Gender neutral bathrooms labeled in Grind

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April 9, 2012

10:55 PM

The fight for more gender-neutral facilities on campus won a small victory March 30 when the on-campus coffee shop, The Daily Grind, installed the campus’s first bathrooms labeled gender neutral.

Other locations across campus already have single occupancy bathrooms, but these are the first two to ever be specified as “gender neutral.” Signs now label the bathrooms.

Employees Moira Pelton-Owen, Laura Andrew ’12 and Charlotte Davis ’10 put up the new gender-neutral signs over old “Male” and “Female” signs after Daily Grind manager and owner Scott Owen had the change approved by the College.

“Bathrooms are typically identified as male or female, and if someone doesn’t identify as male or female, they are still forced to make a decision in order to use the bathroom,” Andrew said. “If you don’t fit into society’s normative description of gender you still have to decide and that makes you conform with society’s depictions of gender.”

Gender neutral is defined as those who do not conform to a gender binary, whether as transgender, intersex or gender-nonconformist.

“By saying gender neutral, we’re saying that gender shouldn’t have to be a choice in a single occupancy bathroom,” Andrew said. “When you take away the gender of a single occupancy bathroom it takes away the violence that goes away with a gendered bathroom.”

Owens had the changes approved by the administration first.

“It’s more the students’s building, not mine. It definitely wasn’t an issue of facilities, and it seemed to be more of an issue with the students than us,” Owens said.

The change was both political and practical for some students.

“To be honest, I didn’t really notice it because I used all bathrooms all the time. They are making a statement, but I think it’s more out of practicality than anything,” Daily Grind regular Katherine Fegely ’14 said.

While this is the first bathroom on campus labeled gender neutral, Andrew hopes to see more in coming years.

“Ideally, I would like to see all the bathrooms that are single occupancy marked as gender neutral and to see at least one on every building on campus. For example, the new fraternity complex they’re building on campus could have gender neutral bathrooms,” Andrew said.

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About Author

Ariel Cohen

Senior Staff Writer Ariel Cohen '14 is a sociology major from Arlington, Va. She was previously Chief Staff Writer, News Editor, and Associate News Editor.

(8) Readers Comments

  1. Julie Bertoia
    April 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    It is so frustrating that THIS is one of the main issues our students care about.  What about getting jobs after graduation? or Tuition hikes?  Gender-neutral bathrooms... really?  get a life. 

    • Dustin Crummett
      April 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Wow, now that I think about it that is definitely a good point, if they hadn't put those signs up I bet we would all have jobs by now.

    • Dustin Crummett
      April 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Also I felt for sure before I clicked on your name that you were probably, like, some student's mom or grandma or something.  And when they say things like that, you are just like, oh, well, grandma is from a different time, and anyway she won't be with us much longer... but it looks like you are actually a student here?

  2. FrankDouglass
    April 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    This is utter bull crap

  3. Doug Rowland
    April 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    gender is a biological topic, not a social one

  4. Ms-X
    April 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Why not put up a label that says, "Restroom" and call it a day? Does it REALLY have to be identified with a gender or labeled as being neutral?

  5. Pingback: Flat Hat News: Freshman & Sophomore Year | Ariel Cohen Journalism

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