Gender Neutral Bathrooms
As Unitarian Universalists we believe every person is born with dignity and humanity, and that includes their gender expression. We practice that belief by creating welcoming and inclusive spaces. We supports bathroom facilities that are physically accessible (ADA compliant) and open to people of any gender, or “gender neutral,” as an important way to show full welcome and inclusion. UU congregations and all groups who support gender equity are urged to offer gender neutral bathrooms.
Who Benefits from Gender Neutral Bathrooms?
- People who are uncomfortable in men’s or women’s rooms for many reasons; for example, people who are not women or men and/or people who are gender nonconforming.
- Parents/caregivers whose children are a different gender from them
- People with caregivers or personal attendants who are a different gender from them
Thinking of Creating a Gender Neutral Bathroom?
Thinking of turning one or more bathrooms gender neutral? Be sure to create well-facilitated opportunities for staff, members, friends, and children to learn about why gender neutral bathrooms are important to your congregation and dialogue about any concerns they may have.
Make use of our Transgender Identity, Welcome, and Resources. Consider a screening of the video Toilet Training. If there are openly transgender members in your congregation, be sure to privately consult with them and/or invite them into the process of creating gender neutral bathrooms if they are interested.
Easy Options for Gender Neutral Bathrooms
- Have one or more single-occupancy or family bathrooms? Designate and label them “gender neutral” or “all gender.”
- Have three or four multi-stall bathrooms? Turn one or two of them into gender neutral bathrooms. You can either keep them multi-stall or convert them to single-occupancy bathrooms by installing an “occupied/unoccupied” lock on the external door.
- Only have two bathrooms and not in a position to build a third? Consider steps you can take to make your existing bathrooms more inclusive. Can you label them so that people feel empowered to use the bathroom that is most comfortable for them and can trust they won’t be harassed inside?
- Rent or share building space and don’t have control over your bathroom facilities? Consider (a) discussing your desire for gender neutral bathrooms with your landlord or fellow tenants and/or (b) making it a role for the greeters/ushers to create gender neutral bathrooms each week by posting and then removing paper signs.
- Be sure to have signs by your bathrooms and elsewhere that direct people to both your gender neutral bathroom(s) and your gender-specific bathrooms.
- Make it clear that all people may use the bathroom that is right for them. Some transgender people desire gender neutral bathroom space; some identify as women and men and should not be pressured or forced out of women’s or men’s rooms.
- Add your congregation to safe2pee, a directory of gender neutral bathrooms
Examples of Bathroom Signs That Affirm Gender Diversity
- “Our restrooms are for all genders” at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of Northern Westchester, NY
- “Gender diversity is welcomed here” at the UU Congregation of Atlanta, GA
- Gender neutral bathroom sign (PDF) from General Assembly
- Informational bathroom flyers (PDF) from General Assembly
- Gender neutral bathroom tumblr
- “All gender” restroom signs for purchase from My Door Sign
Resources on Safe Bathrooms
- Gender neutral bathroom 101 and FAQ from Portland Community College
- “Transgender People Need Safe Restrooms,” a Huffington Post article by Mason Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Project
- Toilet Training, a 30-minute documentary video on the need for safe bathrooms for all, from Tara Mateik and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Conversation (YouTube) on gender neutral bathrooms on The VUU, a video web series from the Church of the Larger Fellowship