In early September a multi-stall gender neutral bathroom quietly opened its doors on the 4th floor of Smith Memorial Student Union. The remodeled former women’s restroom turned gender-neutral bathroom is conveniently located in close proximity to the Queer Resource Center. The purpose of the bathroom is to give trans and gender queer (folks who do not identify within binary gender labels) students and staff access to a bathroom in an environment free of gendered expectations. How simple. And on Portland State’s campus, where years of gender-neutral bathroom advocacy has already been underway, how easy.
What is so notable about this new bathroom is how little people are talking about it. Unfortunately, such public gender-neutral facilities are a rare treat on most college campuses for the communities that need them. Providing gender-neutral facilities is a cost effective and simple way to support trans and gender queer students and staff on campus. I am proud and feel lucky to work at a university that is ahead of the curve in its institutional support for trans and gender queer students. If you haven’t visited the gender neutral bathroom yet, I encourage you to stop by. After all, it’s no big deal.