Policy promotes gender-neutral washrooms
A new Queen’s policy increases access to gender-neutral washrooms or change rooms on campus.
“For transgender individuals and others who do not identify with the gender binary, using gender-specific washrooms can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, frightening, and even dangerous,” says Jean Pfleiderer, an advisor in the Human Rights Office. “With the Gender Neutral Washroom Policy, Queen’s is respecting the needs and dignity of its trans community.”
The policy commits the university to repurpose all single-user, gender-specific washrooms into gender-neutral facilities whenever possible and as funding becomes available. In the future, all new buildings or significantly renovated buildings must have at least one gender-neutral washroom (or change room with a shower, where appropriate, as in residences and athletics facilities) on every floor.
Physical Plant Services and Campus Planning and Development have been working with student volunteers to conduct an audit of single-user public washrooms in campus buildings. Fifty-three washrooms have been identified so far as requiring new signage to make them gender-neutral. Campus Planning and Development will also use the data to explore adding new single-user washrooms in buildings where none currently exist.
Adding more single-user, accessible, gender-neutral washrooms will accommodate persons with disabilities who require the assistance of an attendant/caregiver of a different gender and parents of a different gender than their children.
The Transgender/Transsexual Policy Group, a committee of the Positive Space Program, developed the policy, which is supported by the Council on Employment Equity and the Senate Educational Equity Committee. The Vice-Principals’ Operations Committee approved the policy last month.