Gender Neutral Restrooms: Where They Are And Why They’re Important

Posted by Bridget Kunz on February 17, 2016

Inclusion for all individuals regardless of their identifying characteristics sounds great on paper, but how does it transition from idea to reality? Through action. Action is exactly what student activists and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with Physical Facilities, have taken towards ensuring that students of all gender identities and expressions have a safe space to use a restroom.

There is currently at least one Gender Neutral Restroom in 18 buildings from across main campus to the University Downtown Center, with 48 in total. Here's the scoop on where they are located and what students have to say about them.

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What are Gender Neutral Restrooms and who can use them?

Gender Neutral Restrooms are restrooms designated for use by anyone. Signs are located outside of the restrooms, indicating that "anyone can use this restroom, regardless of gender identity or expression." Whether you identify as heterosexual, as a member of the LGBTQ community, or are unsure, you can use any of these restrooms. 

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Where can Gender Neutral Restrooms be found?

They are located in a variety of facilities, from the University Union to Glenn G. Bartle Library, and more. Specific locations are listed on the Multicultural Resource Center's "Resources" page

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Some individuals may be thinking, "Why do these matter?" "Does anyone even use them?" "How are they a movement towards inclusion?" Well, we asked current students these questions and here is what they had to say:

Rosana Ng, junior psychology major

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"Gender Neutral Restrooms are good for privacy, so that anyone can feel comfortable with who they are and how they identify." 

Anna Vattana, senior biology major

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"It's really awesome that we are making people feel more comfortable with themselves. These restrooms, along with Gender Neutral Housing, are a great way to let everyone be who they are. I'm proud of our school for being so proactive in helping support students' identities." 

Duncan McInnes, junior graphic design and spanish major

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"I personally know several students that don't fall into the gender binary, so it's a great step forward towards equality to have Gender Neutral Restrooms as an option. I think, looking ahead, it would be even better to have more of them, so individuals don't have to go out of their way to find them." 

Leslie Li, junior chemistry major

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"They are certainly a step in the right direction towards becoming a more inclusive campus community."

Donald Lodge, recent graduate (sixth from the left)

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"Hearing that Binghamton now has Gender Neutral Restrooms excites me, not only as a Binghamton University alum, but as a former Rainbow Pride Union director. Seeing an unnecessarily gendered bathroom in any public space is grating. I remember how me and a few others from Rainbow Pride Union, including the current director, Nicole Perlman, started a campus-wide dialogue on the importance of trans issues. We partnered with the Equality Project to reach out to several groups and start advocating for Gender Neutral Restrooms." 

Donald is a member of the Class of 2014, graduating with a BA in political science and in Chinese studies. He is currently a policy analyst for the University of Rochester and a legislative assistant for the City of Rochester.

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