From the perspective of a cisgender individual, the concept of what restroom to use is not particularly complex.
The general idea is that males go past the door labeled “men’s” while females go through the doors labeled “women’s.” But what about the individuals that don’t identify as specifically one or the other?
Different groups and organizations on the Pacific University campus are working to become all-inclusive by establishing all-gender bathrooms.
“If it’s a single-user restroom now, we can easily convert it to an all-gender
[restroom], University Advancement Vice President Cassie Warman said. “We are not proposing, nor are the students proposing that we’re changing multiple-stalled restrooms to be all- gender, but where there is a single user and a lockable door, we can easily convert those to all-gender.”
For the students that identify as transgender or gender non-binary, something as simple as which restroom to use can be a gateway to a large amount of internal conflict.
“I think there are some points that are lacking a little bit, like the lack of facilities that I think accommodate transgender or non-binary people,” junior Gray Ashford said. “I think it’s something that’s so simple and taken for granted, but it’s a really big thing in helping transgender and non-binary students feel safe, because for a lot of them, they may be forced to use a bathroom that they don’t necessarily feel aligns with their identity.”
The concern of lack of inclusive restrooms came up during the previous Student Senate town hall meetings with President Lesley Hallick. Warman volunteered to take on the project and see how many places on campus the restrooms could be placed.
“Now we’re working hard to make sure we’re including all voices in this discussion, so while the undergraduate students here in Forest Grove have brought up the issue, I want to make sure that all the professional and graduate students have a voice in this too,” Warman said.
Warman hopes to have the single- user restrooms on campus to be officially labeled as all-gender by the first of next year. Along with that, there has been discussion to have all-gender inclusion on all four Pacific campuses.
“We just want to make sure that all four of our campus are included in the same discussion,” Warman said. “And it may be something different for each one, depending on where they are.”
Pacific is open to having more facilities like this, as it is an issue that doesn’t just occur on the Pacific campus
“It’s not just changing symbols and words,” Warman said. “It’s embracing the Pacific mission. You know we were founded as a place for all people…this is a part of our mission where we make sure that we are a place where everyone is welcome and everyone feels like they have a home… this is a tiny thing we can do to help in that journey.”