Last year Lane Community College began designating bathrooms across campus as gender neutral. LCC has policies that support Title IX, which protects people on the basis of sex.
Jerry de Leon, Director of Gender Equity Center and Title IX Coordinator, explained that in addition to access to facilities and protection from discrimination, the college added the bathrooms to support students. A list of the bathroom locations is provided at the Gender Equity Center in Building 1. De Leon is working on getting information out about access to resources such as transgender health care and support groups.
Nathan O’kin was a Lane student from fall 2015 through June of 2017 and is now studying philosophy and linguistics at Portland State University. After a high school experience where he felt the school did little to support him as a transgender student, he found a much more supportive community at Lane. However, while he appreciated there being a family bathroom for use, he didn’t know about any transgender-specific resources at Lane.
“I never knew just how many resources Lane had for trans students or how to find out if those resources existed,” O’kin said. “I definitely never felt uncomfortable on campus, and that meant something to me, but I think it would help to advertise any trans-specific resources so that people are aware. I also think that having trans-specific resources are important, and not always just having a generalized GSA or LGBT group.”
When student Kathryn Howd was considering coming to LCC, she didn’t hear much about support for transgender students beyond the school having a Gay-Straight Alliance. She came for the Game Development program. Howd thought the gender-neutral bathrooms were nice and had stopped by the Gender Equity Center a few times.
“Transgender specific inclusion in the laws that give us our basic rights and guarantee our safety are of the utmost importance, and we need to make sure that we’re protecting them,” Howd said.
According to documents on the Basic Rights Oregon website, Oregon’s 2007 Equality Act protects transgender people from discrimination. Lambda Legal, an equality rights legal group, explains in detail on their website how the protections for gender identity and sexual orientation cover all employment, public accommodations including businesses open to the public and public schooling including charter schools, among others.
Oregon Law ORS 659.850 defines discrimination as “any act that unreasonably differentiates treatment, intended or unintended, or any act that is fair in form but discriminatory in operation, either of which is based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age or disability.”