We All Need To Pee - Trans awareness on campusesWe all need to pee National Union of Students tackles transphobia in bathrooms

The National Union of Students’ Queer Department has rolled out a campaign to universities across Australia raising the problems faced by transgender and genderqueer students. Using the taglines “We all need to pee” and “I’m here to pee, not to be gender stereotyped,” the campaign has seen thousands of stickers plastered onto bathroom doors, mirrors and walls at campuses around the country, asking people to stop and think before they question someone’s right to be in a gendered bathroom.

April Holcombe, who is studying for her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, explained her experiences of transgender life, “Our society does not accommodate for genderqueer women like myself. Transphobic police routinely abuse and deliberately misgender me, street harassment is a given, and medical or legal changes are a punitive maze of humiliating examinations and paperwork.

Explaining the relevance of NUS’ campaign, she continued by saying “Public bathrooms especially can be a sore spot for trans people. For me, going to a public toilet means thinking about what I’m wearing, whether I’ve shaved today, to have my hair up or down; in short, if I can ‘pull off’ going to the women’s restroom without any dramas. Weird looks, people double-checking the sign on the door, snide comments and outright slurs are what you can routinely expect. I was even apprehended by security at a pub last week for daring to use the women’s toilet and had to explain angrily whilst they dragged me out.

“Such experiences only steel my insistence on using the bathroom of my choice and NUS’ initiative is a serious help for these occasions. Seeing one stuck on a mirror or cubicle door can make people think twice, and if they still feel the need to be an asshole, pointing to one helps legitimate my right to be there. It’s a simple, thoughtful and respectful step to help make bathrooms safer for gender diverse people and assist in the fight against transphobia,” Holcombe concluded. “Finally, something on a toilet door worth reading!”

Cat Rose, National Queer Officer of the National Union of Students stated; “It has been a pleasure rolling out this campaign, we’ve had students and queer collectives from over 20 Australian universities take part in plastering their campus bathrooms with stickers. It’s been shared widely on Tumblr by students who noticed the stickers on their campus.  And just recently the Queer and Ally Student Assembly at the University of Southern California contacted me wanting to do something similar in the US.  Clearly, this is an issue that people want to challenge, we just needed someone to make it happen.”

A couple of photos of newly redecorated bathrooms at the University of Sydney are attached, with the material explaining the difficulties of those who defy gender expectations receiving their right to safe bathroom access, concluding, “Let people use the bathroom in peace, and speak up if you witness harassment.”