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MSU Director APOLOGIZES for Calling All-Gender Bathrooms “Risky”

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

“Navigating restrooms labeled ‘women only’ or ‘men only’ can be exclusionary and stressful experience.”

From MSU Today

Author: Jack Carlson

An MSU associate dean apologizes for “risky” comments against all-gender bathrooms, writing an article titled “Inclusive Environments” applauding such bathrooms in MSU Today.

Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension and senior Associate Dean of outreach and engagement, authored a piece in MSU Today in December praising his MSU Extension conference. It was hosted in October 2019.

He wrote of its inclusion, highlighting the all-gender bathrooms and encouraging attendees to use preferred pronouns.

Signs in the bathrooms read, “Navigating restrooms labeled ‘women only’ or ‘men only’ can be exclusionary and stressful experience.”

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They further stated, “while this may be a new experience for you it is important to understand that everyone deserves to use the facilities in peace- without being questioned.”

In an email he sent prior to the event, which addressed the requested bathroom format and conference purpose, Dwyer apologized for having “inaccurately and unintentionally indicated that gender-inclusive bathrooms are risky.”

“What is risky,” Dwyer went on to explain, “is disrespecting our gender non-conforming, among other things, not providing a safe space.”

One of the leading goals of the conference was to promote “diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Before discussing his apology, Dwyer’s article lamented the absence of all-gender bathrooms, saying “it is important to not perpetuate an environment that can be exclusionary, stressful and even dangerous for those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming.”

At the event, signs posted at bathrooms read “In this bathroom, everyone deserves to stay when they have to go.”

Moreover, Dwyer commended his program’s request that speakers inform the audience of their preferred pronouns, in the hope that others would do the same.

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Dwyer also wrote that the responses to a story on his event by UpNorthLive, “ranged from incredibly supportive to devastatingly negative,” though he did not elaborate or provide any of the comments to substantiate his claim of unsupportive feedback.

Additionally, he commented that his friends “will correct me without judgement.” He reminded readers that he would be prepared to issue another apology if he happened to make a similar mistake again.

Dwyer went on to close his piece by applauding how some staff’s dissatisfaction regarding all-gender bathrooms and reluctance to “use pronouns intentionally,” indicates they were uncomfortable.

“Being uncomfortable,” Dwyer continued, “is a sign of growth.” In doing so, important conversations that work to further inclusivity can be made.

“It seems the least we can do,” Dwyer added.

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