The University of Illinois lags behind in resources available to the transgender community in comparison to other schools within the Big Ten, specifically in regard to health care, gender-neutral housing and gender-neutral bathrooms, said Stephanie Skora, president of the Campus Union for Trans* Equality and Support and a transwoman. To help counter this, Illinois student senator Justin Ostrowski, senior in LAS, submitted a resolution to the senate asking for its support to create a more trans-inclusive campus. One of the main goals CUT*ES has is to push administration to pay attention to the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, as many buildings don’t have them, Ostrowski said. Skora hopes to submit a ballot for the spring semester’s student referenda requesting more inclusive bathrooms. If it passes, she said the student body will show administrators that this is an issue they support.
CUT*ES plans to push the administration this year to establish policy requiring gender-neutral bathrooms to be built when any building undergoes significant construction, Skora said. CUT*ES recently created a bathroom committee to help try and get access to blueprints and construction documents to make an overall list of where bathrooms are and where they are lacking. Skora said there are more than 100 bathrooms on campus that are single-stalled locking bathrooms “with a gender needlessly assigned to them.” Apparently, the needs of women to be able to toilet in piece away from male-bodied people is not relevant to Skora.
Skora attests that health care for transgender people is very expensive, whether it be hormones or a gender confirmation surgery. The expense prohibits a lot of trans-people from receiving appropriate medical care, making it a class-based issue in the community, Skora said. Skora also added that many health care professionals are not necessarily trained in trans issues. Both Ostrowski and Skora serve as members of the University’s student insurance advisory committee and are investigating the possibility of securing trans-inclusive healthcare for the Fall 2014 semester.