Gender neutral washrooms

Gender neutral washrooms are often central in discussions of transgender inclusivity in public spaces. The Washroom Inclusivity Project is no different in this, mapping the location of gender neutral toilets is the most visible manifestation of inclusivity that we can provide. Ensuring these washrooms exist and mapping them out is only the beginning of the discussion though, as part of a broader and more nuanced look at gender inclusivity it is also important to talk about why these facilities exist and how they might become sites of discrimination or of exclusion.

There are two reasons why transgender people will use a gender neutral washroom. The first is that they do not identify as either male or female and are not comfortable entering gendered spaces. The second is that they identify as either male or female but fear the harassment and expulsion that may occur should they be misgendered by other washroom users. In the first case gender neutral washrooms are the perfect solution, in the second they are reinforcing patterns of discrimination. Explicitly or implicitly directing a trans person towards gender neutral washroom undermines the their identity and is an act of exclusion.

In Canada we have legislation that protects transgender peoples choice of washrooms, this legislation is new though, the 'bathroom bill' was only approved by the house of commons in 2013. The University of Toronto supported inclusivity long before this time, and continues to show there conviction to transgender inclusivity through programs like the washroom inclusivity project.