Statement from the Nightshade Collective
We are queer and trans. Our existence clashes against the gender binary, and its crushing grip which polices our bodies and threatens our safety. The ways that we live—relate to one another, dress, gesture, and dream—are all in inherent subversion to that binary, which seeks to classify, erase, separate, and homogenize us. In turn, we fight for spaces free from gendered expectations, places where we can function and thrive in peace.
These demands are no different than what any person or creature desires: We wish to be ourselves without falling victim to demonization, violence, or death.
Nightshade stands in solidarity with the autonomous actors freeing the University of Pittsburgh’s bathrooms from the gender binary. For years students have been petitioning Pitt to institute consistent and widespread all gender bathrooms. But we lost trust in the University’s ability to protect us long ago—let’s not forget when they allowed Milo on campus, or condoned Pitt police officers beating student protesters (meanwhile continuing to place students in years of crippling student debt), or the countless occurrences where they have neglected acts of sexual and gendered violence on campus. The University seeks to serve itself. Thus what is needed must be taken—not asked for.
All gender bathrooms are needed. Places so overtly reserved for “men” and “women” are unsafe for those of us who do not explicitly pass, or do not identify as such. We take pride in the glorious uniqueness of our bodies, our gender expression and our personal identities. We do not wish to conform to the boring roles broader society assigns to ”men” and “women,” and we see how that order directly upholds patriarchy.
The requirement to assimilate in order to fulfill the basic need of using a public restroom denies us the ability to be safely visible, hence continuing this process of erasure and setting the stage for increased gendered violence on campus. While recent “diversity” measures push professors to ask students for their pronouns, in denying the proposals for all gender bathrooms, Pitt holds the needs of its trans*queer students hostage, and is still an active agent forcing those students to conform to gendered expectations.
We will not be fooled – Pitt is a blatant and knowing enemy in our fight for trans-liberation.
Nightshade beckons the University to respond: Why are you, University officials, holding this basic need of your trans*queer students hostage?
What a shit show it would become if you were denied safe access to bathrooms…
Nightshade supports the autonomous actors taking matters of trans-liberation into their own hands. We should not need to assimilate to normative gender presentations in order to use the bathroom, and we stand against anyone who forces that upon us.
Gender is dead! Trans-queer liberation, not assimilation! All power to the imagination!
The Nightshade Collective