Five pairs of restrooms were declared gender neutral last week for Gender Neutral Bathrooms Week at Green River Community College in Auburn.
The temporary change was to create an inclusive community for people who do not conform to the gender models of male and female, as well as those with a caregiver of a different gender, Shaan Wade, the event’s student organizer, said.
Wade, who got the idea for the event from a conference, said the campus community seemed to be taking it in stride.
“People are understanding what’s going on. We have signs in different languages. People have the option of going to other bathroom.”
Toward the end of the first day, June 4,
Wade had fielded several media calls, and a few complaints.
“We’ve definitely got some negative feedback,” Wade said. “I’m just the kind of person; I just push it to the side.”
While transgender people tend to be the focus of such events, Wade said many people, including families, those with disabilities, and those who simply don’t want to wait in a long restroom line, can benefit from bathrooms free of gender designations.
The college is being redeveloped, Wade said, and at least one restroom in each new building will be gender-neutral.
“A lot of people are a little nervous because they’ve never been exposed to it before,” he said. “I point out to people that if you live with other people, that’s a gender neutral bathroom.”