“All Gender Bathroom” initiative at Boğaziçi University yields its initial successful outcome!
Source: Ekin Keser, “BOĞAZİÇİ ÜNİVERSİTESİ’NDE CİNSİYETSİZ TUVALET PROJESİ SONUÇ VERDİ” (“All gender bathroom initiative achieves success at Boğaziçi University”), GZone, 11 February 2016, http://gzone.com.tr/bogazici-universitesinde-cinsiyetsiz-tuvalet-projesi-sonuc-verdi/
We first heard about this campaign in a press release on November 19, 2014, World Toilet Day. Signatures were collected, petitions were submitted, public forums were organized. Today, we talked to Beren Azizi and Görkem Ulumeriç of BÜ [Boğaziçi University – Trans.] LGBTI Studies Association about the “All Gender Bathroom” campaign, which officially yielded its initial successful outcome.
Could you start by telling how this idea came about, how you got started and when you first took action?
Beren Azizi: This idea emerged from analyses of the “violation of rights” that result from “deprivation.” Education is a human right, because everyone is equal; however in practice we see that things do not really work that way. LGBTI+ students drop out of their studies, do not come to school, they are depressed or “unsuccessful.” When you start asking what happened and what went wrong, you realize that places, where a fundamental right such as education is offered, are in fact filled with challenges and obstacles for the LGBTI+’s. Toilets, as we see from numerous scientific studies around the world, are one of those obstacles. Based on the feedback we received from LGBTI+ students, we realized that “All Gender Bathroom” is a right and we should demand it.
We took the first step on November 19, 2014, World Toilet Day. We sent out a press release. Of course, mental framework for this idea was in place long ago, in fact years ago.
Görkem Ulumeriç: LGBTI+ can face challenges while using binary gender bathrooms, changing rooms and dorm rooms. They either use the bathrooms while everyone is in class or never at all. We bring up such issues during the meetings of the LGBTI club and make it an active topic of discussion on campus. We organized forums, prepared banners, made press releases, wrote many pieces to the university’s Facebook groups. We submitted a petition with 400 signatures. The president’s office evaluated these inquiries and all gender bathrooms were already in place at the beginning of this semester.