One of the country’s leading colleges — Stanford University — hosted an open house last week for its brand new “all-gender” locker room, intended to make the campus more “inclusive.”
The new locker room, located in the university’s Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, was converted from men’s and women’s restrooms, according to The Stanford Daily. The new facility features five bathroom stalls, three private showers, one private dry changing room, and day-use lockers.
“The Stanford community over the past five or six years has been more vocal about all-gender spaces,” Rebecca Carpenter, assistant athletic director for facilities and operations, told the college’s news agency in August. “We’ve had a handful of faculty, staff, and students meet with us about inclusive opportunities within recreation facilities.”
It's a step in the right direction, according to some students who feel that gyms can be unwelcome spaces. https://t.co/PoovnodMsO
— The Stanford Daily (@StanfordDaily) January 15, 2019
In announcing the decision to designate an “all-gender” locker room, a statement from Stanford described the move as part of “wider efforts to create a more inclusive environment for the campus community.”
Part of the California college’s “wider efforts” is opening “gender-inclusive single-occupancy restrooms” in every building on campus by 2020.
Caroline Zha, a Stanford student and Weiland Health Initiative associate, praised the university for opening an “all-gender” locker room. She told The Stanford Daily, “There aren’t a lot of spaces for students who feel uncomfortable going into either a male or a female bathroom to carry out basic bodily functions.”
Another student, Bobby Radecki, who is also part of the Weiland Health Initiative, told the student newspaper that athletic spaces like the gym and pool, where students might be wearing more revealing clothing, “can be especially distressing to folks who are trans and gender non-conforming who might not be totally comfortable with their bodies.”
Ultimately, Carpenter described the college’s first “all-gender” locker room as “a great first step in being more inclusive of the needs of our community.”
“There’s a lot more we can do,” she said, “but this moves things forward.”