In which the New York Daily News runs a lifestyle story about a perfectly ordinary human practice that has been completely, unremarkably common for 99% of human history, and everybody freaks the hell out, because it involves women breastfeeding.
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Auburn folks: A follow-up to last week’s article about the unisex restroom bill at Auburn’s SGA: there’s been a partial victory resolution. The important part, I suppose, and the good part, is that the resolution passed and the University will make efforts to improve access to unisex restrooms across campus. The downside is that for reasons best known to them, a number of SGA senators decided to remove references to queer and trans members of the Auburn community from the resolution before they voted for it. But I am glad to see that the bill has been passed.
A week after the Student Government Association senate tabled a bill that favored the implementation of unisex restrooms in future buildings on campus, the senate revisited the matter Monday, Nov. 10 at its weekly meeting.
The bill passed.
India Napier, senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine, who sponsored the bill, cited unisex bathrooms could benefit a variety of people including families and transgender people in last week’s Nov. 3 meeting.
At this senate meeting, a number of students and faculty showed up to voice their concerns and needs for unisex restrooms.
“This bill will not affect a majority of the student body,” said Elizabeth Beasley, sophomore in forestry. “If anything, for the people it would affect, it is probably very important to actually have these be implemented across campus. Most of the unisex restrooms are not available to the students or if they are, they are extremely out of the way.”
The Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee’s bill will make it University protocol to implement unisex restrooms in newly constructed buildings across the campus.
Although Napier said she is happy the bill finally passed, she expressed concern about her fellow SGA senators after they voted to remove Max Zinner, political director of Spectrum, Auburn’s LGBT community, from the bill.
“I am so happy that it passed and that’s all that matters, but I am disappointed with the modifications that were made,” Napier said. “It was clear that the modifications, such as the lack of the gender identity line and the removal of the individual Max Zinner, really indicates that there is a discomfort in regard to gender identity with senators in SGA and that’s something that they’re going to have to deal with, not me.”
— Ben Ruffin, SGA passes unisex restroom bill
The Auburn Plainsman 10 November 2014.
Auburn folks: Spectrum at Auburn sent out this e-mail asking for folks to take a second to write their SGA Senators to vote in favor of an upcoming resolution to improve access to unisex bathrooms on campus for those who need them. A copy of E-mail follows.
In case you haven’t heard yet there is currently a resolution making it’s way through the SGA senate regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This is something that Spectrum has been working on for a long time and I probably don’t need to tell you why this would be a good thing for Auburn. If you are a student please contact your senators to express support for the resolution. Contact information for all of the senators can be found here:
If you have nothing to do on Monday [10 November] at 7:30, you are also encouraged to come to the SGA senate meeting itself and give your own reasons for supporting this resolution during the open floor time.
Here is a letter template that you can use all you need to do is add your name and college. Of course you are free to edit it however you like:
My name is (insert name here) and I am a student in (insert college here). I am contacting you to express my support for the resolution regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This would help a wide variety of people in our community. This could be anyone from a student in a wheelchair that needs assistance from someone that may not be the same gender as they are to a transgender student who is concerned about being harassed simply for using the restroom. As the Auburn family we must strive to be inclusive. It is also important to note that the way that this resolution is written there is no cost to the student body.
Also, this resolution requests that the interactive campus map be updated with regards to unisex restrooms. Currently the map has a number of inaccuracies and misrepresents the actual number and location of unisex restrooms on campus. I believe this has been brought up with the administration but still nothing has been done. A resolution from the SGA could be the push that is necessary for the map to be updated.
For these reasons, I ask you to vote in favor of the resolution on Monday. Thank you for your time.
In related news, I just sent out more e-mails with the signature “War Eagle” in the last 5 minutes than I have done in the previous 33 years of my life.
Here’s a story from last month over at Science Made Easy, featuring a nice diagram which is (misleadingly, in my view) called the
Tree of Sex.
What makes a creature male or a female? If you mentioned the X and the Y chromosomes, you are correct. I mean, you’re correct if you ignore most forms of life on this planet. If you actually take the time to examine the lifestyles of different life forms, many of the basic assumptions about sex differences don’t hold.
I am going to try and explain this to you, using the Tree of Sex. This family tree traces the ancestry of sex in all of its weird and wonderful manifestations. Those Pie charts are coded according to the method of sex, and I will be explaining what each of those colour codes mean below.
— Faz Alam, What can we learn from the Tree of Sex?
Science Made Easy (3 June 2014).
You should read the whole article, because if you’re not familiar with this stuff, it’s pretty interesting from a scientific standpoint.
That said, I think that the main thing that this kind of diagram shows is that really it’s kind of a silly and obsolete bit of cultural detritus that we go on pretending that bees and mayflies and fig trees even have
female sexes that way that humans or turkeys (kind of, somewhat) have
female sexes. They have sexual reproduction, sure, but when it comes to the idea of the
sexes of individual organisms, what we’re talking about across all these different species are basically very different biological phenomena. They’re basically very different in what they arise from, structurally, and they’re also basically very different in how they function. Trying to wrap them up with human categories for sexual dimorphism is at this point kind of like imagining that the
queen of an anthill goes around wearing a little crown and ordering ant commoners to do her bidding.
Biological sex is not a natural kind, it is the projection of a social metaphor, and often it’s kind of a misleading or an unhelpful one.