No More Stalling: All User Restroom Opens at Southeast
An all-user restroom opened this summer at PCC’s Southeast campus. PCC has now joined at least eight other Oregon schools in having installed an all-user, multi-stall restroom; this includes local schools like Portland State University, Lane Community College, and Grant High School.
The new restroom has 6 stalls, all with gap-fillers to avoid any possibility of seeing inside. One of these stalls is ADA accessible, and every stall has an individual trash can – an important part of maintaining public health. There is also access to hygiene products via wall dispenser.
The restroom is located in a high traffic area on the first floor of Tabor Hall building, which sees more than 50% of SE campus’ class time. The location was selected precisely due to this high rate of use, in consideration of both student need and public safety. The Trans Related Policy Guidance Task Force concluded that this was both the safest and most useful location to the widest intersection of students. This task force is made up of a coalition of individuals in every level of involvement with the new restroom: students, teachers, advisors and faculty, maintenance and building staff, administrators and public safety.
PCC’s Campus Climate Assessment Report lists in their official recommendations, “Transform existing and create new all-gender/gender-neutral spaces, particularly restrooms and changing rooms in athletic facilities, to respond to safety concerns and create greater comfortability for trans, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer persons,” as a high priority.
The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Executive Summary states:
“More than half (59%) of respondents avoided using a public restroom in the past year because they were afraid of confrontations or other problems they might experience.”
In further safety concern, nearly a third of respondents replied that they chose to limit the amount they ate and drank throughout the day, as to avoid using public restrooms.
Rory, a Cascade student, also shared why this resource was a must for them:
“I am constantly feeling insecure and humiliated by the need to use a gendered restroom. I feel as though to find an All-User restroom I have to search the whole campus to find a place to use the restroom comfortably. . . I really hope that there will be multi-stall, All-User, accessible, and ADA inclusive restrooms available for our PCC community in the near future. . .”
For those that have questions about this change, an information flier is available at myriad locations. There are also gendered restrooms nearby, on the same floor, in sight of the new, All-User restroom.
The flier stresses: “There is no evidence that gender-segregated restrooms are “safer” for cisgender women than unisex restrooms. . . If anything, a concern for safety weighs in favor of restroom accessibility. Transgender people face a uniquely high degree of harassment – nearly one-third (31%) experienced at least one type of mistreatment in the past year in a place of public accommodation. . . “
Rylie, a Rock Creek student, had this to say:
“Access to a multi-stall, All-User restroom means that I don’t have to misgender myself (or put myself in a potentially dangerous situation) when the handful of single-stall, All-User restrooms are occupied. . . [these restrooms] will both normalize my experience while making it safer for [students] who may not be ready to be potentially outed by waiting in line for a single-stall, All-User restroom.”
The term “All-User” is being used for these restrooms because those involved in their advocacy and realization came to understand that trans and nonbinary individuals were not the only ones in need of this resource. Parents and guardians with kids of a different gender can access a restroom without issue or waiting in line; people with disabilities and others who may have an attendant with them also had a need for this resource.
J Gibbons, faculty advisor for the SE campus Queer Resource Center, said “[Also], the City [of Portland] uses “All user” for their restrooms. . . We wanted to provide a sense of continuity of language,” in addition to the new stress on wider accessibility to the students at PCC.
By the end of October of this year, one of the 2nd floor multi-stall restrooms in Cascade Campus’ Student Union building will also be converted to being All-User – with a plan for more to follow.