On August 15, 2016, University of South Alabama took a step that only about 150 colleges across the states have taken. Thanks to Title IX, USA students, faculty, and anyone else that visits campus can use which bathroom they identify with. This is one of the biggest events the school has had, as far as recognizing the LGBT+ community.
An email was sent out Monday, the day before classes started up again. It was by Krista Harrell, the school’s Title IX coordinator. The email stated that “The University of South Alabama allows individuals to use the restroom or changing facility that is consistent with their gender identity.”
After the message was sent out, people took to Facebook to vent about their feelings. Some of which have no affiliation with USA. The most surprising comment that has been seen on the issue is from a person affiliated with another university in the area. "If you know of a family that isn't comfortable with this decision, please have them call us at [school]. We still have scholarships available." I'm reading that I'm getting a scholarship because I don't want to share my bathroom? This post was followed by comments from people agreeing with the post. The judgement that came with it is almost sickening.
With all the negativity, comes some that are welcoming with open arms. Another person commented: "Transgender people have been using the bathrooms they want for years and years. Good going, either way, South Alabama! Proud to call you home!" This is a true statement. The chances of you sharing a bathroom with a transgender person and never knowing it are very high. This isn't just a younger generation embracing it. There are plenty of people from every age group that are on board with this decision.
Maybe I believe that we should love everyone, whether you identify as a male, female or both. Or maybe it's the idea that the people who are being ridiculed for being who they want to be, are just that: people. I'd rather share the bathroom with someone who used to be a man, rather than someone who is judgmental. Most likely, you won't even realize the people who will be taking advantage of this new rule.
It's time to embrace change. We need to learn to love one another, instead of hating each other over one difference. How about instead of seeing what he or she has under the belt, we see their accomplishments. Instead of seeing a woman who used to be a man, we see someone who is passionate about literature. Instead of seeing a man who used to be a woman, we see someone who is working to become a doctor. To come out and identify as transgender in this judgmental world, is something to be proud of in itself.
As far as the bathrooms at The University of South Alabama go... I don't care if you are a man, woman or both. Go where you feel like you belong, not where society says. You've fought this hard to be yourself. I sure won't be one to stop you from that. I personally have several friends, two of which are currently transitioning, who are greatly affected by this. I gladly support them in their decision, and will welcome them with open arms...and stalls.
Like the lovely Laverne Cox said: "There are lessons in everything. The bad, the good. Our job is to listen, and to continue to learn, so that maybe we get better at this. Maybe get better at life."