Wildcats need more inclusion

Rachael Bayuk

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Gender and Sexuality Week is a yearly Chico experience. From education to dancing it’s got it all.

While this is positive, we still need to incorporate more diversity into our campus. Chico State’s Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition (GSEC) does a lot of great work in our community and on campus. Now, it is time for our campus as a whole to do better. In the form of simple everyday human needs. Bathrooms.

California is ranked as the second most state with individuals identifying as transgender. While 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ+. Times are changing and the way we accommodate people ought to change too.

These identities can sometimes cause it to be hard to use a preferred bathroom. In a survey from 2016, 59% of transgender individuals avoid using the bathroom for fear of being harassed. While 32% limit their food and water consumption in order to avoid having to use the restroom.

Yet on campus, out of all our bathrooms, only 25 are gender inclusive or single stall. That means that if you have a class in Butte Hall you have to actually leave the building to find a comfortable bathroom.

This extra time spent missing class can put students behind or dissuade them from using the toilets, which is an essential human need.

Blocking an essential need, even if unintentional, isn’t acceptable. We need more safety measures and building projects that keep our diverse community in mind.

It can be so easy to go through life never thinking of other people. Most Americans enter a restroom thinking only of the relief that is soon to come. Never giving a thought to their safety or comfort. But, there is a whole group of people who may be dissuaded from entering the restroom.

Transgender individuals are put increasingly in harm’s way. The average lifespan of a transgender woman of color is 35. Let that sink in, when a life is just starting, statistically, it could end. This is directly linked to violence against transgender individuals and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

We as Wildcats need to make every day on campus better, easier and safer for everyone. Having to leave the building your class is in just to use a restroom is ridiculous.

While it is apparent money makes the world, and Chico State, go around. People aren’t willing to spend extra cash on something that affects a small section of the population. But, having to do logistics in one’s head about where to use the restroom is wrong. Similarly, there are an approximate 20 million individuals in the United States that experience bathroom anxiety.

Safer, private and inclusive bathrooms aren’t just nice, they are a necessity.

Let’s spend more time thinking about our community as a whole. Chico State prides itself on its diversity. So let’s make sure our campus is more inclusive in the necessary ways not just cosmetically.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @BayukRachael.

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