Bathroom Are for Everyone

Photo by Cass Averill

After over a year of dedication and persistence by myself and a small team of individuals it has come to pass that our single-stall bathrooms at the Springfield, Oregon site for Symantec have finally been changed from gender segregated to all-inclusive. Many people will think this is a great improvement if for no other reason than for the fact that they now have access to two private rooms instead of just one when nature calls. Even though we have multi-stall bathrooms also available here there are many employees who prefer the privacy of a single-stall restroom for a wide variety of reasons. For a transgender person like myself this change is more than just an added convenience.

Being able to go to the bathroom seems like a simple task, but for folks like myself who defy the gender binary it is an act of bravery each and every time. Will I be allowed to enter? Will I be able to relieve myself without interrogation or altercation? Will I be safe? Questions like these prevent many transgender folks from even using the restroom outside of their own home. This type of fear leads to medical issues for many people as relieving oneself is a biological necessity and when we chronically prevent ourselves from doing so for long periods of time it has a variety of negative health effects — some of which could lead to hospitalization.

Even though at this point in my physical transition few would ever question my gender I still harbor fears of hate-motivated violence. These fears are validated every day as I hear accounts of transgender people across this nation being attacked for simply entering a restroom. These fears are even more amplified when cities and states across this nation enact laws that make it legal to discriminate, promote violence, and ostracize an entire population of people simply for being different. For the transgender population going to the bathroom is not simple, easy, or done without heavy consideration each and every time.

Seeing this sign change immediately communicated to me that Symantec not only sees me, but also supports me, and is willing to make progressive changes to ensure that “equality” isn’t just a buzzword but is instead an integral part of our internal corporate culture. From here on out when nature calls I can now rest easy knowing that I am safe. Something that I cannot say is true when in public.

Today I am truly proud to be a Symantec employee.

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