Fall 2012

Western Libraries Create Gender-Neutral Restrooms

This Fall, the EO Office provided guidance to Western Libraries to support their conversion of single-occupancy men’s and women’s restrooms on the sixth floor of Wilson Library into two single-occupancy gender-neutral restrooms.  The creation of these two gender-neutral restrooms helps provide safe and reasonably accessible places for transgender and other gender non-conforming students and employees to use restrooms on campus without fear of embarrassment, harassment or violence.  The effort also responds to the May 2012 Associated Students Board of Directors’ Resolution calling for the expansion of gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

Many transgender and other gender non-conforming individuals experience harassment, assault and at times police intervention when attempting to access gender-specific public restrooms.1 Although such experiences may not occur at Western, they can inform transgender and gender non-conforming people’s feelings of safety and acceptance when using on campus restrooms.  Increasing the availability of gender-neutral restrooms on campus can help alleviate these safety and harassment concerns.  Gender-neutral restrooms likewise allow transgender and other gender non-conforming students and employees to avoid the health risks posed when people do not use restrooms during the day to avoid possible intimidation.

In addition to its work with Western Libraries, the EO Office is working with Facilities Maintenance, the Queer Resource Center and the LGBT Advocacy Council to support the creation of additional gender-neutral restrooms on campus.  Questions about the gender-neutral restrooms in Wilson Library may be directed to Rebecca Marrall, Diversity and Disability Services Librarian.  Other questions about gender-neutral restrooms may be directed to Laura Langley in the EO Office.

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1 Beemyn, Brett, Billy Curtis, Masen Davis & Nancy Jean Tubbs, “Transgender Issues on College Campuses,” New Directions for Student Services, no. 111 (Fall 2005) at 55.

Page Updated 12.05.2012