College decides that the way to make students feel safer is to let men into the ladies’ room
From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:
Cooper Union restrooms: You don’t have to identify as a woman to use “Stalls Only”
That seems to be the logic behind an e-mail directive from Bill Mea, acting president of The Cooper Union, decreeing that henceforth there shall be no “gender classifications” for restrooms on the campus of the New York City arts-and-architecture college. Mea wrote:
“Going forward, we will identify the restrooms in the Foundation Building and 41 Cooper Square and the common-area restrooms in the Residence Hall as follows:
- Restroom with Urinals and Stalls
- Restroom with Only Stalls
- Restroom Single Occupancy
“We are creatures of habit and most of us will continue using those restrooms that we normally have used, but they will no longer be owned by a specific gender.
According to Mea, “gendered spaces”–that is, public bathrooms whose doors say “Men” and “Women”–make the budding artists and architects who attend Cooper Union feel threatened, indeed so threatened that their health suffers and they can’t study:
“I thank our students who raised the issue of gendered spaces and how they create health concerns and make some of us feel unsafe in an environment where health and safety are the top priorities in a student’s ability to learn.”
The idea behind Mea’s ukase seems to be that transgender people ought to be able to use the bathrooms that correspond to the gender with which they identify. But New York City already has a law forbidding discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression,” and regulations implementing that lawalready require restrooms to post signs indicating that they are open to whatever gender identities their users have chosen.
Posted by Charlotte Allen