Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., recently announced that it would creating â€śgender-open restroomsâ€ť for students in the fall.
â€śWe are trying to be responsive to the needs of all of our students and to be inclusive,â€ť Northwestern University spokesman Bob Rowley told The College Fix. â€śThis is becoming a common occurrence on campuses across the U.S.â€ť
Two sex-segregated bathrooms will be changed into gender-neutral bathrooms, but will not have any plumbing changes, just new signs outside.
While some people are concerned about female students sharing bathrooms with anatomically male students who self-identify as female, LGBTQ advocates applaud the move.
â€śWe received overwhelmingly positive information, and so we went with it,â€ť Devin Moss, of Northwesternâ€™s LGBTQ Resource Center, told the Daily Northwestern student newspaper. â€śWe didnâ€™t really get any major concerns.â€ť
The LGBTQ Resource Center is working with the school administration to create a universal bathroom sign.
According to the pro-LGBTQ Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst:
Certain people feel threatened in single-sex bathrooms based on their presumed sexual orientation rather than gender identity. Students have faced gay-baiting comments in our universityâ€™s sex-segregated bathrooms. Menâ€™s bathrooms may be particular sites for this sort of harassment because of their image as queer cruising grounds.
Northwestern University plans to offer more gender-neutral bathrooms in the future.