UB should stand in solidarity with LGBTQ rights and against NC’s House Bill 2

The university should start a discussion on the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms

Earlier this March, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed the bipartisan House Bill 2, otherwise known as the transgender bathroom law. This bill ultimately limits which bathrooms transgendered individuals can legally use.

There is a history of separating the two sexes going back hundreds of years. In today’s world there should be less of a dividing line between the sexes, especially with the overarching changes in perception toward transgender individuals.

In solidarity with the people across the country rising in protest against the bill, not to mention Buffalo’s own LGBTQ community, UB should make an attempt to reach out to its students and determine whether the consensus on our undeniably liberal campus is to install full-scale gender-neutral bathrooms for its transgendered student body. With the university’s focus on UB 2020, we don’t expect changes to be made immediately, but UB should start thinking about preliminary stages.

The university should feel a responsibility to protect all of its students and make it clear that UB supports LGBTQ rights through gender-neutral bathrooms by starting a discussion. There are UB students who have not yet had, nor do they want, a surgical transition. But regardless of whether or not their genitalia matches the label on the bathroom door, students should feel comfortable walking into any stall on campus.

If UB were to move forward with the discussion, they would not be the first school to do so.

Last week in the Los Angeles Unified school district, a fight erupted between students using a new unisex bathroom and Westboro Baptist Church members. UB should also be prepared for potential backlash, but shouldn’t let it interfere with the comfort of their students.

Kaeley Triller, a rape survivor who recently wrote an article for The Federalist titled “A Rape Survivor Speaks Out About Transgender Bathrooms,” addresses the implementation of progressive bathroom and locker room policies.

Triller speaks on the extremely delicate situation of bathroom changes, in light of her own trauma and says a gender-neutral bathroom can create an easier space for the potential vetting of victims. There is no doubt upon reading her words that gender-neutral bathrooms can allow for predators to gain easier access to a victim.

This is why we suggest that if the school were to lay out plans for new gender-neutral bathrooms, it would be vital to gauge campus feelings on the subject. Switching to gender-neutral bathrooms would take time to plan, considering which bathrooms would be changed and how much it would cost to add urinals in current female bathrooms.

But UB should start the discussion to show they support their transgendered students and are willing to listen to different sides of the argument. These difficult conversations that make people uncomfortable are the topics that need to be discussed for the welfare of the student body. Not everyone will be on board with a new policy, but UB should not be opposed to the possible change.

Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam cancelling shows in North Carolina as a protest against the bill shows that UB should take some stance, even if it is posing of the question of whether or not students are for gender-neutral bathrooms.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com