The Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) – Manila has approved the school’s first gender-neutral toilets.
Gender-neutral restrooms are public toilets that can be used by all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Two gender-neutral toilets are eyed to be installed in LPU.
The move to have a gender-neutral toilet in LPU was spearheaded by LPU Kasarian, the first LGBT organization in the university.
In a letter to LPU president Atty. Roberto Laurel, LPU Kasarian stressed the need to “comply with Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Memorandum Order No. 1 Series of 2015 about establishing policies and guidelines on gender and development that sets the minimum standards to promote gender-sensitive and rights-based policies, curricula, instructional materials in all public and private higher education institutions in the country.” And for LPU Kasarian, the first step to attain this is “establishing and allowing gender-neutral comfort rooms to diminish and eradicate discrimination (of) the LGBT community.”
LPU Kasarian’s letter was endorsed by Paolo Laurel, executive assistant to the president; and noted by Jayson M. Barlan, dean of the student affairs.
“(This is) one big step (to) a more open-minded and a more embracive LPU,” LPU Kasarian’s founding president Dencio Pedere Arcadio said in a Facebook post.
Toilet access remains a big issue particularly among transgender people. While cisgender people may not see going to the toilet as an issue at all, for many transgender people, using a toilet means choosing between using a facility that matches the gender assigned to them at birth or their gender identity. And so the act of using a toilet could carry risks of discrimination, harassment and even assault.
There are actually already similar efforts. For instance, in September 2016, to further engage the LGBT community, Ateneo de Davao University president Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., released a memo designating all single comfort rooms (CR)/toilets in the Jacinto Campus as “all gender”. Dialogue with members of the LGBT community is also being sought “to increase understanding and respect for the human needs and sensitivities of all.”
PHOTOS FROM Dencio Pedere Arcadio