CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The University of Prince Edward Island will open multi-user, all-gender washrooms in two buildings on campus this coming Monday, March 5.
The washrooms are located on the main levels of the Robertson Library and the SDU Main Building.
All-gender washrooms are spaces that anyone can use, regardless of their gender identity or expression.
Vice-president of administration and finance Jackie Podger said re-designating the washroom spaces to all-gender allows UPEI to be more inclusive, helps provide a safer campus environment and is welcoming to all members of the campus community.
“By expanding the washroom options on campus, we are able to offer conveniently located, comfortable and safe facilities for a greater number of people,” said Podger. “UPEI values diversity and inclusion, so when we heard from campus community members and the UPEI Student Union, we worked together to respond to the needs of campus by re-designating these spaces to all-gender.”
UPEI already re-designated several single-user washrooms across campus to be all-gender, but these spaces will be the first multi-stall washrooms in public areas that have been converted for all-gender use.
All-gender washrooms are beneficial for transgender and gender non-conforming people who often experience harassment and even physical violence in gender-specific facilities.
“Having all-gender washrooms, whether multi-stall or single-user, makes the UPEI campus safer and more welcoming,” said UPEI Student Union president Chelsea Perry. “This expansion of facility options shows that UPEI respects everyone's right to choose the washroom that is appropriate for them.”
A number of multi-stall washrooms on campus will remain gender-specific, but are inclusive for all those who identify with that gender.
In an effort to create awareness about all-gender washrooms, the Robertson Library has partnered with diversity and social justice studies professor Ann Braithwaite to present “Toilet Training (Law and Order in the Bathroom),” a documentary video that surveys the policing of gender in restrooms—and the persistent discrimination, harassment, and violence towards people who do not culturally fit as male or female.
The presentation is part of the Robertson Library video series and will be shown on Monday, March 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the LINC, with a discussion to follow.