Priorities

All-gender bathrooms in support of gender diversity

All-gender bathrooms in support of gender diversity

by Shruthi Venkatesh February 12 2019, 4:15 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 13 secs

The access to bathrooms seems to be the most visible battle in today’s society for the transgender. People who identify as transgender suffer from discrimination and persecution. Many people have realized and the issue has been taken into action. Transgender people benefit from inclusive restrooms as much as non-binary people do. They might not feel comfortable or safe in a gendered bathroom, even if their right to use it is legally protected.

In 2009, 68% of transgender survey respondents were “denied access to, verbally harassed in, and/or physically assaulted in public bathrooms.” More than half reported resulting injuries to their physical (especially urinary) health, which has been echoed in other studies. The Bloomsberg reports that worldwide, more than 2,100 transgender were killed in apparent hate crimes from 2008 through April 2016. Still, many researches are being performed to know the actual lives lost every year.

University of Technology in Sydney introduces 'all gender' bathrooms (daily mail)

The University of Technology Sydney has come out with such action in implementing “all-gender” bathrooms in support of gender diversity. Their concept is to “make students feel safe and welcome on campus”. According to news.com.au, while asking a member of the UTS Queer Collective, Erin who helped organize the campaign – revealed that the idea came out of a desire to help students avoid experiencing harassment and intimidation for using the bathroom. “What motivated me to be involved in this campaign is that I’m a non-binary student who has been harassed in bathrooms in the past, and I experience social dysphoria as well as other types,” Erin said. “Gender neutral bathrooms are something that has helped with reducing my dysphoria and anxiety about being verbally abused in a bathroom setting.”

Erin specified that these bathrooms will help the transgender and the non-binary students in a number of ways. They believe all-gender bathrooms serve a symbolic purpose. “By having a non-gendered space that people can use, the amount of discomfort and anxiety about being harassed, or just getting odd stares and comments because people question whether or not you belong in that space, will be much less.”

Even though the university had unisex bathrooms, the need for all-gender bathrooms became vital. “The difference between unisex and all gender is really just one of terminology and signage. Generally speaking, transgender people prefer something affirming like all gender or gender neutral to something which tends to be fairly binarising like unisex. The difference in sign can be important because it signals a degree of acceptance and an acknowledgment that gender is not equivalent to assigned sex at birth, and that there are more than 2 genders,” they say.

A statement from UTS reads: Some people within our community don’t identify with traditional binary genders (male and female). Others don’t feel comfortable using a bathroom designated by gender, sometimes because they’ve had a negative experience using a single-gender bathroom due to their appearance or gender identity. All gender bathrooms provide a space that can be used comfortably by everyone.”

It is been told that the All-Gender bathrooms will have an additional symbol and a name tag to acknowledge gender diversity apart from unisex toilets with male and female signs. Similarly, the University of Wisconsin covers a land of 936 acres of almost 400 buildings. Of the 400 buildings on campus, approximately 60 have gender-neutral bathrooms. Typically, these are single-stall, locking facilities and are often far from the unisex bathrooms. Instead, they are found on separate floors, in the basement or in other less accessible spots in a building. The Yale Law School added two new gender-neutral, multi-stall bathrooms in December 2018, bringing to 20 the number of gender-neutral bathroom stalls available to students. Before that, the school had 14 gender-neutral, single-stall units.



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