Guest essay: How safe is the all gender restroom?

Acosta+has+been+a+campus+security+agent+for+the+last+four+years.+

Hadley Steele

Acosta has been a campus security agent for the last four years.

Frank Acosta

The all-gender restroom is an important part of inclusion and safety for the Lincoln community, but when students abuse the restroom they worked so hard to get, the safety of it diminishes. Its purpose is to protect students who don’t feel comfortable in either restroom, and make it a place where they feel safe to take care of necessary activities. There are students who have been harassed or subject to violence due to their identity in traditional bathrooms, so by the all gendered bathrooms introduction, we hoped students would feel safer.

Over time, the bathroom has been used less and less for this purpose. I have witnessed vaping, sexual activity, graffiti, and countless other activities taking place. Therapy sessions between students happen often and sometimes get out of hand with cussing and yelling. These activities make it harder for students to feel completely comfortable.

The biggest concern that I have about the restroom is safety. When all-genders are allowed into one bathroom, it gives more opportunity for sexual activity, violence, and other misconduct to take place. In a room that is so large and so sheltered, it is difficult to fully protect the usage of the bathroom. We conduct random walk throughs to ensure a level of safety, but we can’t be there for everything. 

We as humans are selfish. People here at Lincoln are selfish. They are taking away someone else’s option when they have so few options for themselves already. People who identify as straight and cis-gendered don’t have to worry about their safety in a traditional bathroom, so when they conduct unsafe behaviors, they are taking away a resource from a group that already is underserved. 

I hope that people consider their actions when they go into the bathroom. I hope they use it as intended and make it what it is meant to be; safe and protected. I don’t represent the group I speak about, but I hope that by drawing some attention to the selfishness of unsafe and illegal activities, I can protect them. 

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