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Stanford University increases number of all-gender restrooms

In an effort to show its commitment to inclusiveness, Stanford University announces single-user restrooms throughout the campus are being converted to all-gender facilities.

Meetings held between Stanford transgender students and former Provost John Etchemendy resulted in an agreement that the university make available more all-gender bathrooms to increase their comfort and safety on campus, according to Sheila Sanchez, associate director of the Diversity & Access Office, under whose auspices much of the conversion is being conducted.

A Stanford Report article shows that between now and the end of the calendar year, signs on single-occupancy men’s and women’s restrooms in most campus buildings will be converted to all-gender signs. Unisex signs, with pictograms of a man and woman, will also be converted to the more inclusive all-gender sign standard, according to Torrey Spies, associate director of space planning and management, whose office has helped in the signs’ design.

In some areas, including the university’s athletic facilities, conversion is well underway. DAPER has converted 14 facilities, according to Ray Purpur, deputy athletic director, and is studying the possibility of creating some all-gender locker rooms. All-gender facilities are also called gender-neutral and gender-inclusive facilities. They can include restrooms, showers, locker rooms and changing rooms that are usable by persons of all gender identities, while still providing privacy and security for individuals.

All new construction on campus will include at least one single-occupancy, all-gender restroom, Stanford shows. In addition, existing buildings without these facilities will continue to be evaluated for renovation should there be no appropriate single-use restrooms to convert. Priority will be given to highly public spaces, followed by academic/classroom and lab spaces and then administrative buildings.

Neither the university’s efforts nor state law applies to multiple-user bathroom facilities in academic and administrative buildings.

The move toward more inclusivity in facilities at Stanford in general dates back to 2007, when Residential Education and Residential & Dining Enterprises implemented a pilot project making gender-neutral housing assignments available to interested students. Those efforts made Stanford a national leader in giving students of different genders the opportunity to live together.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state law, Assembly Bill 1732, in September 2016 as part of the state’s efforts to recognise its transgender, gender fluid and gender non-conforming residents. It requires single-user toilet facilities open to the public to be identified as all-gender. The law also benefits people with disabilities who may need the help of personal assistants of a different gender, as well as families with children of different genders. The law became effective in March.

John Beckett