Gender Inclusive Restrooms: Dos and Don’ts

By Genny Beemyn, Ph.D.YorkUniversityWashroom

Are you working to increase the number of gender inclusive/all-gender restrooms on your campus? Have you thought about the use of language, signage, and privacy/safety? The following list is a quick rundown of “dos” and “don’ts” for creating the ideal gender inclusive restroom.

Accessibility

  • Do make sure restrooms are wheelchair accessible, and that signage indicates this fact.
  • Do include changing tables in all inclusive restrooms.
  • Do include signage in Braille.

Sign wording

  • Don’t default to labels such as “unisex” or “family” restroom. The point is to include individuals of all gender, sex, and ability.
  • Do use inclusive phrases such as “all-gender restroom” or simply “restroom”.

Sign images

  • Don’t use symbols such as the the half-male/half-female stick figure or the trans symbol. Most trans people do not see themselves as between male and female, and these restrooms are not only for trans people at all!
  • Do feature a neutral toilet symbol and/or the wheelchair symbol for accessible restrooms.

Single-stall restrooms

  • Do make all single-fixture (containing one toilet and one sink) restrooms inclusive by changing signage
  • Don’t assume that single-fixture male and female restrooms are “inclusive”, because there is no reason to indicate a specific gender in this case!

Multi-stall restrooms

  • Do make sure doors are floor-to-ceiling to ensure privacy. Remember that this means each stall needs ventilation and a sprinkler.
  • Do include a toilet and some means to indicate whether each stall is occupied or unoccupied. In this case, a shared space of hand-washing sinks is OK.

 

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