Roughly 28 percent of students support making all multi-user bathrooms gender-neutral, 47 percent support making some bathrooms gender-neutral and 15 percent do not support converting any bathrooms, according to a recent poll conducted by The Herald.
Students who identified as gay were significantly likelier to support converting all bathrooms to gender-neutral than were heterosexual or bisexual students, the poll found.
Male students were about three times more likely than female students to say they did not have a preference about the issue. Agnostic and atheist students were likelier to support converting some or all bathrooms than students who identified as practicing any religion.
A plurality of respondents favored the conversion of some, but not all, bathrooms to gender-neutral.
Isabel Balazs ’17 said though she does support having gender-neutral bathrooms, it is “harmful” for people to disregard the gender-separated facilities in case someone has experienced “some sort of sexual trauma.”
Lena Barsky ’14 also said dorms need both types of bathrooms. Gender-neutral bathrooms are a necessary safe space for students who are gender neutral, she said, adding that they are not necessarily a place where individuals who identify as males and those who identify as females should mix.
Barsky said gendered bathrooms should be maintained so students who haven’t had exposure to living with peers of other genders, especially students from countries where gender roles are deeply ingrained and rigidly defined, are not forced into uncomfortable situations.
The Office of Residential Life put gender-neutral bathroom signs on all bathroom doors during this summer’s renovation of Keeney Quadrangle, The Herald previously reported. ResLife officials said the signs had been put up by accident, and as of last week, all multi-user restroom signs in Keeney had been switched back to indicate gendered bathrooms.
Several units in Keeney have created their own gender-neutral signs in protest, while others have agreed to ignore the changes in signage.
“Changes to residential policies are typically made through student proposals brought forward to the Residential Council. The council reviews these proposals and votes to either support or deny (them),” wrote Natalie Basil, director of residential experience for ResLife, in an email to The Herald.
“Any proposals the council supports would then move forward as recommendations to the Office of Residential Life,” she added.
To date, Basil wrote, no proposals have been brought to the Residential Council regarding gender-neutral bathrooms.