Transgender and gender non-binary students now have a place to “go,” as it were.
As of March 1, all public, single-occupancy bathrooms in California are considered gender-neutral.
In response to a recent California law, gender-specific signage has been covered with temporary, gender-neutral replacements on all 21 relevant restrooms on Laney’s campus, with permanent placards on the way.
Changes in signage are the result of Bill AB1732, signed into California law September 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill states: “All single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency shall be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.”
According to Bernal, the Peralta Colleges District has ordered the replacement signs, which will be distributed to its colleges when they arrive. Estimated cost of the new signage is “just under $5,000.”
The temporary replacement signs show the typical male, female, and handicapped symbols, along with a new amalgam of the male and female symbols.
Fifteen of the 21 gender-neutral bathrooms can be found in the Tower Building, two in the Children’s Center, and one each in the Student Center, Laney Bistro, A-Building, and Eagle Village.
However, the bathrooms in the Children’s Center are, for safety reasons, not open to the public and at press time were unsigned.
The A-Building restroom, though properly signed, has been permanently closed for two years.
“The college made a decision to permanently close it after an incident of assault occurred in there,” Bernal said.
At press time, the gender-neutral toilet in the Eagle Village lacked the temporary signage and is locked indefinitely for health and safety issues. According to Bernal, the floors require maintenance.
Because the temporary signs are secured with tape, it is possible that they can fall or be taken off, Bernal said.
Bernal assured the Tower that Laney’s custodial staff “diligent” in monitoring the campus and replacing any missing signs.
“I think everybody has the right to use the bathroom where they want to use it,” said Laney student Hussainatou Jallow.
Some students, however, expressed concern over the new law.
“Initially… I felt a little vulnerable,” said Laney student Kim Daniels, recounting an experience at SF State in which two men walked into a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom while she was using it.
Daniels stressed that her concern had nothing to do with gay, transgender, or non-binary students using the restrooms.
The new law goes into effect less than a month after the Trump administration rescinded federal protections allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities.
In 2013, Gov. Brown signed into law the “School Bathroom Bill,” which allows transgender students to use bathrooms and play on sports teams in accordance with their identified gender, regardless of the gender stated on their birth certificate.
The Los Angeles Times has reported the California governor as being very critical of President Trump in the past, saying that the governor alluded to Trump policy as a “miasma of nonsense.”
To view Bill AB1732, visit http://bit.ly/2hXZOTE. For a list of transgender and gender non-binary identities and terminology, visit http://genderqueerid.com/gq-terms.
Laney College All-Gender Bathroom Locations
The map at shows where Laney’s all-gender bathrooms are located. Each number corresponds to a building, listed below along with the locations where the bathrooms can be found.
1 – LANEY TOWER
Fifteen all-gender restrooms are in the Tower building. There are two each on floors 2-8 and an additional one in the Wellness Center on the second floor.
2 – A-COMPLEX
A-Complex has one gender-neutral across from room A-237. It is permanently closed.
3 – STUDENT CENTER
There is one all-gender bathroom on the fourth floor of the Student Center in the Laney Wellness Center II. It is labeled for staff.
4 – Laney Bistro
There is one all-gender bathroom in the Laney Bistro.
5 – EAGLE VILLAGE
The all-gender bathroom in the Eagle Village is closed indefinately, pending maintenance.