNH had made good on making its students feel more comfortable. All that had changed were the signs on the (formerly) male and female bathrooms. The former still has urinals; the latter does not, and has a tampon dispenser instead. If you prefer to urinate standing up, only one of the transgender bathrooms is actually useful to you. And if you run out of tampons, forget about utilizing the bathroom closer to the stairs. Now UNH wants to expand its bathroom experiment to every building on campus. (As an aside, I’ve recently heard that UNH decided to fix bathrooms in the dorms by adding urinals to the women’s bathrooms, but then scrapped the idea and is getting rid of the urinals in all the men’s bathrooms instead. Does that increase diversity?)

As Paine stated in his TNH Op-Ed, transgender folks make up a very small minority at UNH. I’m willing to bet the number is under ten, but if anyone can offer statistics showing otherwise, drop me an email at tnheditorials@djnoronha.com. I will check your source and post it on my website for everyone to see. Having gotten that out of the way, let me suggest the real reason that UNH let the Student Senate get away with spending our tuition and tax money on politicizing our bathrooms.

This April, there will be a big conference for poly-sexual people to espouse their political agendas here on our campus (read the last three paragraphs in the above link). UNH is bowing to pressure from this group to remodel our bathrooms for their conference. Do you want your student activity fee to help pay for this conference? I haven’t immersed myself very much in student politics at UNH. But now that the Senate that claims to represent me is supporting this agenda (as well as 300% increases in parking tickets!) I plan to start putting pressure on my senators. I suggest for my fellow UNH students to do the same.

The reasoning behind transgender bathrooms is flawed not only because it is the rule of the minority, but because those pushing the agenda are not transgender. They are claiming to champion transgender people, just as they claim to share minority status with brown people like me. I don’t feel accurately represented by minority rights groups. I wonder how many transgender people feel they are accurately represented by GLBT. Note that the group’s name has expanded to GLBTQQIAF; one of the Qs actually stands for “questioning”. Why are transgender people being singled out as pawns of their group? According to the TNH poll, 87% of UNH students agree that this is, to put it simply, stupid.

I’m asking for bathroom signs in Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, and Punjabi for all the Indians at UNH. And there’s one other thing I want. Indians don’t use toilet paper. They use a hose.

For more commentary, pictures of the bathrooms, and your chance to disagree with me, please visit my personal website at www.djnoronha.com. All genders, ethnicities, and species (including those who are GLBTQQIAFUULBTOBP – that includes Undecided, Unwanted, Lonely, Bored, and Tired Of Being Pets) are welcome.

Posted by Gandhi at March 11, 2005 11:35 AM