Come On In, The Bathroom's Just Fine

Come On In, The Bathroom's Just Fine

A response to USA's new "Transgender Bathroom" policy.
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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."

Cover Image Credit: all gender

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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In A Society Where Sex Sells And Women Are Trying To Be Heard

You are a valuable human being, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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I think it's fair to say we all have our guilty pleasures in life.

Those romantic comedies, steamy novels, or dramatic tv shows.

We love seeing the super attractive guy, with the super attractive girl.

But I think what society has picked up on, and what continues to happen, is women are being overly sexualized.

Whether it be a commercial, a show, a movie, a picture, or advertisement, sex will sell just about anything.

And I know this happens to men as well, and sure we don't mind looking at it, and might not even notice any real problems, but it is a problem.

We live in a society where men and women want to be heard, they want their voices out on the platforms for the world to hear, they want to change, and action.

We want to end major problems like human trafficking, sexual predators, and rape culture.

But let's put up a billboard of a half-dressed woman for children to see.

Let's make this simple.

No a woman or man for that matter, wearing very little clothing does not mean they are open or willing to engage with anyone sexually. This does not excuse rape, catcalling, or other sexual comments.

But listen, I am a woman, and if there is a man on the beach with a six-pack, It might catch my eye.

Just as a woman with a very revealing top may get a couple of glances, but this still doesn't have to be made sexual or overly dramatic. We can notice, and control our thoughts.

But here's the thing, if we continue to push sex, it really doesn't help our case.

As a woman I know if I walk into a job interview I'm going to look my best because my goal is to show I am a sophisticated individual worth being hired, it sends a message, just as walking into an interview with sweatpants would be.

I know I can speak for all men and women and say we all desire respect, as we should.

We don't want unwanted attention.

But there are a lot of other things we don't want either,

as I mentioned before, predators, sex traffickers, or rapists.

I believe clothing or lack thereof do not lead to such things, but rather things like pornography, graphic movies, shows, or magazines can "encourage."

NOT intentionally.

But think about it, really.

They create a fantasy, which means they aren't real. But when we continue to promote these things it becomes real for some people.

We as women want to be heard, we want respect, we want equality, but I'm telling you we are not going to get that in a society that banks off of sex. Or sexually exploiting ourselves.

Because

1. WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO SELL OURSELVES LIKE THAT TO ANYONE

2. I'm pretty sure people will still buy the product without the half dressed individuals if marketed well

I think if we want to change then we need to fix the issues staring right at us.


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