A Petition for Non-Gendered Bathrooms at CUNY Law sign now

A CUNY LAW PETITION FOR MULTI-STALL NON-GENDERED BATHROOMS AT 2 COURT SQUARE

The undersigned students, staff, faculty, and administrative staff and other members of the CUNY Law community sign this petition to convey our support for multi-stall non-gendered bathrooms (NGBs) at 2 Court Square. For more information about this petition and NGBs generally, please write: [email protected]

We are appreciative that after discussions with the Administration last year, the current plans of 2 Court Square include one single-occupancy NGB on each floor. However, this is less than we currently have at our building now, and we believe that is critical that there be multi-stall NGBs in the new building to prevent violence and harassment faced by current, prospective, and future CUNY community members, including parents with children, transgender and gender non-conforming community members, and those community members with disabilities. Particularly because the first floor of the building is under construction, we have a unique opportunity to construct safe bathrooms from the get-go; these bathrooms would include floor-to-ceiling partitions, no urinals, and a common sink space. The sign would identify the bathroom as being accessible to all.

So, while we are encouraged by the Administrations current commitment, it does not go far enough in creating a law school that is truly in the service of human needs. We ask that CUNY Law convert current restrooms into multi-stalled NGBs with floor-to-ceiling partitions for the following reasons:


I. THE PLAN WE PROPOSE MAXIMIZES THE COMFORT AND EDUCATION OF ALL MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY WITH THE GOAL OF CREATING MORE SAFETY AS WELL AS PRIVACY FOR ALL.

We realize that not everyone in the CUNY community has prior experience with multi-stall NGBs. In our considerations we seek to maximize the comfort and education of all members of the CUNY community, including our clients and guests, with the goal of creating more safety and privacy than currently offered. We offer the following proposals:

1) First Floor Multi Stall NGBs: The first floor is being built out from the current retail ready shell, and we propose all multi-stall restrooms on the first floor be gender-neutral, with floor-to-ceiling partitions, no urinals, and a shared sink area.

2) Floors 2 through 6 Gender Neutral Renovation: The already planned gendered restrooms on floors 2 to 6 can be converted to NGB stalls that still provide privacy for its occupants through implementation of floor-to-ceiling partitions.


II. FEWER PRIVATE RESTROOMS AT 2 COURT SQUARE BURDENS TRANSGENDER AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF, CLIENTS, AND GUESTS.

The mission of CUNY Law demands support and access for all to a legal education. Gender and name preferences on the admissions application, the child care center, and increased building access has earned the school a reputation of being welcoming and supportive of transgender students, of new parents, and of people with disabilities.

The scarcity of NGBs coupled with their high demand creates a risk of safety for members of the CUNY community. Many transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly transgender and gender non-conforming people of color, experience harassment and violence in gendered facilities.
The consequences of the current plan include:
- a risk of safety,
- being late for class or appointments and
- potentially serious physical and mental health issues that can result from prolonged lack of safe access to restroom facilities over time.

Often, proposals of NGBs are met with concerns about women's safety and vulnerability to attack by men. While of course violence does occur in restrooms, it occurs by and against people from all backgrounds and genders. The belief that women are safe in segregated restroomsand will therefore be unsafe in non-segregated restroomsis illusory, and reflects cultural, gender, and sexuality stereotypes that do not reflect the breadth of gender experience.


III. GNBs ARE INTEGRAL TO SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND THEREFORE TO THE SCHOOL'S MISSION.

True social justice work entails a commitment to eradicating racism, classism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, and sexism in all spaces, of which CUNY Law is not immune. The undersigned stand in solidarity with all efforts to eradicate oppression at CUNY Law, of which the anti-racism goals of the Race and Privilege Working Group are a primary example.

We must also acknowledge the history of CUNY Law organizing for NGBs. The result of this can be seen in the single-occupancy NGBs on each floor of our current building. The current plans for the new building, however, provide fewer non-gendered bathrooms than already exist and were fought for and established by efforts of past community members.


IV. CUNY LAW IS IN A UNIQUE POSITION TO PUSH FOR THE MOST INCLUSIVE TYPE OF ACCOMMODATIONS POSSIBLE.

As a reputed cutting-edge progressive legal community, we have a responsibility to set an example for other institutions. Creating a space with exclusively NGBs is a common-sense move toward gender equality. Gendered spaces further the idea that men and women are essentially different, contributing to stereotypes and further cementing ideas about gender that contribute to the oppression of individuals who are transgender and gender non-conforming.

Other CUNY campuses such as Hunter College and non-profits such as the Urban Justice Center have made steps toward eliminating gender-based discrimination by providing NGBs. The time has come for CUNY Law to become a leader in the field of gender justice.

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Pam PerryBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
the CUNY Law Community

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