Student-led initiative proposes gender neutral bathrooms

South Puget Sound Community College strives to provide a safe and welcoming campus for all. In order to achieve this goal, a group of students are working to install gender-neutral bathrooms or all-gender bathrooms in place of the current gender-specific bathrooms spread throughout the campus. The goal of gender-neutral bathrooms is to allow everyone to feel safe and not judged while using the restroom.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are intended to create a safe space for everyone, from the trans* community, to parents who have children with a different gender, to people with disabilities who may have an aid of the opposite gender. Gender-neutral bathrooms will help to create an accessible and inclusive campus for all students, staff and faculty.

The proposal of all-gender bathrooms has to go through a process of several steps in order to be approved and installed. Student Initiative is the first step, which has been met through a  proposal to the SPSCC Student Senate and a presentation sent to the Vice President for Student Services Rhonda Coats. After being approved by the board of trustees and after being approved, the proposal is waiting for approval by a second administrative level. According to Camila Schrandt, SPSCC senator for diversity and equity, the next steps taken will be to follow up with the upper administration to see what their thoughts are.

The plan is to change the gender specific signs of the currently existing multi-stall bathrooms to gender neutral signs. Students will have the option to choose urinals or stalls based on preference. There will also be a picture on the sign to represent a bathroom, but as of now, the Student Senate is still in the process of choosing which picture they will use.

Originally, only the bathrooms in the Student Union Building were to change, however, the new plan is to change all bathrooms on the campus. Additionally, there is no cost to change the signs because there are organizations that will donate gender neutral bathroom signs to college campuses.

The Student Senate is currently making many efforts to offer students ways to become educated on this topic and to make sure that all students are comfortable with the idea of gender neutral bathrooms. Some ideas are to show a film about all-gender bathrooms and to hold a panel of people affected by issues of gender-specific bathrooms. Additionally, the Student Senate is working on printouts of frequently asked questions and hope to make class visits to inform students on what the goal is and why this issue is important.

“I would encourage the people to be on the lookout for all these events that are going to happen and all these efforts that we are going to make to educate everyone,” said Schrandt.

The initial installation goal is Nov. 20 in honor of Trans* Day of Remembrance. However, the date is tentative.