GSA seeks gender-neutral facilities on BC campus

Transgender-TW

Photo Credit: Teela Walker

Alexis Blanton, head of the GSA Transgender Rights Committee, looks up at the women’s restroom the SE building.

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Breanna Fields, Reporter
February 15, 2012
Filed under Features, Top Stories, Uncategorized

The Gay Straight Association at Bakersfield College is currently working toward making changes on campus that will reflect their morality of equality through gender-neutral facilities as well as other adjustments for transgender students.

Transgender is a term used to describe someone who, for example, may be female but later discover that label does not particularly suit who they are.

That person may be more comfortable taking on the role as a male. This can also refer to a male transitioning into a female role.

There have been a number of ideas proposed by the GSA that follow gender-neutral standards for facilities, documents and language.

Alexis Blanton, vice president of the GSA, recently spoke to the Student Government Association about the growing issues that face transgender students on campus.

“We’re just trying to get these issues solved and let people know,” said Blanton.

Gender-neutral restrooms are a primary focus of the GSA, and Blanton hopes that these changes will be made to allow transgender students to have a comfortable experience on campus.

“I feel that even if there is only one student, it matters,” said Blanton, who insists on taking steps toward transgender equality regardless of the population size.

Blanton hopes to eliminate segregated restrooms, or at the least install new gender-neutral facilities that would be available to all students on campus.

There are a number of other transgender-friendly methods that the GSA recommend faculty and students practice on a regular basis.

For transgender students, it can be uncomfortable to approach instructors regarding their situation and names on the classroom roster.

The GSA would like the BC campus to participate in a non-discrimination policy that includes “gender-identity or expression.”

In this case, that would mean allowing students to have the name they preferred on university documents, as well as have the opportunity to change gender on those documents if they are transitioning.

Blanton also feels that it is important to educate both students and faculty members on transgender needs so that they are better prepared to understand or handle a situation that may arise.

This could be as simple as refraining from making the assumption that a person is male or female in a phone conversation or on documents that include gender-related information.

“I feel that the transgender issue is an upcoming thing,” said Blanton, referring to the current level of awareness in our community.

The GSA hosts club meetings every Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the library commons room L149.

There is an additional meeting for transgender equality in the cafeteria every Tuesday at 1 p.m.

More information on GSA can be found online at bcgaystraightassociation.weebly.com.

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