Gender-neutral washrooms considered by UPEI

The University of Prince Edward Island is looking into setting up gender neutral washrooms on campus.

The University of Prince Edward Island is looking into setting up gender neutral washrooms on campus.

Transgendered UPEI student Jay Jonah does not feel comfortable in gender-based public washrooms. (Julia Cook/CBC)

This summer a group of students and staff sent a proposal to the university. The washrooms would be open to everyone, but would specifically be an option for those who are transgendered or androgynous.

Greg Clayton, director of facilities and operations at UPEI, has contacted other universities in the region to see how they set up their gender-neutral washrooms.

"You could just convert the single stall washrooms and then have it clearly indicated on our website, here's where the gender-neutral washrooms are on campus," said Clayton.

"That could be the first step and then over time, if there's a desire or will to extend that beyond what is currently available, then you could start looking at converting some of the other large washrooms under gender neutral."

Jay Jonah, a fourth year student at UPEI, changed from female to male a couple of years ago. He said using gender-based public washrooms can make him feel uncomfortable.

"The small things are actually the big things," said Jonah.

"It may not seem like a big thing for everyone who has no problems with it, but for people who are transgendered or androgynous or don't feel comfortable, it's really big thing because you don't feel like this is the right place for you to go pee, basically."

The university hasn't made a decision yet. Clayton said he will present his findings to the management committee later this month.

For mobile device users: Are gender-neutral public washrooms a good idea?


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