Dec. 31, 2013

Shel Shively

The situation regarding transgender Fountain, Colo., student Coy Mathis, a self-identified 6-year-old girl, has raised questions regarding restroom usage for transgender students on campus.

There are 20 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, including one in University Hall, two in Ulrich House, one in Centennial Hall and two in the Family Development Center.

There are also three gender-neutral restrooms in Building 20, two in the Recreation Center, eight in Columbine Hall and one in Monarch House.

Nobody has to use [the gender-neutral restrooms]. There is no policy at UCCS that says trans people have to use this restroom, said Vanessa Delgado, director of the LGBT Resource Center at MOSAIC.

Delgado said that if a person had a problem with using the same bathroom as a transgendered individual and made a complaint about it, the university would have to respond.

The [university] has to provide reasonable accommodations for the complainant, Delgado said. We, as a university, cannot ask the transgendered person to use a different restroom If someone is uncomfortable, they can take their discomfort elsewhere.

Delgado said that there are no approximate statistics regarding actual numbers of transgendered students at UCCS because the admissions office only offers the options of male or female on admissions applications.

According to the Williams Institute at UCLA Law, approximately 0.3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as transgendered.

Kimberly Holcomb, a professor in the Department of Womens and Ethnic Studies and co-editor of the book Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: The New Basics, said that transgender can include many characteristics.

[It is] a broad term, including those who may seek to alter/change their biological sex through hormones and/or surgery, or anybody who falls outside of or seeks to problematize binary understandings of gender and/or sexuality, she said.

Holcomb notes that it is a self-ascribed term, meaning that people choose to define themselves in this way, and no one else can assign this label to them.

Concerning the gender-neutral restrooms on campus, Samantha Kennedy, SPECTRUM Club president, said that theyre not as accessible as they should be.

I feel like they should be right next to the mens and womens bathrooms. I think its weird that the University Center doesnt have one, Kennedy said.

This is what you would consider a hub for student activity, Delgado said. There are a lot of people who come through the UC every single day.

The gender-neutral restroom nearest University Center is at the end of Centennial Hall on the first floor.

All of the gender-neutral restrooms in Columbine are in the section of the building that house faculty offices.