Ohio University launches website to locate gender-inclusive restrooms
The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has launched a website that includes a map that shows where all known gender-inclusive restrooms on the Ohio University Athens Campus are located.
The website includes a map of the restrooms as well as an alphabetical list of buildings and facilities with the restrooms’ room numbers. The bathrooms may also be labeled as "single user," "all gender," or "family." Anyone aware of additional inclusive restrooms or changes that should be made for listed restrooms should contact Space Planning at email@example.com.
RJ Franklin, a work study student in the Women's Center, said her office recognized there was a need for more information and awareness about gender-inclusive restrooms. She said the Women’s Center strives to make an inclusive environment on campus and in the Athens community.
"The resource is useful not just for students, but also for prospective employees. You may note that some of the bathrooms are designated as staff only. We wanted to ensure that our faculty and staff are also supported through this list," Women’s Center Director M. Geneva Murray said.
Space Planning provided the Women’s Center with a document with known restrooms. The first step was checking all restrooms within residence halls using the House and Residence Life website.
“Fostering a safe, inclusive and inviting environment is foundational to any goals or outcomes for Ohio University,” University Planning Senior Planner Miranda Kridler said. “Making sure our space resources (lactation rooms, single user restrooms, break space, meditation rooms, etc.) are known and accessibility is key to supporting, recruiting and retaining students and staff.”
Franklin and other Women’s Center student workers then walked around campus to check if the restrooms’ gender descriptions were accurate.
“During this project, I noticed that without knowing where a gender inclusive bathroom is, one may not know where to go,” Franklin said. “This project provides people with needed resources so that they can find bathrooms on campus.”
Luvina Cooley, a junior studying anthropology with emphasis in social media and queer studies, said it can be uncomfortable for LGBTQ+ students to use gendered restrooms and it’s hard to know where inclusive restrooms can be found.
“This resource will hopefully help with that,” Cooley said. “It also helps us identify areas of need where we can continue to advocate for more inclusive restrooms.”
LGBT Center Director Micah McCarey said OHIO and the city of Athens strive to create more accessible restrooms because they benefit people with different needs.
“I'm especially glad to know this resource will help students, whose gender expression doesn't always match what others expect to see in a particular bathroom, feel more confident in their ability to navigate restrooms on campus,” McCarey said.
"We are really proud of the students coming forward to advocate for their needs as a Bobcat, and we are always working to be proactive to support our OHIO community,” Women’s Center Assistant Director MaryKathyrine Tran said.