In inclusion initiatives, simple fixes can have significant impacts. As someone who spends a lot of time in the Keohane Sports Center (KSC), I was surprised by a quiet change that occurred last week. On a plaque by the stairwell, a new graphic appeared announcing the addition of gender-neutral bathroom stalls on the garden level of the KSC. Back by the squash courts and the varsity lift rooms, there are now three gender-neutral bathroom stalls: one single-stall and one with two stalls, both of which have main doors that can be locked from the inside.
In the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) meeting minutes from Feb. 24., student representatives associated with the SAAC diversity, equity, and inclusion committee spoke about these changes. They announced that in addition to the new plaques designating the lower-level bathrooms as gender-neutral, the Board of Trustees will convert a closet into a single stall bathroom/shower for a gender-neutral space near the pool deck.
The changes in the KSC are significant steps to making the building more accessible to trans and gender-non-conforming people who use the facilities. Prior to the availability of these new gender-neutral bathrooms, the building had no spaces designated to users who did not feel comfortable using gendered bathrooms or changing stations.
The KSC is now one of the many buildings around campus that have single-stall facilities. Gender-neutral bathrooms protect the right of users to be in the space without having their identity called into question. This one small step made in the KSC is an affirmation that the building welcomes all people, regardless of identity, and sees the importance of designating space for non-cis-gendered users of the facilities.