Columbia to Provide Gender Neutral Bathrooms in Lerner and Dorms

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OMA/GendeRev map of gender neutral restrooms on campus

OMA/GendeRev map of gender neutral restrooms on campus

Update (3/27): Full list of buildings with gender neutral bathrooms under the jump.

Assuming there are no major complications, Columbia plans to add gender neutral bathrooms to its list of summer renovations for Lerner Hall and more. This comes as a result of collaborations between student group GendeRevolution, various members of student government (including University Senator Marc Heinrich, CC ’16, and CCSC VP of Communications Peter Bailinson ’16), and the Lerner Hall administration.

These conversations were sparked in part by results from last year’s Quality of Life Survey, where many self-identified trans students expressed dissatisfaction with various aspects of campus life. Many trans Columbia students find it difficult to feel safe or comfortable in traditionally gendered restrooms–Bwog’s own Features Editor Alexander Pines wrote, “the first time I used the men’s restroom on the fifth floor of Lerner I was literally scared shitless when a janitor walked in” to describe his experiences for The Blue and White.

Over the summer in Lerner Hall, the fourth floor restrooms will be converted to a layout similar to Mel’s while gendered bathrooms will remain on the basement, first, second, third, and fifth floors. All future renovations in residence halls will convert the multi-stall restrooms into several single-use private rooms. Some dorms already have these in place–the fifth and sixth floors of Harmony, for example, have a gender neutral restroom in addition to the gendered hall bathrooms. Over this summer, McBain 7 and 8 will receive gender neutral, single-use bathrooms (it has them on 2 already), as will John Jay 12-15. Check out this map, courtesy of GendeRev, for more gender neutral locations on campus–keep in mind that the map is a couple of years old, though.

This comes a year after Barnard changed their restrooms to gender neutral (by changing the signage) and incoming first years will be able to specify on their Housing application that they would prefer to live in a dorm/on a hall with gender neutral bathrooms.

Buildings and halls with gender neutral bathrooms:

  • John Jay lobby
  • Wallach first floor
  • All Wallach residence floors
  • Schapiro lobby
  • Schapiro 2-9
  • Furnald first floor (two gender inclusive bathrooms on the South end of the building)
  • Carman lobby
  • Broadway lobby
  • Wien 2-10 and 12 (it’s at the end of the hall, not ideal on a big floor)
  • EC
  • Ruggles
  • Hogan
  • 47 Claremont
  • River
  • Nussbaum
  • Hartley suite bathrooms 3-8
  • Watt
  • Woodbridge
  • Symposium
  • The IRC
  • Carman (one bathroom per suite, though suites tend to be single sex)
  • Brownstones
  • Harmony 5 and 6

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  1. Anonymous  

    About damn time. Congrats to everyone who worked on the policy!

  2. serious question from someone who is ignorant  

    Can someone tell me how you feel unsafe a bathroom because you identify as trans. Genuinely curious and am admitting my ignorance.

    • SEAS '15  

      Well, which bathroom should they use? The bathroom of the gender they were born with, or the bathroom of the gender they identify with? Many people are not accepting of the trans* community, and can get angry if they see a trans* individual in a space that is so gender aware.

      So, if I were to be transphobic and I went to the women's room and saw a man who identified as a woman in the bathroom, I would theoretically feel just as violated as if a man was in the bathroom. And I could react really nastily. No one wants to deal with that, and it can be a very unsettling situation to feel so unwelcome and unaccepted.

      Hopefully that was helpful. BTW I'm not trans* or part of the LGBTQ community, so maybe this was super counter productive and I'm going to get screamed at for being ignorant.

    • Alexander Pines  

      (commenting as myself and not as Bwog)

      For me, personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable using the men's restroom--what if there are no stalls? what if the stalls are all taken? what if _____, and so on. Using the bathroom is a pretty vulnerable state and there are days when I'm legitimately afraid of what might happen if someone barged in on me with my pants down. On the other hand, I can't use the women's room--I a) don't identify as female b) am not read as female (so I'd probably get kicked out/wouldn't want to invade women's spaces).

      To comment on SEAS '15's point above, I would only add that first of all, trans women aren't "[men] who identify as women," they're just women--full stop (unless they identify as non binary or genderqueer or anything else--but the point is that most trans people prefer not to be described as "[gender assigned at birth] who identify as [gender]").

      To address also ignorant, the answer is yes--gender neutral bathrooms are like any other bathroom. Literally they mean that anyone can use them. The ones Columbia is adding are for the most part single-use, private restrooms--the bathrooms in Wallach are basically what to expect.


    I don't wanna pee with bitches... wtf

  4. also ignorant  

    So are gender neutral bathrooms the same as unisex bathrooms in that anyone can use them? Also will these be single stalled bathrooms or multiple stalled bathrooms? Forgive me for being ignorant about this.

  5. Anonymous  

    Will these in anyway affect the number of stalls/showers available in dorms?

  6. SEAS '17  

    "Assuming there are no major complications"

    I look forward to seeing these bathrooms at my class's 50th reunion!

  7. What If  

    I'm a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed?

  8. what  

    there are bathrooms on floors 1-5 in lerner?

  9. Born-a-male  

    I would like to use the women's locker room. Yes I'm a man but I think I'm a woman. Thus I have a God-given right to shower with females. Thank you.

  10. Born-a-male  

    "Many trans Columbia students find it difficult to feel safe or comfortable in traditionally gendered restrooms–Bwog’s own Features Editor Alexander Pines wrote, “the first time I used the men’s restroom on the fifth floor of Lerner I was literally scared shitless when a janitor walked in” to describe his experiences for The Blue and White."

    Yeah...gender-neutral bathrooms don't solve this person's problem at all. Basically he wants to only use bathrooms with women.

  11. uhmm  

    as much as I dig gender neutral bathrooms (these are what are called unisex bathrooms in general parlance - aka SINGLE bathrooms people!), i gotta same its lame as fuckk that the author had to google how to take a screenshot (check out the open tabs).

  12. Jess Silfa, GS Alliance  

    In the immortal words of Lil John: "Yeah!"

  13. Doesn't matter...

    .. they all turn into private bathrooms when I deuce...

  14. alumnus

    we shud all get along

    everyone poops

  15. whaaaat  

    so you mean to tell me that if I take a poo, there's a possibility of me walking out of the stall at the same time of a girl who was just doing the same right next to me?

  16. Anonymous

    It's really not that big a deal. You'll get over it in 2 minutes.

  17. FYI

    there's a single stall bathroom in philosophy on the 4th floor. it's a really nice one too.

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