In honor of the 4th Annual Transgendered Day of Remembrance, the University of Southern Maine (USM) sanctioned "gender neutral" public bathrooms during the event.
University announcements were taped over the traditional 'men' and 'women' bathroom designations announcing the change. According to the USM announcement:
"To ensure that there are safe and accessible bathrooms available for all participants of the [University of Southern Maine's] 4th Annual Transgendered Day of Remembrance event, these restrooms have been designated as gender neutral.
"...transgender individuals and those whose gender may not conform with societal stereotypes associated with their birth sex may be subject to harassment or violence when using male- or female-specific restrooms.
"For these reasons, these bathrooms will temporarily be gender neutral. All other bathrooms in the [University of Southern Maine's] Glickman Family Library will remain sex-segregated."
See a large, high-resolution image of the official University announcement at www.cclmaine.org/PDF_Files/GenderNeutralBathroomMaine2007.pdf
The USM library bathrooms are designed to accommodate several people simultaneously, and they have no exterior door locks. Men and women were seen entering and leaving the bathrooms freely, often together as groups, throughout the transgendered event.
The transgendered remembrance day event attracted fifty homosexuals, transgendered men, and transgendered women. It was presented by the homosexual groups Maine Speakout, the Maine Transgendered Network, USM's Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity, Queer Insurgency, and USM's Women and Gender Studies Program.
The event started with hour-long transgendered caucuses which were located throughout the multi-story Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library on USM's Portland campus.
Caucuses included the Female-to-Male Spectrum, Male-to-Female Spectrum, the GenderQueer caucus, and the Friends, Family, and Allies [of the transgendered] caucus.
Those who attended were encouraged to "attend the caucus which most closely aligns with how you identify [yourself]."
The private corporate sponsors of the transgendered event included the Southern Maine Freaky Bean coffee shop and Panera Bread, which has two Southern Maine locations.
Miss Alex Roan, a biological female who believes she is a man, of the Maine Transgendered Network, was the keynote speaker. She railed against the "rigid, binary system of gender identity" which historically has only allowed for the male and female genders.
A lesbian minister from the Northern Lights Metropolitan Community Church in Augusta (ME), Rev. Jennifer Paty, gave the Interfaith Closing to the event.
Paty said that, "many in our [transgendered] community have been harmed by religion" and that, "hatred and fear [have been] fueled by antiquated religious beliefs."
|Rev. Jennifer Paty|
The lesbian minister went on to quote Isaiah 56:1 "Thus says the Lord, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed."
She noted how Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible, the Muslim Koran, the Buddhists, and even the American pagan witch, Skyhawk, all speak to those involved in the "struggle for gender liberation."
She then blessed the homosexuals and transgendered in the small gathering, and prayed that this event would "open the hearts of those who judge."