The University of Arkansas Fort Smith changed their restroom policy after a transgender student says she contacted the U.S. Department of Justice. The student is transitioning from a man to a woman and wants to use the women’s restroom.
“We're just human beings, and we just want the same equal rights as everybody else,” said Jennifer Braly, a UAFS student.
The state recognizes Braly as a woman. She legally changed her name and gender. Physically, though, Braly is a man, waiting for sex change surgery. “I was very passable,” said Braly, “Most people didn’t know my situation being transgender.”
Braly used unisex restrooms on campus before word got out. “When they found out that I was transgender they got uncomfortable with me being in the bathroom with them,” said Braly.
Braly got tired of walking across campus to find a unisex bathroom and contacted the Department of Justice. “I feel like I should be treated equally as a woman because that’s what I’m transitioning into,” said Braly.
The university issued this statement:
“We cannot comment on any specific student. However, UAFS allows transgendered individuals to use its restrooms based on an individual’s gender identity. Previously, UAFS designated gender neutral or unisex bathrooms for transgendered individuals. This change was made in consultation with the UA System’s Office of General Counsel.”
The new policy allows Braly to use the women’s restroom on campus. “I felt it was at least a start, a step forward for this university,” said Braly.
The university says it does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.