AUBURN, Wash. – Some of the main restrooms on the Green River Community College campus are being transformed into gender neutral spots this week to raise awareness for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Both men and women can use the designated bathrooms, but these aren’t the single stall kind that let you lock the door so nobody can get in. These are your typical multi-stall restrooms.
Why the change?
"Let’s say there’s a transgender born a male transitioning to be a female and there is male in there and assumes it might be a female and they don't like that, and harasses them. That student is not going to use the restroom anymore,” said Dani Chang, GRCC Director of Student Services.
While there hasn’t been an issue yet, Chang said the college wants to be proactive instead of reactive. The college also said it has very few single stall bathrooms, which is why it is making the transition using larger restrooms.
Fliers are being placed across campus this week explaining the change. There will be signs covering the men and women symbols on the bathrooms. For international students, there will be posters explaining the change in several languages.
Not everyone is pleased with the idea of sharing the restrooms.
“I’d probably leave just because there is that danger of a man and a woman in a bathroom alone, especially since there aren’t one seater stalls. They’re open bathrooms with, like, four stalls and, you know, anything could happen,” said a student named Rachel. “I just makes me nervous.”
Rachel also said she is upset because the move was approved by school administrators without asking for opinions from the entire student body.
Administrators say the change could be permanent if all goes well this week.