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All are welcome! La Sallians cheer inclusive restrooms on campus

by Gaby Agbulos

THE Philippines is known to be a conservative country. It does not have same sex marriage or access to contraceptives like the morning after pill. Even the anti-discrimination SOGIESC bill is facing an uphill climb in the legislature. 

Despite all these, the fight for progressiveness and inclusivity continues. Among those pushing for these are student leaders of De La Salle University in Manila, who cheered the establishment of gender-neutral or inclusive restrooms in the school premises. 

A welcoming environment

DLSU’s University Student Government, in announcing the “restrooms for everyone,” said their availability “manifests the commitment of the University to valuing the safety and well-being of the student body.” 

“It is a crucial step for increasing access to safer facilities that are integral to the daily lives of students,” the USG said. 

It said that with the provision of these bathrooms that people of all genders can use, it is optimistic that the La Sallian community is creating a more welcoming and accepting environment for students. 

“Restrooms that anyone can use help promote inclusivity and acceptance for all students. Making these comfort rooms available to all students can have a positive impact on their campus life,” it said. 

The single occupancy gender-neutral restrooms became available in different parts of the campus on February 6. There are 22 in all located in the Yuchengo Hall and the Henry Sy Sr. Hall. 

How the idea was born

The idea for the inclusive restrooms was formulated last year after a call from genderfluid students to have an inclusive, safe space for them to be able to do their business. Aside from this, the restrooms also serve as a bathroom for people with disabilities. This is why students say these truly live up to their name of being inclusive. 

Rosch, a 3rd Year La Sallian, said this was implemented as one of the platforms of the student government. 

“I like the idea. More than like. I love it,” Rosch said. 

“As someone who’s seen people who’ve been hesitant to go into bathrooms of two different genders, it’s nice to see that in these inclusive spaces, they can truly be themselves and have that sense that they’re cared for and supported by many,” she added.  

Positive response 

Another student, Mara, said she has not heard any negative comments about the inclusive restrooms since these became available. 

“For a progressive university, it was such a great initiative for the student government in their aim to continue fighting for a more inclusive community. The Facilities Management Office was very supportive of this initiative, and was so happy that they can continue to help the student leaders in making [these] projects come to life,” she said.

Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community are also happy that they finally have a space where they can go to the bathroom without feeling judged by others. 


A safe space

Though Mitch, a gender non-conforming student at DLSU, was at first unaware of these bathrooms, they were happy to learn about their existence. 

“I think it’s a good initiative because I think if I put myself in the shoes of trans or nonbinary people, it would help them feel safe,” Mitch said. 

“If we look at the state of the community now, where LGBT people are not yet accepted in a conservative country, the gender-neutral bathrooms are a good project to make them feel safe,” they added. 

Many hope that the effort of an institution as well-known as La Salle to create a safe space for students will not go unnoticed. 

Rosch said she would like to see the availability of safe spaces to extend to more public areas. 

Who knows? Maybe in the future, there will be more safe spaces for queer people everywhere in the Philippines. 

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