Did you know that there is a gender neutral bathroom located in Hunter College? It is located on the 4th floor of the Thomas Hunter Building.
A couple of days ago the 4th floor bathroom at Thomas Hunter was out of order. That lead to a hunt for a woman’s bathroom on the 3rd floor, but this bathroom was like no other. Perhaps finding the bathroom door with many writings upon it left me to doubt if it was a bathroom at all. When I finally gathered up the courage to go in, I opened the door to a male coming out of the bathroom with another at the sink washing his hands. I was so embarrassed thinking I just walked into the men’s bathroom, I awkwardly asked the guy whether it was the women’s bathroom. Only for him to awkwardly reply by telling me that it was a gender-neutral bathroom. Those few minutes were probably one of the most mortifying minutes of my life!
However in hindsight, I should not have been surprised at all. My first year of college was spent at SUNY New Paltz, which gave me the space I needed to develop my own opinions on different issues. While there, I learned about gender neutrality from my peers as at the time there was a push by students urging SUNY New Paltz to create gender-neutral bathrooms. Now two years later, SUNY New Paltz started offering gender-neutral housing this semester. But two years ago, I did not put a lot of thought into gender-neutral bathrooms let alone housing, however, I unconsciously always had an opinion.
On a bus ride back from Montreal we stopped at this pizza store. At this rest stop there was at bathroom for each gender, therefore the queue for women’s bathroom was quite long. I decided to use the bathroom labeled for men as it was not in use. When I was about to close the door, an elderly lady told me: “That’s the men’s bathroom.” I just looked at her, shrugged, told her “I know,” and closed the door. Bathrooms are just bathrooms to be used by everyone, so why label it by gender? A generalization could be: gendered bathrooms’ is society’s way of segregating and reminding everyone that we live in a heterosexual patriarchal society.