Cup of Joe leads Valley in battle over bathrooms

By: Albie Nicol

With the newfound nice weather, there is a bright swing of progressivism here in the Cedar Valley. Cup of Joe has implemented gender neutral bathrooms instead of their previous gender separated rooms.

“Well, they had been blue and pink with a man and woman on them since before Dawn purchased Cup of Joe, so we just kept them that way because we just kept them that way,” said Leah Franck, the current Cup of Joe manager. “We always encouraged people to use either one because we didn’t care,” said Franck, taking a sip of her coffee, but it’s hard not to care when there are so many exterior forces pushing the issue of transgender bathrooms.

On May 13, President Obama released a “Dear Colleague” letter that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its regulations prevent discrimination based on gender expression/identity.  Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ met May 17 to talk about their opposition on Obama’s letter to U.S. schools. A large family bombarded an unknown Target store and yelled in protest to their gender-free bathrooms.

Like it or not, where people pee has now become a political stance. “We weren’t trying to make a political statement. We were certainly aware of what was going on in North Carolina,” Franck said.

Now that the Cup has declared its bathrooms gender neutral, it begs the question: will other businesses follow suit? “I hope so! I mean, it’s just a bathroom. Everyone has to use one, and so I certainly hope that other places would be OK with that,” Franck said, setting her coffee lightly on the vinyl table. “We’re happy. We’re proud. We’ve had people who’ve noticed in a good way, so yeah, they [the customers] have been happy.”

One small step for the world, one large step for the Cedar Valley.

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