"So many people I know, including many women who are not trans-identified but whose gender presentation to some degree transgresses the gender norms of their context, have had the experience of being asked if they are in the ‘right bathroom’ or told they are in the ‘wrong’ one..."The current solution is single stalled bathrooms with no gender designation. There are 73 on the Harvard Campus, but there are complaints that it's not enough.
“So many people take it for granted that they can use a public bathroom,” [says Trans Task Force student leader Jia Hui Lee ’12.] “For those who are trans and gender non-conforming, it’s much more difficult to use a bathroom in public.”In the early 90s, I visited Harvard Law School and met some women who were extremely concerned about men getting into the women's bathroom. You needed a code to get through the lock on the door. Interesting how these issues cycle around over the years! Thoughts of the likelihood of sexual assaults in such spaces stirred up notes of anger. But now, it seems that what the good people are supposed to believe is that only retrograde women are worried about sharing the bathroom with men.
Critics of expanding access to gender neutral bathrooms say that they increase the likelihood of sexual assaults in such spaces, but the concept of individuals of different sexes sharing the same restroom is not all that radical, according to Marco Chan ’11, Queer Students and Allies Co-Chair.
“Everyone lives their gender in different ways, so this is everyone’s business,” he says with an uncharacteristic note of anger. Chan is arguably the most prominent face of the gay rights movement on campus, and this media-savvy spokesperson rarely gets angry in interviews. This is an issue, however, of paramount importance to his organization. “We all know people who bring their small children of a different sex into the bathroom, people who have caretakers of a different sex assist them in the bathroom. Gender neutral bathrooms will simplify the way we all live our lives. This is not just transgender or queer people’s business.”