Response to recent cartoon

by Elise Coffin, University student

The recent editorial cartoon “The Road Toward Equality,” published by the Minnesota Daily has obviously sparked some conversation and controversy on campus. Many people, including myself, feel uneasy and tense. First, as someone who identifies as cisgender but presents herself as more masculine — meaning I dress in what society deems “boy” clothes — I get frustrated when people in bathrooms double-take and ask bluntly if I realize that “this is the women’s restroom,” to which I respond, “Yes, that’s why I’m here.”

This is not only rude and awful but also a constant reminder that how I choose to present myself is not acceptable to society.

Transgender folks are not the only ones who would benefit from gender-neutral bathrooms; I would, too. Instead of celebrating the freedom and validation they would bring, the cartoon poked fun at gender-neutral bathrooms with a hallway filled with bathrooms of different identities, many of which were not even gender identities.

Gender-neutral bathrooms would eliminate the pressure of having to identify within society’s gender binary. Many people may laugh at this and say that it’s not a big deal, but the truth is it’s very detrimental when someone questions the core of your identity and where you belong. With gender-neutral bathrooms, we would not just validate transgender individuals — we would help everyone who doesn’t fit gender stereotypes as well as all women who are sick of waiting in long lines while our male counterparts zoom in and out of the bathroom.