NIU holds 37 gender-inclusive restrooms, plans to create more

All+gender+restrooms+are+for+anyone+regardless+of+their+gender+identity+or+expression.+The+Gender+and+Sexuality+Resource+Center+has+created+seven+additional+all+gender+restrooms+since+2018.

Summer Fitzgerald

All gender restrooms are for anyone regardless of their gender identity or expression. The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center has created seven additional all gender restrooms since 2018.

By Jaylen Conwell, News Reporter

DeKALB — NIU has been promoting gender inclusion and diversity by creating seven new gender-inclusive bathrooms since 2018. 

A gender-inclusive bathroom is open to all people regardless of gender identity. 

The first gender-inclusive bathroom was created on campus in 2016 because of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center push. NIU has not stopped at single-stall facilities; there are now numerous multiple-stall gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus. 

Gender-inclusive bathrooms give people more options as well as more privacy; these facilities are not only used by members of the transgender community but also accommodates other groups, such as people with children and people with disabilities, by supplying accessible stalls as well as changing stations. 

“People enjoy experiences at NIU because we promote diversity and inclusion,” said Molly Holmes, program director at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. 

Holmes said students feel excited about having these bathrooms as it gives them a sense of belonging. 

“Gender-neutral bathrooms make everyone feel comfortable and provide a great environment for everyone,” Holmes said.

After creating the first gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus in 2016, the university quickly expanded to 30 facilities by 2018. As of 2021, NIU has a total of 37 gender-inclusive bathrooms and they plan on creating more. 

Gender-inclusive bathrooms can be found all across campus; there are five single-stall facilities located in the Holmes Student Center, two multi-stall facilities in Reavis Hall, eight single-stall facilities in Grant Hall, two multi-stall facilities in the Founders Library, two multi-stall facilities in the Psychology/Computer Science building and more. A full list can be found on the Gender and Sexuality Center website. 

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is in the process of creating more bathroom options all across campus. Students and staff can give feedback on where they think bathrooms should go by contacting the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. 

Gender-inclusive bathrooms are typically funded through the university; the funding comes from money allocated to buildings for maintenance. 

John Heckmann, associate vice president of facilities management and campus services, said that because gender-inclusive bathrooms are generally converted from existing facilities, the conversion cost is typically a few hundred dollars. Facilities are currently being converted into gender-inclusive restrooms in the Wellness and Literacy Center, Graham Hall, Health Services Building and Psych-Computer Science Building. 

For more information, connect with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. To suggest new locations for gender-inclusive bathrooms, email Molly Holmes at mbholmes@niu.edu