Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Law Schools Are The Latest Battleground For Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Following up on my previous post, Students Petition To De-Gender All Seattle Law School Bathrooms:, Law Schools Are the Latest Battleground for Gender-Neutral Bathrooms:

GenderAt Seattle University School of Law, students who want to use one of the school’s two fully accessible gender-neutral bathrooms must travel up to the third floor of the law library via a specific stairwell or elevator.

At the University of Minnesota Law School, students seeking one of the school’s two gender-neutral bathrooms must go to the library’s fourth floor—a trip that can take up to 10 minutes.

Students on both campuses are lobbying administrators to add gender-neutral restrooms, following in the footsteps of Yale law students who successfully pushed to add the school’s first multi-stall gender-neutral restrooms earlier this year. Yale in February dedicated two new such restrooms, which required a legal challenge to a Connecticut building code that mandated a certain number of restrooms for men and women in every building.

Their counterparts at Seattle and Minnesota hope to achieve similar success.

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink



It’s not necessary to “de-gender” all restrooms at a law school to satisfy the needs of the small number of transgender 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 announcing 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, and/or 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 | Nov 27, 2019 2:11:47 PM

Just don't. You'll upset the PC Babies.

Posted by: nemo | Nov 27, 2019 6:45:09 PM

We did this at the University of La Verne a few years ago - before California law required it.

Posted by: Diane Klein | Nov 27, 2019 10:57:11 PM

I always thought this division inured to the benefit of women, but if feminism dictates that women should be sitting in the stall next to some dude dropping a heater, then so be it!

Posted by: Common sense | Nov 28, 2019 4:58:58 PM

We added gender neutral restrooms a few years ago.

Posted by: Howard Law | Nov 29, 2019 1:49:17 PM