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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

USG Passes Resolution to Include Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in New Buildings

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The new resolution would require at least one gender-neutral bathroom in each new building.

 

 

In a unanimous vote, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) supported a resolution to include at least one gender-neutral bathroom in every new campus building. The resolution reaffirms that the university “permits individuals to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity.”

Stephanie Bonvissuto, coordinator of the Queer Student Center, brought the motion in front of the student senate, where it met with no resistance, on April 24.

“This resolution is not just about consciousness, but about acceptance, sensitivity, and inclusion,” said Senate Speaker Joey Nguyen.

Bonvissuto said she doesn’t think that the USG resolution will have a significant effect on the general campus population.

“I don’t expect to see anything more dramatic than a simple increase in traffic in the restrooms,” she said.

“This may not mean much for the majority of students who can access public facilities here without fear of challenge, but we have heard from students who have encountered micro-aggressive hostilities in the bathrooms and wanted to work with the university to make sure these spaces were safe for all.”

The Massachusetts Transgender Equality Bill, which was passed in 2011, protects transgender residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and education. A provision regarding access to public accommodations was scrapped in the final version of the bill, but Boston’s Ordinance Regarding Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression, passed in 2002, bans refusal of service based on gender identity.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently issued a directive titled “Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools in Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity.” Similarly to the act passed by the USG, the document asserts that students “may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.”

Starting in 2001, a group called The Restroom Revolution has been campaigning to increase the number of gender-neutral bathrooms at the flagship UMass campus in Amherst. According to the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst, the university has at least one such bathroom in each residence hall.