Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 21, 2019

Students Petition To De-Gender All Seattle Law School Bathrooms

Seattle Spectator, Students Petition Law School To De-Gender Bathrooms:

Seattle Law (2019)A Seattle University law student, Seth Alexander, started a petition on campus for the School of Law to de-gender its bathrooms.

Alexander named lack of access as the main issue—the only readily accessible gender-neutral bathrooms in the building are on the third floor and are only accessible through the library.

Alexander and other gender non-conforming students often avoid going to the restroom while in the law school because of this. “Due to the disproportionate amount of class time that I would miss, I do not really have the option of using the bathroom during class,” the petition stated. “Most days, I schedule my bathroom breaks and regulate my liquid intake. Sometimes, on busy days when I do not have a break, I will just wait until I get home.”

The petition also raised concerns about safety for gender non- conforming students who are forced to use gendered restrooms, citing a 2013 study conducted by UCLA in which 70% of transgender respondents reported denial of access, harassment, or assault when attempting to use gendered restrooms.

Cloie Chapman, a third-year JD candidate said that the issue of gender- neutral restrooms is one of safety. “For people who are trans or non- binary, the fear is very real and present,” Chapman said. ...

Bryan Adams, Professor of Law, believes the petition to be a step in the right direction. “I think that the petition is a good idea and I think the letter is really well-written and reasonable in what it’s asking the law school to do,” Adams said. ...

Awareness of the need for gender-neutral restrooms has increased on college campuses nationwide. How the Seattle U School of Law fits into this will likely be decided in the coming months.

Alexander stated that Annette Clark, Dean of the SU School of Law, has received the petition and is planning to meet with Alexander soon.

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


What a self-centered jerk! He feels uncomfortable in either male or female restrooms and so he wants to force all law students, male or female, to feel uncomfortable when they have to use a unisex restroom.

Excuse me if I fail to show the proper sympathy.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Oct 21, 2019 3:28:46 PM

It’s not necessary to “de-gender” all restrooms at a law school to satisfy the needs of the small number of trasgender students, and also the concerns of a much larger number of female students who may, when everyone is pressed for time, have to wait much longer than men to relieve themselves in a restroom (the issue known as “potty parity”).

All that is necessary is to take one or more traditional multi-user male restrooms and, by changing the sign to “All Gender,” make them equally available to females, LGBT students, etc.

At my law school at George Washington University, we did exactly that, and it has worked out very well.

Since our new “All Gender” restroom contains one stall as well as three urinals, women, trans-men, trans-women, and others can use it without either announceing their gender or feeling out of place by being forced to use the “wrong” restroom.

It also avoids the problem of having persons with a penis using a restroom frequented by typical women and girls who may feel embarrassed, see it as an invasion of well-recognized norms of sexual privacy, etc.

For reasons which probably are obvious, typical men rarely if ever express concern or embarrassment if persons with a vagina share their restroom.

Here’s more information:
WJLA-TV - Could Male, Female Restrooms Be a Thing of the Past? GWU Tries out 'All-gender' Restroom

“The university has opened an ‘all-gender’ restroom that is open to every person, regardless of gender identification. The restroom consists of three urinals and one stall, the urinals just inches away from the sink and stall.”

"Now, both types of transgender students - male-to-female and female-to-male - will no longer have to choose between using the restroom assigned to their anatomical gender, or using the one of the other gender where other users are likely to become angry because of an apparent breach of their sexual privacy.”

“Practically any college can do what GWU did, turning a formerly all-male restroom with three urinals and one toilet stall into an ‘all-gender restroom’ by simply changing the sign outside the door from ‘men's restroom’ to ‘all-gender restroom.’"

“Many students with whom WJLA spoke say this is a step in the right direction for the transgender community.”

The WJLA article concluded - “If this "all-gender" bathroom is well-received, Banzhaf believes most other colleges could eventually open all-gender bathrooms of their own.”

Unfortunately, this does not seem to have occurred even though it is such a simple and inexpensive means of providing more than adequate restroom facilities for transgender students and faculty.

Indeed, since most buildings are designed with a male multi-user restroom paired with a nearby female multi-user restrooms, simply converting the male multi-user restrooms into a all-gender multi-user restrooms - at the cost of simply changing the sign on the door - would provide more than enough restroom facilities for all gender-nonconforming people.

See also,

ABA JOURNAL - Law Prof Says His School Is on the Cutting Edge When it Comes to Restrooms

“George Washington University Law School has plunged into a national debate by creating a multiple-use, multi-occupant coed restroom, according to one GW law professor.”

“Last December the law school relabeled as ‘all gender’ a pre-existing male-only restroom with three urinals and a stall.”

“The revamped restroom is a cost-effective way to address the concerns of transgender students torn between using the facilities for either men or women.“

AMD LAW GROUP - George Washington University Law School Creates Unisex Restrooms

“Well, what makes GW’s restrooms so different from other schools who have taken on this challenge? Lots of colleges have unisex restrooms that are single seater or single user. But GW’s restroom goes much further. If a woman walks in, uses the stall and then goes to wash her hands, she could be standing almost thigh-to-thigh with a guy using a urinal, with no modesty wall.”

THE COLLEGE FIX - ‘Potty parity’: Yale Law Converts Two Restrooms to ‘All-Gender’ for LGBT Students

OBSERVER - Bathroom Break: Designers Create New Generation of Gender-Neutral Restrooms


Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Oct 23, 2019 3:02:54 PM

At Detroit Mercy Law, we recently converted two faculty restrooms into all-gender restrooms. With this move, we now have eight all-gender restrooms at the law school. All-gender restrooms are helpful for transgender people, gender-non-conforming people, and people wanting additional privacy for whatever reason. Additionally, all-gender restrooms help those who have a caregiver of a different gender than themselves, including many disabled people, elderly people and children. Our law school is a more welcoming, inclusive place for LGBTQ+ people and others as a result of this change.

Posted by: Catherine Archibald | Oct 28, 2019 9:52:20 AM