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May 23, 2019

Campus Single-User Bathrooms Undergo Change to Gender Neutral Signage


The Center for Identity + Inclusion, where the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs is based.

Courtesy of the Center for Identity + Inclusion

An initiative between the UChicago Office of LGBTQ Student Life and Facilities Services will work to replace current single-user restroom signs with signage that does not use binary male and female characters.

Sixty-two single-user restrooms across campus could have their signage changed by this initiative. According to the co-chairs of the Gender Inclusive Restroom Working Group (GIRWG), Director of LGBTQ Student Life Kendra Malone and Accessibility Specialist Glenn Okazaki, representatives from campus buildings with single-user restrooms will be invited to change their signage according to GIRWG recommendations.

The change in signage will not impact restrooms in dorm buildings. 38 of the 39 houses in the housing system have three gender designations for communal bathrooms: male, female, and all-gender.

Various University offices formed the GIRWG in 2018 in order to discuss current University practices regarding single-user restrooms in public facilities throughout campus. GIRWG membership represents Facilities Services, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life, the Office of the Provost, and other relevant campus offices. The working group also considered feedback from the Office of LGBTQ Student Life’s Student Advisory Council, which has members from the College, graduate divisions, and professional schools.

In a written statement to The Maroon, Malone and Okazaki said the initiative intends to “improve access to, and visibility of, all-gender restrooms across campus using standard and consistent signage.”

“Through a review of national trends and best practices for the institutional streamlining of inclusive facility practices as it relates to transgender/gender non-conforming/non-binary inclusion broadly, and restroom updates specifically, GIRWG identified the updating of our current single-user restroom signs to that of ‘All-Gender Restrooms’ across campus as a priority,” they said.

The timeline for sign updates has yet to be finalized.

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