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all-gender restroom

Inside: Washrooms and Locker Rooms

Sept. 1, 2021

UNLV adds all-gender bathrooms

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has significantly increased the number of all-gender bathrooms on its campuses.

The university says in a news release that the upgrades are the result of research and student feedback about top safety concerns on college campuses.

The Maryland Parkway and Shadow Lane campuses now have 165 all-gender classrooms, 129 of which have baby changing stations. These facilities are individual public restrooms, each with one toilet and one sink. Before the project began, the campuses had 13 all-gender restrooms and just eight included baby changing stations.

In 2019, UNLV formed a Safety and Security Working Group to identify key issues that affect the well-being of members of the campus community. The need for all-gender restrooms emerged as a top priority.

“We know that the benefits of all-gender restrooms run deeper than providing safety for trans and non-binary individuals,” said Barbee Oakes, who was the university’s chief diversity officer until she retired earlier this year. “Achieving this goal also has the potential to fundamentally transform the way that we think about gender equity; and signals that UNLV is striving to provide an equitable, inclusive campus for everyone.”

Research shows that gender-non-conforming students across the country face specific challenges that could be alleviated with the availability of all-gender restrooms.

Custodial crews conducted an inventory of all the single-fixture restrooms on UNLV’s two campuses and determined which ones could accommodate baby changing stations while maintaining required restroom standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Facilities management teams began installation and collaborated with colleagues in athletics and residence hall buildings to have signs and changing tables installed in their buildings.

Appeals court to hear transgender bathroom case

A full federal appeals court in Atlanta will hear the case of a transgender male student who was denied use of a boys’ bathroom in 2017 at a Florida high school.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a ruling by a three-judge panel that had ruled in the student's favor. The judges said in a 2-to-1 opinion that a St. Johns County (Fla.) School Board policy preventing Drew Adams from using boys’ bathrooms violated his rights.

After that ruling, the St. Johns board petitioned the full appeals court to re-hear the case; the court has granted the request.

Drew Adams was born a biological female, but in eighth grade told his parents he was a transgender male. He and his mother sued the St. Johns board in 2017 after administrators at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla., required Adams to use a gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom or girls’ bathrooms.

The three-judge appellate panel had ruled that the district’s policy about bathroom use was arbitrary because it relies on information submitted when students enroll in the district, rather than on updated information. Adams began attending the district in fourth grade, with information listing him as a female, but he later obtained legal documents listing him as a male. While the case wound its way through the courts, Adams graduated from Nease High School.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the Human Rights Campaign has sued to overturn a law that denies transgender students, faculty, and staff access to bathrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. The suit contends that the Tennessee law violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs.

“When I started 7th grade, I just wanted to blend in,” said Alex, 14, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Having to use a ‘special’ bathroom made me stand out because other kids would wonder why I didn’t just use the boys’ bathroom. It was also a pain because the bathrooms I was allowed to use were not close to any of my classes. So, I just stopped having anything to drink during the day.”

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