Letters to the Editor
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 01:09
In response to the Sept. 1 article "No discrimination protection for gender identity at USF"
I am a biological female, and I happen to feel that my body matches the rest of me. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I understand that.
I also understand that when I walk into the school I attend, my place of work or any public institution that I am free to be in those places and use those places to fulfill my needs. I did not understand that, living in the age we do, those who have alternative gender expressions are not given the same.
Perhaps the lack of "hue and cry" that Assistant Vice President of the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office Ted Williams describes is due to the fact that people are and were not informed about the University's official position on the matter of discrimination based on gender expression. ‘We don't have to' and ‘the city is not my boss' are hardly compelling arguments for refusing to protect the members of our University community who are currently unprotected.
This is a civil rights issue. A person is a person, and putting a member of our University's staff through what sounds like a lengthy and now public ordeal is unconscionable, considering that she just needs access to a restroom that she feels physically safe using. By maintaining that heterosexuals and individuals who adhere to a given gender will have problems is propagating the idea that those individuals will have cause to fear transgendered individuals while in the bathroom.
USF's recent history shows two student-led developments that are geared toward respecting and accepting transgendered students at USF: USF's Transgender Student Union and the creation of gender-neutral dorms with the option of selecting a third gender on housing applications. I would like to tell Mr. Williams that just because he was not paying attention does not mean that a message of acceptance for individuals who are off the gender binary has not been sent before now. Fix this now. It's pointless, cruel and not something that I expected from this University that I love. Fix it.
Laurel Alfson is a senior majoring in secondary education.
In response to the article "No discrimination protection for gender identity at USF," I would like to ask a quick question and make a quick note as well. First, what sex is Rebecca Cardwell? Whichever is the answer should be the answer to which restroom he/she uses. Using the term "transitioning" in reference to changing sexes is very vague and keeps readers from knowing where the individual is sexually at the time.
Now, if Rebecca is a male but feels uncomfortable using a male bathroom, there are several places on campus where he can use restrooms, which are open to both men and women. There is at least one of these restrooms in the main campus library, which is nearly half the distance to the Marshall Student Center. If Rebecca is a female, then she shouldn't have any problem using a female restroom, as there aren't any actual laws prohibiting her from doing so. While further legislation that protects transgendered students should be considered, Rebecca can continue as a student normally would without any. There are multiple gender-neutral bathrooms across campus, and Rebecca at least has the opportunity to use those.
Bob Geier is a senior majoring in political science.