GN Bathrooms

Photo IllustrationKimpel Hall has two gender-neutral bathrooms on its first floor. There are more than 90 gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

UA officials are working to create a resource that will list or identify gender-neutral bathrooms across campus.

Of the 653 bathrooms on campus, 90 are gender-neutral ADA family bathrooms, but there are buildings that do not have gender-neutral bathrooms, Jay Huneycutt, director of planning and design for facilities management, said in an email. Officials have included gender-neutral bathrooms in all new projects, including both full-building renovations and new construction projects.

Other campuses across the country, like Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas, Boston University, the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota, provide students with a list of gender-neutral bathrooms on their websites. 

The UofA does not have a list like this available to students. Officials have been collecting information on gender-neutral bathrooms around campus as they work on making a list, Huneycutt said.

The next step to ease the search for gender-neutral bathrooms is to work with University Relations to add where they are located on campus maps, Huneycutt said.

Some students have noticed difficulties finding gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, leading to added anxiety and stress.

Troy Warfield, a sophomore who prefers to use gender-neutral pronouns, is only aware of two gender-neutral bathrooms on campus: in the Arkansas Union and in the Graduate Education building. When they need to use a bathroom on campus, they often have to decide whether it is worth crossing campus for a comfortable bathroom. 

Warfield had a difficult time finding gender-neutral bathrooms soon after coming to the UofA, so they gave up searching. 

“Part of the thing about there not being any gender-neutral bathrooms is that I have to kind of find the bathrooms that aren’t used very often,” Warfield said. “Which is just kinda weird because it’s just kind of me being like ‘OK, well I hope no one comes in here.’”

The UA Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education and People Respecting the Individual Differences and Equality, or PRIDE, an LGBTQ Registered Student Organization, also do not have a list of gender-neutral bathrooms.

Multicultural Center Director Sarah Draine said she wants the Multicultural Center to work on compiling a list of gender-neutral bathrooms.

The lack of provisions for people who are not cisgender has worsened Warfield’s mental state because they are constantly thinking about whether they will be accepted in certain spaces, they said.

In hopes of finding a list or other resources, Warfield reached out to LGBTQ support groups through the Pat Walker Health Center, but many of the resources they provide primarily concern mental health rather than general inclusion, they said.

“They’re not like ‘Come to this group, they’re open to non-conforming people,’ or ‘Here’s a list of places that have gender-neutral bathrooms,’ or something like that,” Warfiled said. “I had to actively go out and find those spaces myself, and a lot of it was just stumbling on it.”

Caleb Gladwell, a junior who is a transgender man, thinks there should be more gender-neutral bathrooms in buildings across campus, especially because he often finds himself in buildings with none. 

“I’m in those buildings a lot, and it’s really awkward trying to figure out which bathrooms to use because sometimes I don’t feel like I pass enough to use the men’s room, or I pass too much to use the women’s room,” Gladwell said.

Overall, Warfield thinks UA officials could improve on being inclusive of people who are not cisgender, from adding more gender-neutral bathrooms to being more aware of students’ preferred pronouns. 

“Otherwise I just have to risk my mental health just going into one of the other bathrooms,” Warfield said.

Andrew Elkins is the associate news editor of the Arkansas Traveler. He worked as a reporter and photographer from 2018-2019.

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