By Onosholema Ogoigbe, News Team Member
#WeJustNeedToPee is a new poster campaign launched by Out on Campus that, as the posters read, seeks to “express a message of support and solidarity to our trans students, staff and visitors.” The campaign was put forward by Ashley Brooks, the current coordinator for Out on Campus, with help from volunteers and the queer student community.
Posters are put up on the walls of gendered washrooms across campus with a message to the campus community that says, in Brooks’ words, “ . . . trans people exist in these spaces, please don’t endanger them.”
According to Brooks, the campaign was inspired by a similar campaign at Anglia Ruskin University, where he had previously worked as an associate lecturer and senior technician. During that 2016–17 campaign, a picture of the poster went viral on Twitter and the story was carried on Gaystarnews and a number of other LGBTQ+-focused news outlets.
SFU’s own poster campaign was intially intended as part of the program of events for Out on Campus’ International Transgender Day of Visibilty, but according to Brooks, the timeline didn’t quite pan out due to SFU’s facilities blanket rule of not allowing posters in the washroom.
“[OOC] pushed hard for the posters to go up and that was unfortunately helped by an incident that happened at Harbour Centre,” Brooks said. “During Trans Day of Remembrance, there was an event that was happening and unfortunately someone was using one of the men’s washrooms and was harassed in that space.”
“That fed into the work we were already looking to do.”
Brooks told The Peak that the aim of the posters and the campaign is to encourage people to be kinder to each other, educate the campus about the transgender community, and provide a welcoming environment for them. As an accompaniment to the posters, Brooks mentions that there is a communication toolkit presently being developed.
The toolkit, according to Brooks, is essentially “a schedule of social media posts that [will be sent] out to campus partners.” The posts will discuss the posters’ presence, asking people to contact Out on Campus if they see that a poster has been removed or vandalized, and address myths about transgender peoples’ use of gendered washrooms. One of the aims of the toolkit is to create a large enough online presence to potentially persuade SFU to let the posters stay beyond the approved timeline of six months.
According to Brooks, “[There] is a real need to make this a permanent fixture and so anything that anyone can do to use the hashtag to share pictures that they’ve taken of these posters on display will really help to boost the profile of the campaign to make people aware of it.”