Restrooms for Everyone

Installing new signage

Mike Wais, senior building maintenance worker, installs gender-inclusive sign in the Advanced Materials Research Lab. 

Signs of beskirted and trousered figures are being removed from more than 140 restroom doors across the Davis campus by the end of February to convert gendered or unisex restrooms to gender-inclusive restrooms. 

“I like being on a campus where anyone can use a restroom regardless of sex or gender,” said elizabeth coté, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center.

Imagine for a second the angst felt by someone who doesn’t fit within the traditional gender stereotypes — in how they style their face or their hair, or in the clothes they choose to wear. As they stand outside gender-specific restrooms, they are forced to decide: a) do I go into that restroom and possibly get stares, or, b) go into that restroom and face the threat of physical or verbal violence.

In addition to being a safe place for people who identify as transgender, genderqueer or gender nonconforming, gender-inclusive restrooms also serve parents with children of a different gender and caregivers to persons of a different gender.

The conversion to gender-inclusive applies to all “single-stall” restrooms (“single stall” is defined as one toilet and one sink; or one toilet, one urinal and one sink). Apart from new exterior signs and the addition of lockable door hardware if needed, nothing else will change.

Spaces Accessible to All

UC Davis started examining its restroom designations last summer, in part because of guidelines from the UC Office of the President requiring the campuses to “focus on providing a safe environment, consistent with UC principles of community and efforts around civility and respect.”

Allen Tollefson, assistant vice chancellor for Facilities Management, formed the Gender-Inclusive Restroom Committee to identify ways to help create an environment that is safe, accessible and respectful of all individuals. “These are pretty simple changes that go a long way toward making everyone feel more comfortable,” said Tollefson, committee chair. “Regardless of the mandate from UCOP, we wanted to open up spaces on campus that were accessible to all.”

coté said she is incredibly pleased with how creatively the committee has looked at this issue, particularly in receiving input from graduate and undergraduate students.

A full list of gender-inclusive restrooms can be found on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center site.