Students and LGBT Center staffers at the University of Utah are auditing the campus’ restrooms.
What’s going on?
The school’s LGBT Resource Center is compiling a list of restrooms on campus that offer privacy — especially for their trans and gender nonconforming students. The name of this project is Bathroom Bonanza.
According to Ella Blanchard, the interim director for the Center, who happens to be trans, the University ‘needs restrooms where you can go to pee without people harassing you.’
‘It’s surprising how often bathrooms are needlessly gendered,’ Blanchard told The Salt Lake Tribune. ‘It’s just not reality. There are more than two genders. To think we can capture it all in two bathrooms, that’s foolish.’
The Tribune reports that the University has about 200 single-stall restrooms on campus. Still, many of these restrooms are still denoted by gender, with either a ‘male’ or ‘female’ stick figure. Only a small handful of these restrooms are marked with a sign reading, ‘UNISEX.’
The Center partnered with the University’s Facilities Management team to perhaps update these signs. Ideally, the Center would like them to be consistent and gender-neutral, perhaps simply reading ‘RESTROOM.’
The Bathroom Bonanza project began in August. It came following a report that a handful of LGBTI groups had to leave the University’s LoveLoud Festival early due to confusion over restrooms.
‘I felt very frustrated and very unsafe,’ Bobbee Trans Mooremon, a trans woman, told the Tribune at the time.
Now, volunteers are compiling a list of what each campus restroom has inside. Urinals? Baby changing stations? Stalls with doors?
As of Wednesday, 12 December, about 60% of the restrooms on campus were reported on. Volunteers will continue to monitor them regularly.
The campus map was updated to include a feature which would allow one to search for single-stall restrooms.
Other schools, however, have not been so accepting of trans and nonbinary students. Back in September, transphobic stickers were found in the gender neutral restrooms of a Canadian university. In August, a whole Oklahoma school district was shut down following threats directed at a trans student for using the girl’s bathroom.