Good Practices: Inclusive Restrooms and Signage

Please see the resources page for information on where to find gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

As with good practices generally, any advice must be combined with a specific context and use of good judgement in order to determine what is appropriate to a specific situation. This page is part of the broader #TransTerps campaign, and on this site you can find out more about trainings and events, good practices, and resources and policies for supporting trans folks on campus.

Our campus non-discrimination policy includes gender identity and expression as well as personal appearance. Thus, regardless of someone's appearances, the mere presence of someone in a restroom or facility who doesn't "look" like they belong is not a good rationale to question someone one wouldn't otherwise question, and can never justify harassing someone for using the restroom. In the case of any concerns, behavior should be looked at, not someone's mere presence or appearance/expression.

One way we can create more inclusive spaces is to maximize the number of gender-neutral facilities on campus. This can be done most easily first by ensuring that every single-user locking restroom is labeled in an inclusive manner. You can contact Facilities Management or whomever controls your building's signage to request such an update. Here is an example from Marie Mount Hall:

In the above example, a small restroom had been converted into a locking restroom and made gender neutral by simply stating "restroom" on the signage. While this sign includes the male/female stick figures side by side, a better icon for an inclusive restroom might be symbols for toilet/sink, as in the following example of a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom in the Stamp Student Union:

Additionally, restrooms can provide signage with information about where to find gender-neutral facilities and other important facilities that are nearby. Here is one example from the University Health Center where the signage on a men's restroom explains where to find gender-neutral restrooms in the building:

Even if your building does not currently provide such signage, you can request it, and/or you can write directions from your office or space to the nearest gender-inclusive restrooms. The Stamp Student Union includes extensive information about gender-neutral restrooms, family restroom, and lactation room at each restroom, such as in this example:

An additional issue, although not necessarily tied to trans inclusion directly, is that many people would desire greater privacy in restrooms. Thus, asking for restrooms to be constructed with greater levels of privacy (e.g. stalls that have better coverage and fewer gaps) may be of benefit to everyone.

The Stamp Student Union has had multi-user gender-neutral restrooms for a number of years, and we will need more such restrooms on campus to make major strides in increasing the inventory of gender-inclusive facilities on campus. In order to enhance privacy in the facility, they added some special strips that get rid of the gaps between stall doors and stall walls, and they put stalls around existing urinals, as in this example:

Another example of this on campus where deeper renovations were done are the new gender-inclusive locker rooms that University Recreation and Wellness invested money to renovate and make gender neutral and with enhanced privacy. More information about those locker rooms is available in this report.