Newly Labeled Restrooms are a Sign of Inclusion by Lauren Sherman

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Newly Labeled Restrooms are a Sign of Inclusion

Some campus restrooms have now been designated as gender inclusive. 

 The 66 rooms were already in existence as single-stall restrooms but now have a gender-inclusive label, explained Magda Gomez, director of the office of diversity and inclusion, adding the rooms are in support of people who are transgender, non-binary, have disabilities and a caretaker of the opposite gender, or anyone else who wants to use them.

The signage for the rooms was completed on October 8.

Although the restrooms were already there, the move is an attempt at showing support for transgender individuals.

“We were looking to advocate for them,” Gomez said.

Many of the restrooms are focused on the four main campuses and more may be added to other buildings, she said.

John Horton, of Tri-C’s Media Relations department, said “Under college guidelines moving forward, gender-inclusive restrooms will be included in new buildings. Gender-inclusive restrooms were included in the plans for recently-opened facilities such as the STEM Center at Western campus and the liberal arts building at Westshore campus.”

The specific locations are listed at Tri-c.edu/restrooms.

The idea for the project came about several years ago. In 2016 the Sexual Orientation and Gender Equality Council, which is a coalition of faculty and staff, was considering benchmarks of inclusion.

“We had discussed the campus pride index,” said Gomez, who is also a Safe Zone Ally and attends and SOGE meetings. “We were the first community college in Ohio to complete (the index).”

According to campuspride.org, the index measures ways “to increase safety and implement LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices.”

Gender-inclusive restrooms were one thing Tri-C did not have.

“We knew that we wanted to move in that direction,” Gomez said.

“Also, we had passed a capital construction bond for the first time in the history of the institution.”

A committee was formed consisting of members of the SOGE Council, the office of diversity and inclusion and the office of capital construction and they worked together on the project, Gomez said.

The cost of the signage for the restrooms was $20,000, according to Horton.

Michael Flatt, president of SOGE council and an assistant professor of sociology at West campus, said students were also part of the discussions about the changes.

“What these sorts of spaces do is they really signal our values at the college,” he said.

“We are not willing to alienate anyone, and we are inclusive of our full student and employee population.”

He said the reception has been good so far.

 “The overall feedback has been really positive.” 

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