There are three gender-neutral restrooms on campus or gender-inclusive restrooms as Jessica Adams, coordinator of gender programs and services, calls them.
The single stall restrooms are located on the first floor of the University Center, first floor of the Grosse Industrial Technology Building and inside the Bucket Grill & Pub.
“I didn’t know that they existed, I believe that everyone should have equal rights so I’m happy to hear that they’re around,” said liberal studies major Brittney Fairburn.
Dr. Francine L. Oputa, director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute, said that the restrooms are no secret and that a lack of promotion is why students may not know about this resource.
“It’s ongoing work to make people aware of some of the services that they are on campus,” said Oputa. “It’s something we want people to know about.”
For student Sabrina Stevenson, a transgender woman, these restrooms have been the only place on campus where she can go to the restroom in peace and without judgment.
“I imagine that there’s a lot of people out there, gender fluid and other individuals who are kind of in that same position,” said Stevenson. “It’s a very uncomfortable position. You just have no place to go and I think that we can take for granted some of the advantages we have when we have those conformities with society.”
Although there are three locations on campus, Stevenson said that there is a need for more gender-inclusive restrooms.
“I think it’s kind of unacceptable,” said Stevenson. “I can’t imagine what it’s like having to go all the way to the main administration building or one of those other isolated places from your classes. That takes out a lot of time. It takes away from your educational experience.”
Adams recognizes a need for more, but because of the cost, it’s difficult to have more of these restrooms built, she said.
“I think that there is definitely a need for more on campus, not only a need for more quantity wise, but a need to evaluate where they’re placed on campus,” said Adams.
Even though there are only a few Stevenson said that having gender-inclusive restrooms on campus is a step in the right direction.
“If I didn’t have a restroom, well I didn’t awhile back, and what I would do I would just hold it,” said Stevenson. “I would go off campus somewhere. I would have to go all the way to target sometimes because they have family restrooms, inclusive restrooms, which was my only option a while ago.”
Oputa said that the gender-inclusive restrooms are made to serve all people on campus. She and Adams said they will continue to bring attention to this issue and will be meeting this week to talk about the subject matter.
“As you know better you should do better and we know these things take time, but the goal is to do better,” said Oputa.