A Safe Space: Gender-Neutral Bathrooms


Chris Ayers

(Photo by Chris Ayers)

(Photo by Chris Ayers)
(Photo by Chris Ayers)

Right across from the reserve desk on the second floor of the Marriott Library is a gender-neutral bathroom.
This bathroom was built, according to the LGBT Resource Center, to “ensure safety and privacy for transgender, gender non-conforming and any other person who needs assurance when using a public restroom.” Gender-neutral bathrooms can be found elsewhere on campus, including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Warnock Engineering Building. A complete list of locations can be found on the LGBT Resource Center’s website, but most of the restrooms are described as “not easy to locate.”
Robert Nelson, who works in the digital scholarship section of the Marriott library, said the U’s campus is an “enlightened environment” that’s accepting of all students.
“I don’t see any controversy to it,” Nelson said. “I don’t think it’s an issue for many of us here … I’ve just seen a general acceptance of differentiations of gender and sexuality.”
The gender-neutral restroom in the library didn’t require much renovation. Originally it was a unisex bathroom, but over this past summer, a new plaque designated it as open to all students. Heidi Brett, the library’s spokesperson, said the term gender-neutral is “more inclusive.”
Kiko Lian, a U student working in the LGBT Resource Center, said the gender-neutral bathrooms increase safety for students on campus.
“Neither male nor female restrooms might be safe. Someone can go into one restroom and be asked to leave,” Lian said. “People can be victimized, traumatized, physically assaulted from being in the ‘wrong restroom.’ ”
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The LGBT Resource Center’s website (lgbt.utah.edu) includes a comprehensive list of gender-neutral or unisex restrooms that can be found on campus. However, some are difficult to locate, some are employees-only and others only reportedly exist but couldn’t be found. Drawing from the website, we’ve compiled an at-a-glance list of the gender-neutral restrooms on campus that are most readily available to the public.
Lower Campus
Biology Building: 3rd floor
Building 44/Gender Studies: One on each floor
Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building: 4th floor
Chemistry Building: Basement
College of Social Work: One on each floor
Gateway Heights: One in 806, one in 807
James Fletcher Building: 1st floor
Sage Point: Building 811
The Union: 1st floor
Warnock Engineering Building: Main floor
Upper Campus
The University Hospital – 2nd floor, 6th floor
College of Nursing: 2nd floor
School of Pharmacy: 1st floor.
Edwin & Grace Madsen Clinic: Several restrooms throughout the building