Gender protest misses the mark

by Tabi Hoshmand, Staff Columnist

If you were in front of Hepner Hall last Tuesday, then you likely noticed something odd. Students nonchalantly read newspapers while sitting on a row of toilets in the center of campus. This unusual scene was appropriately titled the “S–t in.” San Diego State’s Trans Action and Advocacy Student Coalition Force organized this “S–t In” to bring awareness to the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms around campus.

To get a better understanding of the term transgender, it is defined as someone whose gender identity and expression differs from his or her biological sex.

When I initially walked past this event, I was proud that SDSU students were rallying for what they believed in. After some thought, I thought that the purpose of this rally must be broader than immediately obvious. The protesters could have been using the topic of gender-neutral bathrooms as a stepping stone to address other issues, including criticisms about the way this campus has dealt with gender concerns, or so I thought. Although I understand and emphasize with this wider idea, I unfortunately was wrong in my assumption. The group was protesting exclusively for gender-neutral bathrooms, an issue that has already been addressed on campus.

Now, I’m all about standing tall for what you believe in and treating everyone with the same degree of respect. However, when it comes down to gender equality, it’s not fitting for those involved in the protest to make gender-specific bathrooms such a pointed issue. There’s little need to make bathroom usage a big deal. It’s simple, whether people have strong connections with their biological sexes or not, for physiological purposes, individuals should stick to appropriate bathrooms when there is no other option.

And rather than protest over gender-neutral bathrooms, students should learn to respect each other’s privacy in their respective bathrooms, granting transgender students the respect they deserve.

Gender identity is important, but many college students don’t have the financial luxury to go through a sexual transformation. These same students shouldn’t be harassed while using the bathroom, a place divided by the simplest of measures: biology. If transgender students fear using gender-specific bathrooms because of persecution from other students, it’s their peers job to change their ways, not the school’s burden to make more large changes.

Despite all of this, the concept of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus isn’t even relevant. SDSU offers some gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Regardless of my feelings toward the issue, this campus has done its job in supporting those who it matters to most, yet the protests still persist.

The school is evolving, but it won’t happen over night. Complete change requires time and patience. SDSU has taken an impressive step toward progress, yet protesters on campus continue to criticize these steps.

Unfortunately, in times like these, the school takes the hit. Students who are upset about the state of gender issues on campus wasted an opportunity to shed light on other issues by purely focusing on one concern that is already in the process of being resolved.

This protest missed the topic of gender equality instead used sensationalist tactics to address something already dealt with.

Many individuals are going to have varied opinions when it comes to gender-neutral bathrooms, but this campus has made the appropriate strides to implement positive change. Issues with the speed of this change are a completely different matter. Let’s not make this protest a waste of time and spread more ideas that have still yet to be addressed at all.

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