Gender-Inclusive Washrooms

Inclusive washrooms are designed to anticipate and accommodate the different needs of people likely to be using the facilities. Three common barriers that prevent people from accessing washrooms in public spaces include:

  • lack of physical accessibility
  • lack of privacy
  • restrictive cultural norms in terms of gender identity and presentation

Increasing the number of single-user, unisex-designated, physically accessible washrooms on campus is one way to increase everybody's access, comfort and safety. The benefits of barrier-free washrooms transcend individual needs, and the presence of barrier-free washrooms on campus can help set the tone for an inclusive, welcoming campus environment.

Who Benefits?

Physical Accessibility

People with mobility limitations are disproportionately impacted by a lack of physically accessible bathrooms, and have limited access to public bathroom facilities both at McGill and in wider Montreal. Depending on the mobility limitation, and the device used to palliate it (eg., wheelchair, cane, etc.) there are many design features to consider when evaluating bathroom accessibility.  For example, the door must be wide enough to allow a motorized wheelchair to pass through it, and once inside the bathroom, there must be sufficient floor space for a wheelchair to comfortably navigate turns.  Faucet height, toilet height, and presence of a grab bar are additional considerations.

Single User

While many people appreciate privacy while using the bathroom, for some people the need for privacy is critical.  A few examples of situations with increased privacy needs:

  • People with certain chronic medical conditions may require more or different types of privacy; for example, those needing to perform regular injections, or with a colostomy bag
  • People practicing religious rites, ie. someone performing an ablution prior to prayer or worship.
  • People using environmentally friendly menstrual products such as the Keeper or Mooncup
  • People with anxiety

Unisex Designated

Trans is an umbrella term intended to include all people whose gender identity does not align with the sex designation they were assigned at birth.  Within this umbrella category, some may identify as transgender, transsexual, gender non-conforming, and a host of other terms. Trans and gender non-conforming people are disproportionately affected by norms that are restrictive and non-affirming of gender identity, gender diversity, and gender presentation. While many trans people may be comfortable with or prefer to use a sex-designated bathroom that correlates with their gender identity and presentation (and this is an important right that should be upheld) others may feel safer or more comfortable in a singer-user unisex designated space.  For trans people who experience gender policing and harassment in sex-designated spaces, not having to navigate this while using the facilities can be a relief.

People with young children whose gender identity differs from their own find may also benefit from single-user unisex-designated bathrooms.

History

McGill students, staff, and faculty began working on creating Gender Inclusive bathrooms (formerly called Gender Neutral Bathrooms) on campus beginning in 2003.  McGill's Subcommittee on Queer People, and a student group named Transgender Alliance, worked with McGill's Campus Planning and Development Office to identify and convert a number of bathrooms over the course of 2007-2008.

The Joint Board-Senate Committee on Equity passed the following policy relating to Gender Inclusive bathrooms in May of 2007:

The university shall assure the existence of at least one gender-neutral washroom in every newly constructed building on campus, and preferably one on every floor of every newly constructed building, where possible.

The university shall modify any existing single-user washrooms on campus by resigning them with gender-neutral signs and adding interior door locks. These cost-effective measures should be applied to all existing single-user washrooms where possible, with the minimum goal being one per building where such single-user facilities exist, and preferably one per floor where such pre-existing single-user facilities exist.

Beginning in 2012, an ad-hoc committee began meeting to expand the existence of physically accessible and unisex-designated single user facilities.  The following units and groups have contributed to this initiative:

  • Office for Students with Disabilities
  • Subcommittee on Queer People
  • Subcommittee for Persons with Disabilities
  • Social Equity and Diversity Education Office
  • Queer McGill’s Trans* Working Group
  • Campus Planning and Development Office

Index of Gender-Inclusive Washrooms at McGill

Building

Washrooms

[Bolded locations are physically accessible & locations with an asterisk currently lack adequate signage]

Adams Frank Dawson Building – 3450 University

304*, 122, 7

Arts Building – 853 Sherbrooke

F*, B-51A*

Beatty Hall – 1266 Pine

32A*, 45A*, 50*, 65A*

Bookstore – 3420 McTavish

204, 205

Bronfman – 1001 Sherbrooke

30, 382, 446

Brown, William & Mary, Student Service Building – 3600 McTavish

442, 2005, 3014, 3006, 4002, 4003, 4013, 4510,

4511, 5015, 5013, 5010

Chancellor Day Hall – 3644 Peel

41*, 50, 263, 303, 524, 610

Charles Meredith House – 1130 Pine

B3

Davis House – 3654 Sir William Osler

9, 9A, B4*, B5*

Department of East Asian Studies - 3434 McTavish

104, 307

Department of Family Medicine - 517 Pine

007, 103B, 210

Department of Jewish Studies - 3438 McTavish

006*,104, 107, 203

Department of Linguistics - 1085 Penfield

311, 211, 313, 217, 114, 323, 225, 122, 226*,

0023*, 103, 203, 303, 003

Department of Oncology - 546 Pine

103, 204, 304

Department of Social Studies of Medicine - 3647 Peel

110, 311, 311A

Duff, Lyman, Medical-Stewart Building – 1205 Doctor-Penfield

326*

Duggan House Annex – 3740 McTavish

104A*, 104B*

Education Building – 3700 McTavish

B 139

Elizabeth Wirth Music Building/ Library – 527 Sherbrooke

A003, A208, A302, A402, A502, A604, A704, A804

Faculty Club – 3450 McTavish

14A

Faculty of Medicine - 3605 Mountain

120, 205, 206, 317, 318

Ferrier, James, Building – 840 Doctor-Penfield

103*

First People’s House - 3505 Peel

G4

Genome - 740 Penfield

5011, 6011, 7011, 3014, 2012, 2013, 4014

Hosmer Annex – 3541 Montagne

1*

Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies - 3487 Peel

204*

James Administration Annex – 845 Sherbrooke

154A, 255A

Leacock, Stephen, Building – 855 Sherbrooke

505

Life Sciences Complex – 3649 Sir William Osler

605

Macdonald Engineering Building – 817 Sherbrooke

284, 568A, 568B

Macdonald-Stewart Library – 809 Sherbrooke

605, 606, 406, 407

Martlet House – 1430 Peel

310*

McGill Assosciation of Continuing Education - 3437 Peel

102, 201, 301, 401

McLennan Library – 3459 McTavish

M1-19D*, M1-19G*, M1-12B, M1-12C, M6-37C

Montreal Neurological Institue and Hospital - 527 Pine

140

Morrice Hall – 3485 McTavish

15

 

 

Ombudsman - 3610 McTavish

12-5

Otto Maass – 801 Sherbrooke

329A

Peterson Hall – 3460 McTavish

58, 68

Pulp & Paper Research Centre – 3420 University

2nd and 3rd floors; basement #13 & #15

Purvis Hall – 1020 Pine

35B, 18*

Redpath, Peter Library – 3459 McTavish

RM02B*, R307, R309

School of Environment - 3534 University

22, 32

School of Information Studies - 3661 Peel

107, 209, 309, B11A*, B11*

Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building – 3640 University

1/52

Strathcona Music Building – 555 Sherbrooke

1st floor C115

Thomson, David House – 3650 McTavish

305*, 202 ( annex) *

Trottier, Lorne Maurice Building – 3630 University

1040, 2040, 3040, 4040, 5040

University Centre – 3480 McTavish

446, 423B*

Wilson Morris Memorial Hall – 3506 University

109, 213

Wong Building – 3610 University

5060, 7060

1140 Pine

31*, 21*, 08*,

3430 McTavish

100, 200

3459 Peel

106, 309, B08*

3463 Peel

106, 309, B08*

3465 Peel

305*

3479 Peel

3A

3491 Peel

308*

3550 University

107, 50A

3626 Saint-Urbain

434, 235, 431, 231

3647 McTavish

1

3690 Peel

103, 209*, 309*

515 Pine

105, 005, 503

3641 University

103

 

 


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For more information about traditional territory and tips on how to make a land acknowledgement, visit our Land Acknowledgement webpage.


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