Gender-neutral bathrooms. First, I think the words “gender-neutral” are often seen too hippie-liberal for some folks. Instead, I am going to call them “bathrooms.” The biggest argument against this is that men and women will use the same restroom, which in turn could potentially lead to more assaults. While this is a valid concern, most times, when a person wants to use the bathroom, it is not with the intent to assault someone, it is with the intent to use the bathrooms.
Bathrooms that would be used by everyone would have only stalls. This would prevent anyone from seeing anyone else’s business, and everyone, regardless of sex or gender, can use a stall to use the bathroom. With this set up, no one would see anyone else, except at the sink area, which is perfectly fine in all or almost all cases. This type of bathroom would solve a very real concern for some people; that folks who use the women’s bathroom and either use wheelchairs or have limited mobility can’t use any bathrooms in some buildings on campus, like Old Main.
The other option is single person restrooms. These are often called “family” restrooms, because parents can enter them with their children without worry of unexpected exposure, which is especially true for single fathers with young daughters. Occasionally these are called handicapped restrooms, as they often have much larger areas which are accessible to those in wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Single person restrooms are often cited as a poor example because they are expensive and they are not conducive to places like college campuses where many people often are using the restroom at the same time.
One of the main reasons for these restrooms is the in the growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, and the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. These are people whose gender (their personal identity in their brain) and biological sex (what they have between their legs) don’t match up completely. For these folks, and the number is still up in the air and rising as it becomes safer for them to come out, but it looks like about 1 in every 200-500 at this time, it is often very difficult to choose which bathrooms to use. There are some transgender folks who “pass” which means that the gender they present and are is the gender others perceive them as, but there are also folks who don’t. For them, say a man who was born with female sex characteristics and doesn’t look stereotypically “male,” he may be uncomfortable in both women’s bathrooms, where he feels as though he is in the wrong bathroom; and in the men’s bathroom, where others may feel he is in the wrong bathroom. The installation of gender neutral bathrooms would reduce this stress of that choice. That is not all, there are folks who don’t identify as either male or female, who identify as genderqueer, agender (without any gender), or genderfluid (moving between male, female, a combination of both, something else entirely, and no gender, or any combination of the latter). These folks don’t currently have any bathroom to use, because they are not male and not female. They cannot safely and comfortably go into any bathroom on W&J’s campus except in their rooms, which could be on the third floor of Marshall, or on the top floor of Bica-Ross, and not always an option when they have six hours straight of classes with 10 minutes in between each and they drink three cups of coffee that morning.
Another factor that most people cite as a reason to not have bathrooms like those I have described is that there is a monetary cost, and these people are not wrong. The cost would be changing all the signs outside of the bathroom, and removing urinals from the current “men’s” bathrooms. Is that monetary cost worth more than the comfort, safety and happiness of students? In my books, absolutely.