In late August, Slippery Rock University announced the conversion of 70 single-occupancy bathrooms to all-gender bathrooms in 35 different buildings throughout campus. In a press release, an SRU representative cited the transition as a positive move that is welcoming to transgender persons.
The introduction of all-gender bathrooms is fantastic for the university and proves that SRU is a welcoming campus to potential students and faculty members who identify as transgender or non-binary. Beyond the positive affect all-gender restrooms have on the Slippery Rock campus for the trans community, SRU’s unveiling of these restrooms can be put to good use by people that extend well beyond trans identities. Since each restroom is single-occupancy, the doors lock from the inside, meaning that any person who decides to utilize this newly labeled restroom will be able to have absolute privacy while using the facility and will not feel intimidated by others.
Parents with a child whose gender differs from their own would be able to safely use the restroom in complete privacy. People who may require assistance while using the facilities could be accompanied by a person of a different gender to ensure that the assistance necessary is accessible at all times while maintaining personal privacy.
Despite all of the great things all-gender bathrooms brings to Slippery Rock University, it is worth noting that faculty members throughout campus have now lost their own private restroom areas. SRU has already said that some areas do not currently have single-occupancy restroom areas where they could automatically repurpose a faculty restroom, meaning that they will install brand new all-gender restrooms in the coming years. So, for now, SRU faculty is simply out of private restrooms now that the “faculty restroom” signs have been replaced with “all-gender restroom” signs.
Because of the nature of all-gender bathrooms, which have become increasingly common across campuses, faculty of any gender, whether trans or cisgender, are able to use these restrooms, so rather than losing access, we feel that the access to these types of restrooms has simply been expanded and clarified. While the increase in all-gender bathrooms has become political in recent months, at the end of the day, we see it as just another way SRU can accommodate students, faculty, staff and community members who often don’t have as much access as others. Because of the change, students with kids, trans students, disabled students and even students who simply prefer more privacy, can further utilize all Slippery Rock has to offer with just a little bit more ease.