FromKALB – NIU promotes inclusion and gender diversity by creating seven new inclusive bathrooms since 2018.
An inclusive bathroom is open to all people, regardless of gender identity.
The first gender-neutral bathroom was created on campus in 2016 thanks to a push from the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. The NIU didn’t stop at single-stall facilities; there are now many gender-neutral multi-cabin bathrooms on campus.
Gender-neutral bathrooms give people more options as well as greater privacy; these facilities are not only used by members of the transgender community, but also accommodate other groups, such as people with children and people with disabilities, by providing accessible cabins as well as changing rooms.
“People value experiences at NIU because we promote diversity and inclusion,” said Molly Holmes, program director at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.
Holmes said the students are excited to have these bathrooms because it gives them a sense of place.
“Gender-neutral bathrooms put everyone at ease and provide the ideal environment for everyone,” Holmes said.
After creating the first gender-neutral bathrooms on campus in 2016, the university has rapidly expanded to 30 facilities by 2018. In 2021, NIU has a total of 37 gender-neutral bathrooms and plans to create others.
Gender-neutral bathrooms can be found throughout campus; there are five single-stall facilities located in the Holmes Student Center, two multi-stall facilities in Reavis Hall, eight single-stall facilities in Grant Hall, two multi-stall facilities in the Founders Library, two multi-stall facilities stalls in Psychology/Computer Building and more. A full list can be found at the Gender and Sexuality Center website.
The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is creating more bathroom options across campus. Students and staff can give their input on where they think the toilet should go by contacting the Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre.
Gender-neutral bathrooms are usually funded by the university; funding comes from money allocated to buildings for maintenance.
John Heckmann, associate vice president of facilities management and campus services, said that because gender-neutral bathrooms are usually converted from existing facilities, the cost of conversion is usually a few hundred dollars. . Facilities are currently being converted to gender-neutral toilets in the Wellness and Literacy Center, Graham Hall, Health Services Building, and Psychic and Computer Sciences Building.
For more information, connect with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. To suggest new locations for gender-neutral bathrooms, email Molly Holmes at [email protected].