Dalhousie installs gender-neutral washrooms
Dalhousie University is taking steps to support its LGBTQ – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer - community, and it's starting with the bathrooms.
The school has created 29 gender-neutral washrooms on campus. It's also committed to installing them in every future development.
"I would have some negative experiences for sure," said Laura MacIntosh, who identifies as gender queer. "Sometimes people would look at me funny or even say things, 'what are you doing in this washroom' or even thought I was a man."
MacIntosh said that uncomfortable experience lead her to speak out, as did other students.
Dal Allies, a group that supports the school's Rainbow community, campaigned for the change.
"There are a lot of folks who don't feel comfortable using gendered washrooms because they don't identify as male or female," said MacIntosh.
"We're having more trans students on campus and students who want to be fluid in their gender," said Gaye Wishart of the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Harassment Prevention at the school.
The washrooms feature signs with both a male and a female symbol. The stalls have floor to ceiling doors for added privacy.
"You know, that binary choice between male and female is not for everyone, so we want a campus that's as inclusive as possible," said Wishart.
The washrooms aren't the only change at Dalhousie. The university is also allowing students who don't identify as male or female to indicate 'other' on their application form to the school.