Why is that person in my Augsburg College bathroom?

Pay no attention to the red sign. (Augsburg College)

If you walk into an Augsburg College bathroom today and find members of the opposite sex in there, don’t be alarmed.

It’s Gender Neutral Bathroom Day, and the college has made the vast majority of its common-area bathrooms open to both men and women.

The event is part of Augsburg’s annual “Coming Out Week,” which is designed to raise awareness of LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) issues.

Why the emphasis on bathrooms?

Augsburg spokeswoman Stephanie Weiss says:

“Gender-neutral bathroom days help the whole community understand that if you don’t identify explicitly as male or female, it is challenging to attend to basic human needs. Individuals, for instance, who may be transgender could easily be told ‘you can’t come to this bathroom’ if they identify one way but appear to have a body of a more explicit other gender. We have an interest in understanding the lives of those around us, and Gender Neutral Bathroom Day helps people experience what some of their peers may be going through.”