My university has taken an ad hoc approach to formulating policy regarding transgender issues, and has been progressive and reasonable for my situation and for a couple of students that I have known about. Three broad policy issues that face faculty, staff, and students are the following:

  • name and sex records in personnel forms, campus email addresses, university directory information, and other records
  • non-discrimination and non-harrassment policies
  • and the one everyone worries about, the “bathroom” policy

(Non-policy, but still important, is having a culture of acceptance and tolerance. )

There are many good reasons to work on any one of the three issues, but since we have to pee every day and since a lot of people have knee-jerk reactions to a “man in the women’s room,” the bathroom issue is probably one of the best places to start.

My university crafted an ad hoc bathroom policy that’s progressive and integrative: you use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex you’re performing. This seems quite reasonable, even if conservatives have been up in arms in Montgomery County, Maryland about the issue.

There are good reasons for integration in multiple-stall bathrooms: cost effective, socially conventional, and space-saving. But there are good reasons for non-gender-specific large bathrooms and single-stall bathrooms, violence and discrimination being the two most pressing issues. The Transgender Law Center (a California organization, has published a terrific pdf brochure called “Peeing In Peace: A Resource Guide for Transgender Activists and Allies.”

I myself am not sure if there can be a universal rule for all universities, organizations, and other companies, and I’m not sure how I feel about the issue. I lean towards integration, but I’m also mindful of how difficult it is for transgender people who are not conventional-looking to use those facilities.

See also

Bathroom Liberation Front
Transgender Workplace Diversity
FORGE Legal Issues