By Alex Downham
Signs designating two Ryerson Student Campus Centre washrooms as gender-neutral were a source of complaints last week, leading the Ryerson Student Union to remove them.
The sign removal was an agreement between the RSU, RyePRIDE and the Centre for Women and Trans People after receiving an outside complaint, according to the RSU. The RSU and the equity service centres said in an email that they are working to end the “lack of gender-inclusive spaces on campus.”
“We’re still deciding the best strategy to helping Trans students,” said Pascale Diverlus, RSU vice-president of equity.
The signs were meant to provide an “immediate,” safe washroom for Trans people who feel uncomfortable in gender specific lavatories.
One sign “apologizes for the unnecessary gendering” of the bathrooms, saying they are for “any gender, no matter what it might say on the door.” Another lists expected etiquette in the lavatory, telling readers to “refrain from making unwelcoming comments or looks.”
The signs were located on the SCC’s second floor, where equity service centres such as RyePRIDE, the Centre for Women and Trans People, RyeACCESS and the Trans Collective reside.
Despite removing the signs, Diverlus said the RSU “completely supports and works with the Centre for Women and Trans People, RyePRIDE, RyeACCESS, and the Trans Collective in their efforts to get gender-neutral washrooms and policies in the university that reflects this.”
The equity service centres said they are working with the RSU and CESAR, while Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said the school is “currently in discussions about installing gender-neutral washrooms on campus.”
There are presently 44 unisex, single-stall washrooms located across the university. However, Levy said new Trans-positive washrooms would contain multiple sinks, mirrors and fully enclosed stalls.
There have been inquiries from individual students and advocacy groups to create multiple-stall washrooms for Trans people, according to Diverlus.
“We’re doing our best to create a campus that is inclusive for, in this case, Trans students and those [that are] a part of that community,” she said. “We need more conversation.”
To heighten dialogue on the topic, a Trans Collective is being created in affiliation with RyePRIDE to “create avenues for Trans and gender non-conforming folks on campus to be able to take a lead on this work,” Diverlus said.
As this coalition is created, she looks forward to discussing policies with these parties and ensuring the safety of Trans students.