Transvanilla Transznemű Egyesület

Unisex bathrooms appear on UM-Flint campus, catering to families, transgender individuals

Pin It

The options for bathrooms at the University of Michigan-Flint has gone from the usual men's and women's rooms to include a third choice -- unisex.
With every major renovation on campus, a unisex bathroom will be added. The campus is now up to two – one in French Hall built in 2007 and another in the Northbank Center that was put in over the summer.

The unisex bathrooms serve a few purposes, such as more room for families and parents or grandparents with young children, privacy of a single room and safety and comfort for transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals, university officials said.

"The university is sensitive to all needs. And want to provide a welcoming environment whether you are a single mom, a transgender individual or a grandpa trying to corral a granddaughter into a bathroom," said Bill Webb, interim vice chancellor for business at UM-Flint. "We have primarily student faculty and staff, but we have lots of visitors, people coming in with kids. It works for everyone."

With the renovations of the Murchie Science Building, university officials are expecting to add two more. Webb said it not uncommon for universities to begin adding unisex bathrooms. It just makes sense, he said.

Kettering University has three unisex bathrooms on its campus. One unisex bathroom can be found in the university’s Wellness Center, while the other two are in the Public Safety Service Center.

Although the bathrooms can be used by anyone, such as families and transgender individuals, the bathrooms were originally designed to accommodate handicapped individuals, said Joe Asperger, director of Physical Plant at Kettering.

“It’s kind of automatic. The original intent was (to make them handicap accessible), but it can be used for any of those purposes,” said Asperger, adding that the two in the Public Safety Service Center were put in about six years ago, where the other was built more than a decade ago.

Incorporating unisex bathrooms on the UM-Flint campus is part of the university's plan for all three campuses, Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint, Webb said, and it's now part of a standard. It's a growing trend in airports and hospitals, he said.

Jen Salamone, program coordinator for the LGBT Center for UM-Flint, said she is happy to see unisex bathrooms on campus and hopes to see more in the future.

"We're very supportive of unisex bathrooms or gender-neutral bathrooms because they create a safer campus environment for transgender or nonconforming students, staff and faculty," Salamone said. "We definitely want to see them as many places as possible."

Salamone said she is excited to see the bathrooms popping up around campus. They are usually seen as family bathrooms, but they are beneficial to the GBLT community.

The unisex bathrooms are single-stalled with more room, and lock for privacy, she said.

Transgender individuals identify with a different gender than they were assigned at birth and gender nonconforming students could be, for example, men who wear female clothing. Gender-neutral bathrooms are important to prevent incidents and make people feel safe, Salamone said.

"We do have a few people that we are in contact with that would prefer more gender neutral restrooms on campus such as the rec center. There is a need," she said. "Some people may choose to just not use the bathroom if they are afraid of harassment."

Anthony Stewart, 35, of Clio said he doesn't think the unisex bathrooms are necessary. He can see them being useful for families, but that's about it, he said.

"I think if you're transgender and nonconforming, go into the bathroom you associate with," said Stewart, a senior at UM-Flint, adding that the individual should stand up for who they are.

Vanessa Goldman, UM-Flint faculty member, said she is very happy to see more unisex bathrooms being built on campus. It will be a great thing not only for transgender people, like herself, but also for parents with young children and people who are handicapped.

Goldman was born a man but is transitioning into a woman and feels the unisex bathrooms will be a positive thing for the GLBT community, she said.

“I DO feel very uncomfortable using ‘men’s’ rooms because I do not and have never really felt like a ‘man,’” Goldman said in an email to The Flint Journal. “Regular rooms are not as bad as changing rooms at the recreation center. I feel like a woman in the men’s room, but in my present state, if I were to use the women’s rooms I would be like a ‘man in the women’s room’ to a lot of people.”

MLive Media

Transz kisokos

Transz Kisokos címlap


Adó 1 százalék felajánlás


Partnereink, támogatóink

Tagjai vagyunk: TGEU, ILGA, ILGA-EUROPE


Látható transzok

látható transzok blog

Ez a weboldal a jobb felhasználói élmény érdekében sütiket használ. Adatvédelem és Felhasználási feltételek