WEATHER WATCH
Students react to 'all gender' restrooms on CCU campus
One of the many all gender restrooms on Coastal Carolina University's campus (Erin MacPherson/ WPDE)

Wednesday, people in the transgender community will testify against a bill that would prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

The hearing is being held in Columbia.

North Carolina passed a similar law, and it impacts public colleges and universities as well as public venues and government buildings.

The bill proposed in South Carolina just mentions schools, but doesn't specify if it would impact colleges and universities.

Dr. Debbie Conner, Vice President of Campus Life and Student Engagement at Coastal Carolina University, said it doesn't appear to apply to colleges, just municipalities and political subdivisions.

Last year, Coastal Carolina University transitioned its single-stall bathrooms to 'all gender' restrooms.

Dr. Conner released a statement regarding the change.

"In 2015, CCU transitioned single-stall bathrooms on campus to become 'all gender' restrooms. All of these restrooms are also handicap accessible, and many also have showers, which is part of LEED certification in CCU's new buildings. In many places, you may see them labeled as 'family restrooms' and/or 'accessible restrooms.' It made sense for our campus with an increased number of students needing accessible restrooms that this designation would be useful in understanding that anyone can use these restrooms. The restrooms are not designated for any particular group and have no relation to the current bill being considered. We see these restrooms as both family and student friendly."

ABC 15 News spoke with students at Coastal Carolina University, and they were in favor of these non-gender specific restrooms.

"I think that anybody should use any bathroom. On a whole, I think that it's important that everyone should have equal rights, specifically with the transgender community, that you have equal rights to use any bathroom whether they were a man turned into a woman or vice versa, they should be able to use any bathroom," said Calvin Joyner, CCU junior.

Joyner said he is a part of the gay community and feels very strongly about equality for everyone.

"Whether it be your race, your gender, your creed, equality is important, and just because someone is different than you doesn't mean you have to judge them and treat them differently," said Joyner.

A transgender woman at Coastal Carolina University said CCU is very accepting.

"I found at Coastal people don't really care, not in a bad way. They're nonchalant if you dress a certain way or if you come out as a certain gender. They're just fine with it," said Rose.

Rose said the 'all gender' restrooms are great, but there needs to be more.

"For instance, one place I frequently go, I have to go upstairs for the gender neutral one and in a place where I have a lot of my classes there is no gender neutral. When I am in girl mode, so to speak, I just go to the women's," said Rose.

Rose said the proposed bill is misguided.

"(State Senator) Lee Bright and every other person that came out with a bill like this is using religious freedom or men raping women as an excuse to hate on the LGBTQ people. In the case of this bill, specifically trans women," said Rose.

Rose said she wanted to go to the hearing in Columbia Wednesday, but doesn't have a way there.

She said, following the meeting, the State House lawn will be full of people protesting from the transgender community.

ABC 15 News also reached out to Horry Georgetown Technical College and Mary Eaddy, HGTC spokeswoman, said the proposed bill would not have much impact on them either since they also have non-gender specific restrooms.

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