SEATTLE -- Students at the University of Washington are taking a stand, calling on officials to make way for more gender-neutral restrooms. Transgender students say there are simply not enough on campus.
Currently, officials say each new building on the UW campus includes at least one gender-neutral restroom. However, students are calling for more of the facilities in older buildings. The restrooms will benefit people like UW senior Oly Pearce, who was born a female but does not identify as female or male.
"There's a disconnect between the body I was given and the body that I would've chosen for myself," explained Pearce.
Pearce identifies as Agender -- part of a larger community that says its voice needs to be heard when it comes to something as basic as restrooms.
"Right now, it's more of looking at buildings that already exist and figuring out how we can fit a universal bathroom in that space," said Pearce.
Students say universal restrooms are best. Universal restrooms are open to anyone, meeting the needs of not only transgender people but also those who have babies and those with disabilities. The call for these facilities is nothing new, but there is fresh outreach aimed at university officials to get the job done.
The university says an audit is underway to determine the number of gender-neutral and universal restrooms on campus. Officials say they plan to install more, but a total number and deadline to do so have not been made public.
"Having to look at gendered restrooms and choose one or the other becomes a matter of do I choose physical safety or emotional safety? Do I choose physical health or mental health?" asked Pearce.
Transgender students hope to eventually see a universal restroom wherever male and female restrooms are located. Students tell KING 5 they feel too much time has gone by without seeing more gender-neutral and universal restrooms, but they are optimistic more will actually come their way.