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Perspective: A personal question


So, I gotta ask you all a personal question. How many of you struggle to find a public restroom? What if you couldn’t? Not that you couldn’t find one physically, but that you were barred from using it?


Most of us probably never really think about using the restroom. After all, going to the restroom is something we tend to take for granted, a bodily function we all do throughout the day, and we know where to go when we need to. But the reality is there are many of us who cannot find a place to go pee or poo with safety, dignity, and, well, humanity. 

We tend to live in a world of supposed-tos. When it comes to clearing your system, it is supposed to be gender specific. But there are fellow community members who do not so easily fit within those imposed, rigid categories, and not by choice but by their identity. Plus, they have to navigate other challenges like gender affirming health care, job security, and physical safety. 

We must stop living in a world of “supposed to” and think of how the world is and act accordingly. Ensuring gender-neutral facilities in our schools and businesses is the least we can do to help all members of our community feel a modicum of respect and humanity. So, to re-ask the question slightly differently, how many of you struggle to find a gender-neutral place to go? What if you couldn’t? Would you care… about those that need one?

My name is Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.