Northwestern University is set to bring gender sensitivity to the school's bathrooms.
Two bathrooms in the school’s student center will be converted before September to "gender open" status to improve inclusivity, the school announced earlier this month. The bathrooms are located near several student group spaces, including the LGBT Resource Center and aim to make students, particularly those who are transgender, more comfortable, according to the school.
The Illinois school is the latest university to add gender-neutral facilities; more than 150 campuses across the country already have them, according to The College Fix.
Lawmakers and courts have given transgender issues more attention in recent months. Last summer, California lawmakers approved a bill that will allow public school students to choose their bathrooms and sports team based on their gender identity; in January, Maine’s Supreme Court ruled that a school had violated a young transgender student’s rights when they denied her access to the women’s bathroom; in February, a Utah Republican proposed a bill preventing transgender students from choosing their bathroom facilities.
“Norris is happy to partner on this important initiative to foster inclusion in the university center,” Kelly Schaefer, executive director of the Norris University Center, said in the school's release.
The restrooms themselves won’t change, but the signs will. Later in the fall, another bathroom a few floors down will be renovated into a single-stall, gender-open bathroom, to be an additional “safe space,” the university added.
The decision will reinforce “that the university center is a place for all members of the community,” the school said.