UTS introduces all gender bathrooms

Elizabeth Green

Art: Bella Meagher | @kovvu

 

All gender bathrooms will be available in ten buildings across the UTS campus, intended to create a more inclusive university environment.

 

Shirley Alexander, UTS Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education and Students), said: “The initiative demonstrates that commitment to understanding the diversity of students and how UTS is doing everything it can to accommodate that diversity.

 

“I hope everyone is proud of the step we have taken.”

 

The new all-gender accessible bathrooms have been converted from existing unisex accessible bathrooms intended for students with disability and access issues.  

 

Members of the UTS LGBTQI+ community have critiqued the use of disability accessible bathrooms.

 

Dashie Prasad, UTS Queer Officer for 2018, said: “We need to make sure that gender neutral facilities are separate from disabled facilities because trans people aren’t disabled [as a nature of their trans identity].”

 

“It’s great what they’ve given us, but we deserve more than the scraps.” Mx Prasad said.  

 

UTS deemed existing accessible bathrooms as “the most appropriate existing facilities.”

 

When asked about the utilisation of accessible toilets, Ms Alexander said: “We considered a range of options…but we just don’t have the space on campus for all toilets.”

 

Rhiannon Soliman, UTS Queer Officer for 2019, said: “I’m pretty sure the ‘all gender’ bathrooms were just the disabled bathrooms that have been re-labelled, and we definitely don’t want to take away from much-needed accessible bathrooms… I think it’s something to be celebrated nonetheless.”

 

The decision to implement the all gender bathrooms comes after a 2018 campaign by the UTSSA Queer Collective and the UTS Students’ Association.

 

A petition created by the UTSSA Queer Collective for all gender bathrooms received approximately 700 signatures.

 

Kirra Jackson, Education Vice President of UTS Students’ Association, said: “Bathrooms have been a place where people’s genders are questioned, and trans people face violence, and so the introduction of gender neutral bathrooms ensure that these things are less likely to happen, and to tell trans people, they ARE welcome at UTS.”

 

Jo Tilly, manager of Diversity & Inclusion at UTS, said: “I think it’s fantastic that it’s finally happened and it does send a message that everyone is welcome on our campus.

 

“That’s exactly the message we’re wanting to be sending.”

 

The all gender bathrooms will be available in the following buildings:

  • Building 1 (The Tower)
  • Building 3 (Bon Marche)
  • Building 4 (Science)
  • Building 5, Blocks A, B, and C
  • Building 6 (DAB)
  • Building 7 (Vicki Sara Building)
  • Building 8 (Dr Chau Chak Wing Building)
  • Building 10
  • Building 11 (FEIT)

 

According to Ms Alexander, all new UTS buildings will be equipped with all gender bathrooms, including the new Building 2.

 

Edited 11 February 6:35pm: “[as a nature of their trans identity]” added.