WKU doesn’t need to survey all students for LGBTQ issues

The executives of Student Identity Outreach applaud the administration, including President Gary Ransdell, Diversity Officer Richard Miller and Facilities Officer Bryan Russell on recent efforts to make WKU more inclusive of transgender and gender non-conforming people by highlighting plans to create non-gendered restrooms. 

These plans were shared with the university community at the first dinner for WKU’s LGBTQ people hosted by President Ransdell this month. The plans were reported in the Herald article “Single-occupancy restrooms to be renamed.” The creation of gender-neutral restrooms will greatly improve the quality of life for LGBTQ people at WKU. 

However, we must express our deep concerns that a survey will be sent to all students about language choice for the signs. This issue directly affects a minority in the WKU community that is often misunderstood, and if the solution is designed by a public that is not adequately educated on the complexities of the community then this well-intentioned act may be poorly executed and ultimately prove counterproductive to the community it is designed to benefit. 

To provide inclusivity to transgender and gender non-conforming people, we recommend “gender-neutral” or “all gender” restrooms. WKU is making significant strides forward, and SIO wants to ensure that the voices of transgender or gender non-conforming identified people are centralized on these issues.

While increasing the visibility of accessible restrooms is an important first step, bathrooms alone will not make WKU fully LGBTQ inclusive. Continued improvement requires administrators to simplify name and gender changes on university records, implement gender-inclusive housing and increase visibility of LGBTQ people in academics and diversity programming.