All-gender washrooms have been installed across UTM, including Deerfield, CCT Building, and the RAWC, following an announcement by interim principal Ulrich Krull in a recent town hall meeting at the end of September.
Interim equity and diversity officer Nic Weststrate, with input from UTM’s dean of student affairs Mark Overton, explained in an email to The Medium that requests were made by students to create the all-gender washrooms.
“Students and employees have expressed interest in all-gender washrooms for many years,” Westsrate stated, explaining that this inspired “the online listing of ‘gender neutral’ washrooms by U of T’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer Resources & Programs (now the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office) for all three campuses in 2008 […].”
The idea for more washroom options gained momentum, however, after a student raised the need for such washrooms at a town hall meeting that took place on November 26, 2014.
“UTM is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive community that protects the human rights of all persons and celebrates diversity,” reads a statement on the Equity and Diversity Office.
“The installation of multi-user all-gender washrooms on campus is an example of this commitment in practice. All-gender washrooms provide inclusive washroom options for everyone, including transgender people and people of diverse gender identities and expressions. They also provide comfortable spaces for community members who require the assistance of a personal care attendant and/or those with young children,” the statement adds.
Weststrate stated that single-user washrooms, including two upstairs in the Student Centre, have been there since 1999, and have been considered “comfortable places” for trans-identifying students and employees, along with other community members who seek all-gender washrooms. The first multi-user, all-gender space was installed in the RAWC in 2006, and had a change room designed for both “privacy and inclusion in mind”.
According to Weststrate, the additions of the washrooms this year presents a continuation of the steps UTM has been taking towards increasing awareness of the needs of the trans community.
Plans to increase the number of all-gender washrooms on campus are in progress. Weststrate expressed that there should “ideally” be at least one all-gender option in each building.