University News

Medical School gets first gender-inclusive bathroom

New concentration, conference on trans health among recent Med School improvements

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Alpert Medical School gained its first gender-inclusive bathroom after prompting by medical students, wrote Associate Dean of Medical Education Allan Tunkel in an email to The Herald.

Noticing there was a single-occupancy bathroom on the second floor of the Med School, Brian Leyva MD’18 and a group of concerned students spoke to Tunkel about the benefits of a gender-inclusive bathroom in September 2015, Leyva said.

“This is a struggle students have fought for at Brown for a while now,” Leyva said. “We really saw a need for this in terms of creating a more inclusive environment at the medical school.”

The process of putting up signs indicating that the bathroom is gender inclusive and on the second floor occurred very quickly, he said, adding that, “It was an easy sell. I think (Tunkel) really saw the benefits of doing this.”

The change will send a message that the Med School is a “transgender-conscious” place and an inclusive environment, Tunkel wrote.

But the new signs are just one aspect of ongoing change as the Med School becomes more gender inclusive, Leyva said. The Med School has also organized a conference that looks to educate doctors and medical students about transgender patient care, he added.

The Med School also recently incorporated an LGBTQ-focused concentration into its curriculum, The Herald previously reported.

In addition, a task force on diversity and inclusion in the Med School that includes administrators, faculty members, residents, med students, alums and staff members was created, Tunkel said.

There is still a “long ways to go” to make transgender — and LGBTQ people in general — comfortable at the Med School, Leyva said. The new bathrooms signs are just “one step, but there is still a lot that needs to be done,” he added.

“Everyone deserves equal access to public facilities,” Levya said. “There have been many reports of trans people facing sexual harassment and violence as a result of people entering these facilities.”