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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Student org’s transgender advocacy efforts blocked due to poster policy

University officials did not permit the GW Graduate Feminists to post fliers in the Marvin Center bathroom this week, citing the building's post policy. Courtesy of the GW Graduate Feminists

A graduate student organization said their efforts to spread awareness of transgender issues were stymied by a University policy preventing groups from hanging fliers in Marvin Center bathrooms.

The GW Graduate Feminists wanted to hang posters in the building’s bathrooms, but their request was denied because of the University regulations.

The posters read: “Not sure I’m in the right bathroom? I’m not sure you are either, but I’m not going to ask you about it.”

“Bathrooms are often the sites of violence and harassment for transgender people,” the student organization’s community liaison Elizabeth Owens said. “We wanted to be the leader focusing on LGBT street harassment and we came up with the ideas for these fliers.”

The posters were not rejected because of their content, but because no posters from any student organization or outside group are allowed in the building’s bathrooms, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

“While we turned down the request from this group and others who want to post information in the restrooms, GW is committed to the safety and security of all our students including our transgender students,” Sherrard said.

Owens said the group has posted the fliers in designated posting areas and academic buildings, but said posters in bathrooms – especially in the University’s central hub – would have the best impact on the group’s advocacy campaign.

According to a 2008 survey by D.C. Trans Coalition, 68 percent of transgender respondents have been denied access to, verbally harassed in or physically assaulted in a public bathroom.

The poster campaign also would resonate strongly in D.C., Owens said, because of three cases of violence against gays and transgender people in the city that this month that the Metro Police Department is investigating.


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