Time to Move Past Gender Segregated
by Kiwi Grady
spring, T-Party will be submitting a list of reforms to NYU
to make the university more friendly towards transgender and gender
variant people. T-Party believes that NYUs current policies
do not address the issues of transgender and gender variant people,
and in some cases, are disrespectful to transgender identities.
T-Party is a club sponsored by the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Student Services. It was started a little over
a year ago, and has weekly meetings every Friday night. T-Partys
mission is to create and maintain a strong community in NYU for
people who identify as transgender (an umbrella term for people
whose gender identity and/or statement and expression do not go
along with what is traditionally associated with their biological
sex), people who significantly transgress gender but dont
identify as transgender (gender variant), trannie chasers and
trans allies. T-Partys activities are diverse the
club is both a social and an activist club.
T-Partys main concerns with NYU are employment, housing,
bathrooms and locker rooms. It should be noted that T-Partys
views do not necessarily reflect the attitudes of the Office of
LGBT Student Services.
of right now, transgender and gender variant people are not protected
under the universitys non-discrimination policy. Although
the policy protects individuals from discrimination against sex
and sexual orientation, it nowhere explicitly protects people
against discrimination based on gender identity and statement.
Some people might argue that the current policy (specifically
the part that prohibits discrimination based on sex) can be interpreted
as protecting people against discrimination based on gender identity
and statement, but until that is proven, T-Party wants to see
gender identity and expression added to the policy.
Housing segregates people based on biological sex. This policy
is highly disrespectful to transgender individuals who do not
identify with their biological sex. It prevents them from rooming
with individuals who share their gender identity, and in many
of those cases, creates a living situation that is uncomfortable
(since many people wish to room with someone who shares their
gender identity). It also sends the message to transgender students
that their gender identity is not respected by the university.
Housing is not just a transgender issue, though. It is an issue
that affects everyone on campus.
policy of sex segregation in housing is heteronormative. The policy
is used in an attempt to police heterosexual desire, and in that
attempt, it totally ignores the existence of homosexual desire.
While the university wont allow a biological male and female
to room together (because it assumes the two must be heterosexual),
it will allow two biological females to live together and it will
allow two biological males to live together. In both of the cases
just mentioned, the roommates might identify with a sexual orientation
that would allow the possibility of a sexual/romantic union between
the two. In this light, NYU actually discriminates against heterosexuals
in that it does not give heterosexuals the same option that it
gives homosexuals, bisexuals and other sexual minorities
the option of living with a significant other or potential significant
It must be stressed though that the current housing policy limits
the choices for everyone in the university. Some people simply
get along better with people who do not belong to the same biological
sex as they do. Some women feel more comfortable living with men,
some men feel more comfortable living with women, etc. By forcing
people to live with people of the same biological sex, the university
is preventing many people from living with the roommates that
suit them best.
Transgender and gender variant people are discriminated against
constantly in bathrooms and locker rooms. Oftentimes when walking
into bathrooms and locker rooms, transgender and gender variant
people are subjected to stares, verbal abuse and sometimes even
violence. A trip to the bathroom or locker room can be a very
uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for a transgender or gender
variant person, and many transgender and gender variant individuals
have therefore avoided visiting the locker rooms at Coles and
using the multi-occupancy bathrooms at NYU that they feel fit
To solve the housing, bathroom and locker room problems, T-party
advocates that all three be made coed. For housing, T-Party desires
that all students be given the option of choosing a roommate that
suits them best regardless of biological sex. In housing application
forms, students should be given the option of living with a male-identified
student, a female-identified student or simply not caring what
sex they end up with in their dorm room. Peoples gender
identities should always be respected during the housing application
process, as should the choices people make for roommates.
For locker rooms, T-Party wants to see all individual locker rooms
equipped with private stalls. This would ensure that all individuals
using the locker room would have privacy while changing and showering.
To ensure the safety of the locker room users, T-Party suggests
having a guard or monitor patrol the hallways of each locker room.
With private stalls and hallway guards/monitors, T-Party is confident
that everyone can have a safe and comfortable experience in a
coed locker room.
For bathrooms, T-Party wants half of the multi-occupancy bathrooms
to be made coed immediately and for it to be clear that anyone
can use the bathroom that they identify with. After a couple of
years pass, and people are more used to coed multi-occupancy bathrooms
and there are more single occupancy bathrooms available, all bathrooms
should be made coed. People who would feel uncomfortable going
to the bathroom with people of another sex would have the option
of using a private restroom on campus.
The proposed solutions for the locker room and bathroom problems
are somewhat radical and probably intimidating for a lot of people,
but T-Party does not see any other option capable of solving the
problems completely. For instance, a commonly proposed "solution"
is to have transgender people use single occupancy bathrooms.
Likewise, a solution many people propose for the locker room problem
is to create a small and more private third locker room that transgender
people and other individuals could use. T-Party feels that neither
of these options are acceptable, since they stigmatize transgender
Transgender people should feel comfortable and welcome using the
same facilities as normally gendered people. By forcing
or pushing transgender people to use private or small facilities
that are separate from the ones most other people use, the university
would be furthering the perception of transgender people as an
other a perception that transgender people
are working hard on changing.
Since the institution of gender itself is the root of trans oppression,
it would be wise to attack it directly in order to truly help
transgender people. Maintaining gendered spaces only serves to
reproduce and maintain gender, which in turn reproduces and maintains
the oppression that transgender and gender variant people face.
If NYU is serious about making the school more trans-friendly,
it will need to eliminate the spaces within its borders that are
you have any questions or would like to talk to me about anything
trans related, whether it is questions
about transgenderism, T-Party, or the stuff I brought up in this
essay, feel free to leave me a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org