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  • Quirk NLS

Gender Neutral Washrooms & Law School

The author of this piece has chosen to stay anonymous and they identify as queer. The illustration is by Nysa Kadam (B.A., LL.B (Hons.) Batch of 2027). The in-text illustration is by Nidhi Agrawal (B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) Batch of 2026).

Alt text: The illustration depicts water running from a tap into the sink, transforming the sink into a sort of swimming pool. In the pool, lotuses are spread across, hosting market vendors selling flags representing the LGBTQIA+ community. Several people are depicted lounging in the pool in queer flags, mainly the transgender-affirming flag, the bisexuality-affirming flag and the asexuality-affirming flag. The vendors sell several flags representing the agender flag, umbrella LGBTQ flag, intersex flag, etc. A board is placed towards the left of the illustration with the quote "Safe Spaces." The pool depicts goldfish jumping about. On the sill of the sink, an alarm bell is shown, representing classroom schedules and breaks, accurate to the class schedule.

This piece began as a response to the demand for gender neutral washrooms. Now that we finally have them on campus, it seeks to capture what it means to queer persons.

  • Let us start from the start. First, I am not here for slam poetry. I’ll spare you the theatrics this time. Second, I’m not here to tell you queer folks need protection (you should know that for yourself technically). Third, don’t take offence to anything we say, we’re just very frustrated from not taking offence to your lovely humour every day.

  • So, let’s talk about gender-neutral washrooms. No, I mean let’s seriously talk about it. We’ve already seen the memes once NALSAR decided to follow through with the policy (trust society’s capacity for jokes on queer lives), and now NLS is starting to catch up. So, let’s seriously talk about it. I need you to pay attention.

  • But why? I know, you must be curious. Why break the comfort of gender, why have washrooms for any gender other than the two? First, there is no two. There is no only man or woman. It’s whatever you want it to be. In between, no-spectrum, no-gender, man, binary, woman. Imagine every possibility and believe in it, because that’s the reality.

  • Second, this is not about urinals or no-urinals. This is about safety. Washrooms can carry bad memories for queer folks. Spaces that are only male or only female make it worse. Walking into a space that’s only for men when you’re not comfortable with the category can be a violent experience. Now imagine that on an everyday basis. In between each class. Three classes a day? Twelve classes a week. Now imagine being in there. The persistent presence of discomfort. Fear, for some.

  • Third, it’s about validation. NLS is pretty liberal. The kids love to hate bigotry and are strictly against misogyny, queerphobia, ableism and casteism :) . So why would you stop in theory? Let us have our infrastructure. Let us make our infra queer. Unless of course, you have a problem with that. I’ve been assuming you’re pretty liberal and queer-friendly…

  • Queerness is not all pretty rainbows, anthems, poems and an additional ‘lens’ for your end term papers. It requires you to make those changes, in your vocabulary, your body language and your infrastructure. Don’t talk Butler, Bartlett and Sedgwick to me if you need me to sit you down and tell you why feminism is not queer minus. Don’t be so shocked that queerness is more than Pride Month campaigns and vibes. Don’t be scared of actual change.

  • Let’s talk about the infrastructure. On forms, you’re supposed to mark your sex and then accordingly you get your boys/girls hostel. As if plain flesh is enough to determine what people want. What if I want both? Or none at all? What if I don’t want to wake up in an all men/ women space. What if I hate it in there? This should be as much my space as it is yours. What is the point of studying all of that queer theory if the infra is rigidly binary?

Alt text: The image depicts a bathroom. To the left of the frame, there is a washbasin with estrogen and testosterone medication clearly visible on it, along with a hypodermic needle and a band-aid. To the right of the frame, two people are sitting in a bathtub. The one on the left has a pink flower for a hat, and the one on the right has purple hair and is holding a bouquet of flowers. On the edge of the bathtub are a phone displaying the words 'trans lives matter', a plant, and a razor. Behind them is a round mural with flowers, and the open window is a round porthole through which a flock of birds is seen, flying through a teal-colored sky. A swathe of rainbow colors runs over the edge of the bathtub towards the washbasin, encompassing the bathroom.

  • We get the concern on safety, about making space for people we are used to shunning away into the most private of spaces. But there is no evidence to back the claim against gender neutral washrooms based on a concern for safety. The marking of trans and queer bodies as deviant and labelling them as predators has no scientific basis and cannot be a ground to deny spaces.

  • It’s easy to label every demand as radical, to mark every attempt by queer people to make space for themselves as inconvenient, loud and unnecessary. Guess what? We don’t care. The burden is not on queer folks to make you feel comfortable in your skin. We want what we want. The explanation is just that. Read it again. Louder.

  • See, I will not sit here and pen you a letter on pain. If you’re here at the end of this piece, know that queer lives are not jokes. Listen to us and let us be because we have a history of not being all rainbows and cupcakes when we get angry.

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