Annotated BiAnalysis of “Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms”bliography: The Refugee Crisis

Source Check #2

Alipui, Nicholas, and Nicole Gerke. “The Refugee Cris

  Analysis of “Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms”

For many people, the idea of same sex bathrooms seems taboo or too farfetched. In Jeannie Suk’s article “Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms?” she provides arguments and information about the state of gender-neutral bathrooms. Suk a professor at Harvard Law School dives into the issues that are delaying the progressive idea of gender-neutral bathrooms, and to bring awareness to a social institution where gender separation is the norm. Suk’s argument focuses on an important topic, especially for the transgender community and others who do not follow the binary gender norms because it would allow them to enter a restroom that is not specifically for a male or female. Additional research should be done in this field to find out the implications of gender-neutral bathrooms and the effects on society.

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The article begins with Suk explaining how she was taking the bar exam to become a lawyer and during the test she had to use the bathroom. The line outside the woman’s restroom was enormous, so she decided to use the men’s restroom (which was considerably shorter) to have a fair chance on the test. She simply walked in, used one of the stalls, and returned to testing. This small yet controversial decision could have been the deciding factor in her passing or failing the exam. She then explains how there is an active debate surrounding which bathrooms people can and cannot use. Ad campaigns are portraying gender-neutral bathrooms as a place for sexual predators to prey. Another ad showed an older man following a young lady into a bathroom. Although these actions should be taken seriously, there are groups of people who are negatively affected such as transgender/nonbinary people. She then notes how ideology during the Victorian Era shaped the way for gender segregated environments. Those 150-year-old ideas are still used today regarding restrooms. Lastly, she explains how men and women are supposed to function together in restaurants, on public transportation, and in the workplace. If people are expected to cooperate with each other in those types of places, why not in the restroom as well.  She knows that change cannot happen overnight, so for now gender-segregation within restrooms will continue to be the norm.

Suk provides necessary information about the Victorian Era that helps the reader understand how out dated sex-segregated bathrooms are. She mentions during this time period women were supposed to be protected from the dangers of the world. Of these dangers is the threat of males. During the Victorian Era the growth of women’s status can be directly correlated to the idea that women should be protected from the dangers of men. This idea of men being a danger to woman can be illustrated by the ad propaganda used to fight against unsegregated bathrooms. Furthermore, an ad illustrated the threat of an older man following a younger woman into the restroom. This ad creates an emotional response, so the public will view unsegregated bathrooms as negative. Although many of these threats and concerns need to be addressed, delaying the progression of gender-neutral bathrooms only hurts many of the groups of people who need it. For instance, a person who does not classify as a male or female will benefit due to the choice in which bathroom they can enter. In today’s world both men and woman should be cautious of anyone in any situation, but past ideology should not be used to pave the way for the future.

Throughout the article Suk has a bias tone towards unsegregated bathrooms. At the beginning of the article Suk says, “the much longer wait for women than men during an all-important test for entry to the legal profession was obviously unfair” (Suk 1). From the start she is bringing in a personal feeling of what she believes to be unfair. Although not having equal time on a test may seem that way, including a personal thought may diminish the validity of the entire article. From beginning to end, the reader can tell that Suk feels strongly about the progress of unsegregated bathrooms. Towards the end of the article Suk includes a comment from President Trump saying, “I don’t want to think about the disgusting things Hillary Clinton was doing in the bathroom.” Most people can agree that things done in a bathroom are generally private and uncomfortable to express to others. Therefore, I do not see how this statement was attacking or denying the progression for gender-neutral bathrooms.

Suk who is a Professor at Harvard Law School, uses her knowledge of history and law to support many of her claims. As stated in the second paragraph Suk says, “A recently proposed Indiana law would make it a crime for a person to enter a single-sex public restroom…” (Suk 1). Although many states have not passed this law, this directly affects the transgender community along with other nonbinary persons in the states who have passed this law. She also adds how the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex-marriages which brings many of the issues surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community to the forefront. In addition, Suk references “The Houston ordinance” which makes it illegal to discriminate people in employment and housing on the basis sex, race, religion, and gender identity. This is important because it will allow people to have an equal chance at an opportunity. Some other notable cases that Suk uses to strengthen her arguments is the 1873 Supreme Court holding in Bardwell v Illinois, Katz v United States, and Lawrence v Texas (2003). To sum up, Suk uses her background in law to reinforce many of her claims in the article.

Suk includes an interesting statement saying, “I’m not aware of reliable statistics that would indicate that public bathrooms are more sexually dangerous than any other places…” (Suk 3). In my opinion, this statement is weak since she does not give a clear answer to the issue. She concludes her thought by saying, “though the history of bathroom sex does associate the space with sexual conduct.” She includes what the past associates with sexual conduct rather than providing recent data on the topic. Instead of including this I believe she should have omitted the statement or should have done more research to strengthen the argument that public restrooms are just as dangerous or less of a threat than any other public space.

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Throughout the article, Suk is informing the reader about gender-neutral bathrooms along with arguments to support those claims. At the end of the article she includes a paragraph about how segregated bathrooms cannot become gender-neutral overnight. She supports this by saying, “… municipal, state, and federal legal codes, many with origins in the nineteenth century, mandate that there be separate facilities for each sex, in business and places of work” (Suk 4). Gender neutrality when it comes to restrooms will be in the limelight for many years to come. With the emergence of the LGBTQIA+ community the necessity of unsegregated bathrooms will continue to be an issue until legislation says otherwise. Finally, Suk concludes with, “Old ideology, in the meantime, stays alive in mundane legal regulation that resists more thorough change and determines our plumbing.” Suk wraps the article up by reverting to the Victorian Notion, and how aged ideas will continue to rule over society.

Gender neutrality regarding restrooms is and will continue to be an issue until society can accept unsegregated bathrooms. Groups of people such as the LGBTQIA+ community, nonbinary people, etc. must deal with this issue daily. Extensive research should be conducted to see the pros and cons of gender-neutral restrooms and how it will affect society. Suk details why gender-neutral bathrooms started in the first place and shows the audience her experience with entering the opposite sex’s designated restroom. She also includes many laws, supreme court cases, and ordinances to support many of her claims. On the other hand, there are some concerns within the article such as, including a feeling which may or may not affect the validity of her stance. Also, she does not provide specific data on gender-neutral bathrooms regarding the safety of the public space. In the end, it is up to the reader to decide whether gender neutrality should be implemented. Although it is hard for any one person to make a difference, supporting a group that is advocating for gender-neutrality will ultimately be the driving force in upcoming legislation.

Works Cited

  • Suk, Jeannie. “Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms?” The New Yorker, 25 Jan. 2016.


is and the Rights of Children:

Perspectives on Community‐Based Resettlement Programs.” New Directions for Child

& Adolescent Development, vol. 2018, no. 159, Spring 2018, pp. 1-4. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/cad.20228.

Child refugees are facing difficulties finding refuge, receiving proper nurture, and adapting to the new country’s culture and language. However, international agencies and local sectors have developed programs to attack these problems. In the journal The Refugee Crisis and the Rights of Children: Perspectives on Community‐Based Resettlement Programs, written by the Director of Programmes for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Nicholas Alipui, and the Project Coordinator of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Nicole Gerke, the authors provide readers with a description of the negative circumstances refugee children live in. The journal states that due to conflicts, danger, and oppression within their country, refugee children escape their country in search of protection from another country (Alipui and Gerke 1). However, governments are blocking access into the country to refugees and migrants, hesitating to officially grant the title of refugee to refugees in transit countries, and setting back the official refugee status verification (1). These actions present negative effects on attempts to receive assistance and education (1). The number of refugee children significantly rose between 2005 and 2015 by more than 4 million and is most likely to continue to increase (1). As a result, the number of unaccompanied refugee adolescents increases as well. The U.S. child protection services are unable to fully assist unaccompanied refugee children due to a lack of funding (1-2). In fact, according to Alipui and Gerke, the “majority of countries currently leading refugee resettlement programs are not developed countries” (2). In other words, developing countries such as Turkey and Lebanon are responsible for hosting the most number of refugees. As a result, the resources necessary to educate child refugees and their own children are stretched thin (2). Furthermore, these countries have more children who are refugees than those who are not. This fact reveals the true scope of the refugee crisis and the rising numbers of children seeking protection. Most refugees settle in urban areas, therefore, these cities are unprepared for the increase of population due to a large number of refugees in such a short time (2). Furthermore, urban refugees, despite living near educational and medical institutions, face the language barrier and cultural disparities which cause them to struggle to find jobs or proper education (2). Children are more susceptible to toxic stress than adults, therefore an appropriate, stable nurturing environment is necessary for their mental and physical growth (3). To ensure that child refugees are receiving the care necessary for proper development, programs have been built to provide children with security, education, health services, and stimulation. ECD Interventions, a program built by UN Agencies, evaluates what child refugees vitally need and provide them with appropriate care to maintain and improve the children’s well-being (3). ECD Interventions supplies children with water safe to drink and a stable environment to ensure their good health, safety, and nutrition. Child Friendly Spaces, a program created by UNICEF, provides emotional and mental support as well as education for child refugees (3). UNICEF distributes ECD Kits, which includes educational material, entertainment, and psychosocial items, to refugee children from newborns to kids of age 6 in order to lessen emotional and mental strain and build problem-solving skills among them (4). These kits have been shown to improve the children’s muscular movement and their ability to read and understand numbers. We Love Reading (WLR) is a program built by a local nonprofit organization to promote reading to refugee kids (4). This inexpensive, educational yet entertaining program inspired kids to read and write while reducing stress, peer pressure, and improving their behavior. Adult refugees participate in the WLR program to help children while reducing their own stress and uneasiness as well (4). As parents emotionally or mentally suffer, it is likely that their children will not receive proper nurture. Therefore, educational and health programs have been built to ensure child refugees get the care they need, especially if they are seeking refuge alone (4). These efforts aim to help refugee children adapt to their new country and be better integrated into its system. This journal is written by two authors who work for UNICEF and WFP and are experts on children and refugees. The journal is written in a neutral tone without bias and was recently published in Spring 2018. This journal provides crucial details about how refugee adolescents are disproportionately affected by the refugee crisis, such as its negative impact on children’s emotional and mental development. It also gives information about how local organizations and international agencies are working to help provide care, education, and proper services for child refugees, including ECD Interventions, a program created to help refugee children stay healthy, Child Friendly Spaces, a program designed to provide mental health services for the children, distribution of ECD kits, or educational kits for children, and the WLR, a program designed to promote reading in child refugees.

Patrick, Stewart M. “The World Has Lost the Will to Deal With the Worst Refugee Crisis Since

World War II.” World Politics Review (Selective Content), July 2019, pp. 1-4. EBSCOhost,

In the article “The World Has Lost the Will to Deal With the Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II,” the authors provide readers with an overview of the severe refugee situation and different countries’ approach to it  Refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries in efforts to escape harsh living conditions and ill-treatment (1). However, host countries are reluctant to admit refugees due to a lack of funding (2-3). Even as emergency aid increases, the refugee crisis is not being solved. In fact, the number of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), asylum-seekers, stateless people, etc. have increased by 31.8 million in only five years (1). This statistic supports the fact that the refugee crisis is only getting worse. The main cause of displacement and fleeing refugees is violence, such as gang violence or a ruthless government (1). Due to government violence, around 3 million Venezuelans fled to Columbia, which is already preoccupied with its own 7.8 million internally displaced persons. Due to similar reasons, the severe refugee crisis in the Middle East continues to rise (1). Violence, an unstable government, and the scarcity of water led Afghans to flee their country in search of protection in Pakistan and Iran (1). Furthermore, Patrick, the director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program reports, “Conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq have generated more than 10 million IDPs and 7.2 million refugees” (2). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not have adequate financial assistance to effectively help Syrian refugees. Furthermore, some countries in Europe have become hostile towards incoming refugees by going as far as taking legal action against those who try to help them (2). Most of the U.N. originally planned to relieve the refugee crisis by dividing responsibility in helping refugees and improving conditions in their origin countries. However, this plan does not execute successfully as more countries become reluctant about being welcoming hosts (2). These countries focus on short-term relief rather than long-term solutions. Even with organized plans and goals, funding is still insufficient to provide effective aid (2). Approximately $25.2 billion was needed for human welfare in 2018, but 40% of the required funding was still needed (3). As a result, the financial shortage led to ineffective aid and care. The 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees states that countries must allow refugees who seek protection to travel across their borders and cannot deport the refugees back if their country is unsafe to return to (3). However, a few countries neglect to provide asylum for refugees. According to the author, a big reason for a country’s hostility towards refugees is the fear that they may be terrorists (3). Nevertheless, Canada, despite its small size, resettled the most refugees globally (3). The World Bank financially contributed to the crisis with $2 billion to developing countries to help resettle refugees (3-4). This article is written by an author who works for the Council on Foreign Relations and is an expert on multilateral cooperation regarding worldwide problems. The article is written in a neutral tone without bias and was recently published in July 2019. This article provides critical details about the reasons that lead refugees to leave their countries, such as government violence and ill-treatment, and host countries affected by the massive influx of refugees, such as developing countries in the Middle East. It also gives information about how countries and agencies respond to the refugee crisis, such as the World Bank’s large financial contribution and several countries’ violation of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

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