There are “not enough” gender neutral washrooms on campus, according to Outreach Services manager at Durham College, Shafiqullah Aziz. He says all gender washrooms are important in the transgender community.
Durham College has 10 gender neutral washrooms. Eight at the Oshawa campus, two in the Gordon Willey building, two in the Student Service building, one in the South Village residence, and three in the Simcoe Village residence. The two at the Whitby campus are both at the Centre for Food.
“We need to establish gender neutral washrooms. They need to be accessible, and they need to be in a central location,” said Aziz, adding that most gender neutral washrooms aren’t easy to locate.
He said the student association is working on getting more gender neutral washrooms on campus.
“Currently we’re going to start advocating for gender neutral washrooms in the Student Centre, because that’s the Student Association,” he says “that’s something that the executives are in agreement with.”
Aziz says the transgender community is not getting enough attention and they often face discrimination. He says here should be more transgender washrooms in public places, for instance, in places like a mall. Thousands of people visit malls every day and some of those people are bound to be transgender. In malls, there are not enough awareness for the transgender community he said. In fact, some malls don’t even have gender neutral washrooms. Both Pickering Town Centre, and Oshawa Centre do not have a single gender neutral washroom.
“There needs be advocacy to address the issue of trans discrimination on our campus and the general public as well” He adds.
Students around campus have mixed opinions about gender neutral washrooms.
“I definitely think they are important for transgender people, you never know who is a transgender and you never know who is among you.” said Darnell Bailey, a Mechanical Engineering Student.
Summer Walker, a Police Foundations student says gender neutral washrooms should be easier to find. “They are pretty hidden in the school” she says.
While Osama Akbar, an Information Technology student at UOIT taken a different approach. He doesn’t see the big issue in the lack of gender neutral washrooms. “It’s just a washroom. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” he said.
Aziz says the transgender community is not getting enough attention and they often face discrimination on and off campus. There should be more transgender washrooms in public places, for instance, in places like a mall. Thousands of people visit malls every day, some of those people are bound to be transgender. In malls, there is not enough awareness for the transgender community, in fact, some malls don’t even have gender neutral washrooms.
Aziz said it’s important to consider the comfort of transgender people.
“I think, just like we have to recognize the fact that trans people identify, with whatever gender, that’s a right for them to identify however they choose to do so as a particular gender or not with a gender at all,” said Aziz. He adds “We also have to think about what that means in terms of their right to use a washroom.”