Top-10 bathroom story overlooks larger issue

While I can appreciate the light-heartedness of Friday’s Daily Texan story on the top 10 bathrooms on campus, I feel that a front-page story letting students know which restroom has a couch is in poor taste to more pressing issues surrounding bathroom use.

Most UT students take something as simple as going to the restroom for granted; the only obstacle is finding the closest one. For transgender and gender non-conforming students at UT, something so basic quickly becomes a nightmare. Imagine having to run up several flights of stairs, to go all the way home or to avoid drinking or eating during the day for fear of having to enter a restroom. How would you feel if you faced verbal and physical harassment every time you needed to use the bathroom (maybe two, three, four times a day)? Often transgender and gender non-conforming students do not feel safe in either the men’s or women’s restrooms. Many transgender students are harassed in restrooms because they are perceived to be insufficiently feminine or masculine. This is a matter of student safety.

If you want a headline-worthy article for the front page of the Texan, address the fact that only 17 out of more than 100 buildings on campus have gender-neutral restrooms and that we have students on this campus who feel unsafe doing something that should be as simple as using the bathroom.

Meg Susong
Women and gender studies senior