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Student diversity sponsors Gender Neutral Bathroom Week

In a world that can see gender as either strictly male or strictly female, it can be especially difficult for people who do not fit the traditional definition/image of male and female to feel safe when using gender specific facilities such as public restrooms. To bring awareness about gender diversity and help end harassment of transgender individuals, the Washington State University Vancouver Student Diversity Team with students, the Gender Diversity Education and Awareness Campaign Committee and the Student Diversity Council is bringing back the annual gender-neutral bathroom week.

Gender-neutral bathroom week is a weeklong event encouraging the use of gender neutral restrooms so that people who identify themselves as transgender, or anybody who does not fit traditional gender descriptions, can feel safer using a public restroom. The event is also intended to raise awareness about other bathroom safety concepts. “We strive to make the bathrooms safe for everyone, parents with young children, people with aging parents and people with disabilities. GNBW is about creating a safer bathroom environment,” said Student Diversity Team member Shain Wright.

This year, two “toilet training” sessions were held to educate people on gender-neutral bathroom week and its purpose. Along with the toilet training sessions, Student Diversity Team member Shain Wright and other “toilet trainers” will be tabling in the quad in attempt to reach out to students on campus about gender diversity.

The official ambassadors of the event will run these sessions and tabling. Their responsibilities include answering questions and educating WSU Vancouver students, staff and faculty about gender-neutral bathrooms. Toilet trainers will be wearing “Toilet Trainer” t-shirts. Students and staff who wish to become toilet trainers are encouraged to attend a toilet training session.

According to Student Diversity, if attending a toilet training session is not an option, students and staff who want to support gender neutral bathroom week are encouraged to spread the word about the event to help raise awareness about gender issues, and educate others about gender diversity. Additionally, Student Diversity is encouraging students and staff to use the gender-neutral bathrooms to show that it is acceptable to use these bathrooms and that one should not be uncomfortable using them. Students and staff are also encouraged to visit and “like” the official gender-neutral bathroom Facebook page, or wear buttons to show support.

Along with the toilet training sessions and a table in the quad, there will be multiple gender-neutral bathrooms that can be used in support of the event. Two bathrooms in every campus building will be converted to gender-neutral bathrooms and staggered. For example, one floor will have a gender-neutral bathroom while the other bathroom remains unchanged.

“The purpose of staggering is to reach as many students as possible. Additionally, we strive to be as considerate as possible and ensure everyone a safe option which is why students will still have the option to use a gender segregated bathroom,” said Wright.

According to Wright, these gender-neutral bathrooms are temporary. However, there are three gender-neutral bathrooms located on campus all year round. The main goal of the gender-neutral bathroom week is not to change facilities or add bathrooms, but to make bathroom use safer for those on campus, as well as to promote gender diversity. Students, faculty and staff who want to be involved with, or have questions about, gender neutral bathroom week are encouraged to contact Wright at shain.wight@email.wsu.edu or visit the official gender-neutral bathroom week Facebook page at facebook.com/GenderNeutralBathroomWeek.

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2 Comments

  1. The funny thing was is that it was only gender neutral in the MEN’S bathroom. So women can use our bathroom but not the other way around. Kind of pointless but whatever.

    • Actually, on the first floor, women’s restrooms were gender neutral and on the second floor, men’s restrooms were gender neutral.