We’ve all been there: You’re out somewhere and…in need.
Of a toilet.
And sometimes, pickin’s are slim.
Imagine how much worse it would be if you had to find an inclusive one.
As education continues its expansion beyond the singular scope of teaching academic subjects, Harvard University comes to the rescue of those who’ve gotta go, and in a very particularly way.
Harvard’s Gender Inclusive Restroom Mapping project aims to eliminate “restroom avoidance” and “experiences of anxiety around restroom use.” A team of collaborators that includes the school’s Title IX and BGLTQ Student Life offices has begun taking stock of the inclusive restrooms presently available at the university.
As for those novel initials, here’s the Office of BGLTQ Student Life’s mission statement:
The Office of BGLTQ Student Life serves as a central resource for bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, and questioning (BGLTQ) students at Harvard College. Through our work, we foster the inclusion, affirmation, and celebration of all BGLTQ identities and expressions. We strive to create a community where BGLTQ students can thrive and where all students are well-equipped to engage knowledgeably and compassionately with regard to gender and sexuality.
The group striving for a restroom reference is partnering — per the Harvard Crimson — with Harvard Medical School, college faculty, and the Office of the President and Provost.
Caysie C. Harvey — the university’s Associate Title IX coordinator and co-chair of the group — told the Crimson she’s touched:
“We continue to be heartened by the enthusiasm of local building managers who assisted in confirming the accuracy of our data. It was genuinely a community-wide effort grounded by our collective responsibility to promote inclusivity. This project is meant to be iterative and a community-wide collaboration, as there are updates made to restrooms across campus, we will continue to partner with building managers to update our Gender Inclusive Restroom Mapping site.”
So how many folks will be intestinally served?
According to a Crimson survey, 0.4% of Harvard freshmen — approximately 6.8 people — identify as transgender.
The school’s doing what it can to accommodate.
As laid out on the Office of BGLTQ’s site, “Gender Inclusive” housing is available to “anyone who wants to live with people with whom they feel comfortable, regardless of their gender.”
And to hear the Beacon tell it, it’s part of a state-of-the-art style goin’ ’round.
The world’s gettin’ woke, the problematic’s gettin’ pummeled, and everyone’s invited to the new-and-improved party.
Universities in recent years have begun opening traditionally single-sex spaces like dormitories and restrooms to all students regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. The University of California, Berkeley in 2017 announced it would spend $2.7 million in student fees to build a gender-inclusive locker room.
There’s a brand-spanking administration in the White House, and schools are likely to see subsequent change:
President Joe Biden has signaled that his administration is likely to reinstate Obama-era directives that mandated K-12 and higher education institutions provide students sex-indiscriminate restroom access. The President signed an executive order on his first day in office to fight discrimination based on “gender identity and sexual orientation.” The first section of the order states that “children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
Either way, everyone should be able to find a restroom.
And — I have to believe — many of you are thinking the same thing as I…
So let’s just acknowledge the elephant in the room:
George had a great idea.
Maybe so does Harvard.
Here’s to hoping they can help all students — inclusively — who are about to have something very problematic running down their Ivy League legs.
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