Fighting Back Against Hate Crime

Recently a hate crime that occurred here at Gallaudet University that shook the campus in monumental waves. The gender-neutral bathroom signs were taken down, and it is not the first time this had happened. It has happened five times already. The gender-neutral bathroom signs is a sigh of relief (no pun intended) for the campus community, allowing the liberation of going to the bathroom in peace. The signs were a huge step taken to include diversity and to exemplify Gallaudet community’s support for all individuals. The gender-neutral bathroom are great markers of acceptance of all individuals.

Not only transgender or non-binary people use the gender-neutral bathrooms, but it is also has proven to be a safe haven for others. For instance, people who have social anxieties, folks who are afraid that other people will judge them when using the restroom, and the list continues. It is an excellent alternative to use a gender-neutral bathroom without others looking at you. You can use the gender-neutral bathroom without anybody trying to bully you or taunt you. I personally think it is a great resource, and it is a place where everybody can do their businesses without being harassed. Safety in all aspects is vital for EVERYONE. This is especially pivotal for the transgender community considering where the hate crimes of the Trans community have started to rise.

When the signs were pulled down; the community reacted, and we decided to work together as a community to ensure that we care and show respect for each other by combating the removal of the signs. Then, the signs were put up again, but again, the signs have been taken down. Britton Auman, a student here at Gallaudet, made a vlog, which was posted on social media, about these hate crimes. Ze felt that the Gallaudet University administration failed to take the gender-neutral bathroom signage theft seriously compared to the College Hall graffiti incident last year where the administrators immediately took serious actions. Also, Ze noticed that the bathroom signage for the gender-neutral bathrooms were not drilled permanently to the walls in comparison to the men/women bathroom signs. The administration should step up and notice that the removal of the signs is a hate crime, and to take these hate crimes seriously. For now, the gender-neutral bathroom signage has been put up on a temporary paper posters saying, “Gender Neutral Bathroom” and “All Bodies Are Welcome.”

However, bathroom signage are not the only reports of hate crime. Recently the flyers for an LGTBQA affiliated event, Colorfest, were taken down from the bulletin boards at SAC and the community didn’t notice it until the Colorfest Co-Chairperson, Marissa Rivera, was on Facebook live stating that it is not acceptable to have these actions happen. Other flyers related to various events on campus remained on the board. This is also a hate crime as well! This is unacceptable! Why would the individual would do a thing? The Colorfest committee fought back and reposted the flyers stating, “These actions will not hold back the Colorfest event. If a flyer is taken down, we will keep putting them back up.” We are now living in fear, and Gallaudet should be a safe space for everyone… But, with the hate crimes that have occurred made Gallaudet campus all shaken up with fear.

Both gender-neutral bathroom signage and the Colorfest signs theft are hate crimes. It is time for the administration to take serious actions against these situations, and keep a close eye on noticing the patterns of the hate crimes. We will not let these actions of theft and hate crimes drag us, as a community, down and we will fight back. Gallaudet University is a diverse campus, and we are striving to keep the diversity alive and unite with one another.

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