Photo by: Michelle Kallon
Editor’s note: Throughout this story, multiple sources requested to be identified by gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them.
During a roundtable interview with the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) members and Faculty, Noah Diaz, (They/Them) a student at Cypress College and member of the QSA, said something that stuck out, about the lack of easily accessible all-gendered restrooms on campus.
“I don’t even bother trying to go to the bathroom on campus anymore,” they said. Diaz’s frustration led the QSA to write a letter along with other students to the academic senate seeking changes to the lack of easily accessible gender neutral bathrooms on campus.
“The thing about bathrooms is that nobody stops to think about them until they’re not accessible, and that’s how it should be. The problem here is that I do have to think about it and so do other trans and non-binary people,” said Diaz, in a letter, titled “A plea to the Academic Senate” written by Members of the QSA.
Cypress College does not have all gender restrooms across campus that are easily accessible to our non-binary and transgendered students.
According to Assembly Bill 1732 the State of California requires all single-occupancy public bathrooms to be gender neutral. Unfortunately for Diaz and other non binary and transgender students other then the Technical Education III building, there are not any other single-occupancy bathrooms on campus.
“We have gender neutral restrooms on campus by accident in the Tech Ed building because the previous restrooms were not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant…” said Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) Faculty Advisor, Janelle Herman (she/her).
Randy Rodriguez, (He/Him) The President of QSA, said a lot of individuals who are facing these issues attended a transgender and non gender conforming forum. He said there is uncomfortability of having to do something so trivial as having to use the restroom.
Marc Posner, the director of campus communications at Cypress College, said that while “progress was being made, it’s not as quickly as we would like. But that’s the nature of being in a bureaucracy. Things move more slowly.”
At the Technical Education III building, located next to the gymnasium, there are unisex restrooms located on the 1st floor, but the restrooms require a key. The second and third floor restrooms are open and available to all students.
“The ones that are easily accessible are across campus on the outside of the Tech Ed building in a creepy, shady walkway and locked,” Herman said.
Trans and non binary students are seeking easier access to all gender restrooms as well as more of the facilities.
“All of my classes are in the humanities building. I hardly have time to rush over to the Tech Ed just to use the restroom,” said Dean Krause (he/him), a Cypress College student and member of QSA.
For people menstruating they will need products and bins which are normally only found in the female restroom. “The need for feminine hygiene products in all restrooms, is a big one,” Herman said.
Jared Del-Rosaria, (He/Him) a Cypress College student and member of QSA said, “The baby steps to help the tolerance of gender neutral restrooms is to have a section in the student orientation, that’s the best way… example don’t be surprised if you find feminine hygiene products in the men’s restroom…”
Signage was brought up at the round interview with the QSA members “to help students old and new know where the closest All-Gender restrooms are located on campus or at least have one restroom on campus to be Gender neutral” Herman said.
Herman, Krause, Diaz and other members of QSA are working to make at least one restroom an All-Gender restroom in every building on campus.
“The administration is working to make it better, and expand the availability of more restrooms.” said Marc Posner.