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Emerson Adds Inclusive Restrooms

Emerson College is changing the way restrooms across campus are labeled and adding new signage to ensure that all members of the Emerson Community and visitors have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Starting with the 2016 fall semester, the following changes will be made:

  • All single-occupancy restrooms on campus will be labeled “Inclusive.”
  • The majority of multi-stall restrooms across campus will continue to be designated for “Women” or “Men,” but will now include signage affirming that gender diversity is welcome at Emerson, and community members should use the restroom that best fits their gender identity.
  • Select restrooms in five campus buildings will switch from gender-specific restrooms to being labeled “Inclusive,” meaning any person may use it.

Any community member who wants to use a gender-specific restroom will continue to have ample opportunities in every campus building.  Transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming members of the Emerson Community will now have new options that reflect Emerson’s commitment to inclusion, said Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sylvia Spears.

“It’s about access and choice for everyone,” Spears said.

For transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming individuals, gender-specific restrooms can be a place where they are met with intimidation, harassment, and/or violence,” Spears said in an email to the community. “We believe having a safe place to go is a fundamental right of all members of our community.” 

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has already designated gender inclusive restrooms on the tenth floor of the Walker Building, but the move to broaden inclusive options across campus originated last spring from EAGLE (Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone).

The students took an inventory of all restrooms on Emerson’s campus, along with traffic patterns, and developed a proposal, which was presented to Vice President Spears. The proposal was shared with President Lee Pelton and other campus representatives and adopted.

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