I don't know about you, but if there is an insanely long line to use the women's restroom -- and there always is -- I will just jump in the men's room to do my business. It never seems like a big deal to me, as long as it is a single stall. But the right to use the bathroom of your choice is making big headlines recently.
In a groundbreaking decision last week, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a transgender female student was allowed to use the girls' bathroom of her elementary school. This is the first time a state's highest-level judicial branch ruled on gender identity and equal opportunities in public spaces. Welcome to 2014.
As the case states, Nicole Maines, now 16 years old, was told to use a communal bathroom by the grandparent of another child while she was attending elementary school as a fourth grader. According to the report, Maines, who was born Wyatt, began identifying herself as a female when she was as young as two. Her parents worked with the school system, who acknowledged Maines as a "she" and were surprisingly accommodating.
The school gave Maines, who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria -- a finding that identifies people who see themselves as the opposite gender -- the ability to use the girls' restroom. They also started calling her Nicole.
But the school's progress was stalled when a boy her age started making waves that if Nicole was allowed to use the girls' room, so was he. Apparently, this was at the insistence of his grandfather. So the school freaked out a bit and told Nicole that she had to use the unisex teacher's bathroom.
Last week's ruling stated that equal rights are equal rights, no matter what gender a person identifies with, and Maine's decision could be a model for other states.
Speaking of other states, transgender opportunities recently hit the news right here in our own backyard. Earlier last month, the University of Houston -- Downtown Student Government Association unanimously passed a bill to turn several of the campus's gender-specific bathrooms into gender-neutral and family restrooms. This is a first for a college in Texas. More »