Last week, my university issued a memorandum announcing all-gender restrooms around campus. This shook University Twitter in a delightful way, and I was grinning ear to ear.
Grinning ear to ear until Monday morning when I attended my Asian History class and my professor was ranting against the aforementioned all-gender restroom memo, to my dismay. Apparently, her heteronormativity took offense to the university’s move to be inclusive. She even told the class, “I did not do anything to offend those LGBT people, but why this…this is…” Then she trailed off and shook her head, disgusted and worried about the ridiculous what-ifs she formulated in her head that a) “gay people can now freely have sex in those restrooms since it’s open for all,” b) “hetero cis women will now be deprived of their privacy,” c) “lesbians will now unleash all manner of eroticism now that nothing is censored anymore and everyone’s happy.” Bullshit. She was shaking her head the entire time, unable to believe the realness of it all. Her heteronormative, moralistic, prejudiced little bubble was shook—but not in a pleasant way.
I was so sorry to watch my respect for her go down the drain. It is one thing to have your own set of values and opinions, but it is another (and a rather out of place one at that) to flagrantly disregard the rights of other human beings just because your faith/values are challenged. She even tried to steer the conversation into “hearing the gays and lesbians out,” proceeding to ask everyone in class if there were any LGBT people present. This made my classmates scoff and look at each other maliciously (a constant in my culture!), prompting no one in particular to “come out of the closet already and be a spokesperson of the community.” Bollocks. I walked out of the classroom and went straight to the restroom to calm my nerves, I had to literally run cold water on my wrists for five minutes, it was that stressful.
A friend later asked me why I did not speak up. I told her it wasn’t my place to do that and besides, respect for everyone regardless of gender (or whatever made-up, mythical societal description) should come, must come, naturally. I can never reconcile myself with people—especially heterosexual people who have it easy—who demand explanations about something innate and intimate. My LGBTQ+ people should never be shamed for simply existing, nor be ashamed for simply being. ♦