Gabriela Enamorado/Contributing Writer
FIU has made great strides in being inclusive as possible to their LGBTQIA+ students. But the lack of much needed sanitary bins in the men’s bathrooms for trans men and nonbinary people shows that there is still work to be done.
Many trans men and nonbinary people feel uncomfortable and unsafe in men’s bathrooms due to lack of menstruation disposal, according to Rosen Gordon, president of the Honors College Pride Club and social media coordinator of Out ‘n About. Rosen explained to me that instead of having a place to dispose of these products, they may have to carry the pad or tampon out into the open area trash cans, which can be physically and mentally harmful.
For many trans men who pass as cisgender, this can easily out to anyone who witnesses them throwing away a sanitary napkin. Menstruation is already a stressful experience, and having an easy and accessible place to dispose of sanitary napkins would help lessen the stress, according to Rosen.
While there are some gender-neutral restrooms in FIU, this isn’t enough to avoid these types of obstacles in other restrooms.
With Trans Day of Remembrance coming up, it’s important to always keep the safety of our fellow trans students in mind. Bathrooms are a place where violence and harassment for trans people can easily occur. This shouldn’t be something the community has to keep asking for at school.
However, the University is listening and keeping their requests in mind. The FIU Student Government Association voted on Monday, Nov. 4 to provide free menstruation products on campus, making them more accessible to trans and nonbinary students. Many people who get their periods feel it’s taboo, and this free access to menstruation products will be a step in the right direction.
Even so, FIU should already be accommodating to trans men and nonbinary people and normalizing them in “men’s” restrooms. They shouldn’t be a second thought that people have to fight for.
FIU needs to step up and put the security and concerns of trans and nonbinary people at the top of their list. Members of the trans community from the Biscayne Bay Campus’s Gay-Straight Alliance and other on-campus LGBTQIA+ organizations have spoken to them before about sanitary bins, and it doesn’t seem to be moving forward. Adding bins helps recognize that not everyone who gets their period is a woman, something that’s long overdue. Other universities have started to add bins in their men’s bathrooms; Newcastle University in the United Kingdom voted to include the bins back in 2018.
Some trans students feel that while they listen, FIU does not take these concerns seriously and wants to brush them off when it comes to these issues. Hopefully, this can be alleviated, not only for welfare but for the sake of respecting trans people’s rights.
Featured photo by Marco Verch on Flickr.
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