University College Dublin (UCD) is re-designating over 170 bathrooms across campus as gender neutral and will introduce transgender changing facilities in its sport centre.
The move is part of the Gender Identity and Expression Policy, a new policy which aims to provide a welcoming environment for transgender and genderfluid staff and employees. The proposed action contains plans to make all single-stall bathrooms gender neutral. Transgender students will also be allowed to change their names on official university documents, such as library cards, without gender recognition certificates.
A UCD employee and student working group developed the policy in consultation with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and over 4,000 students. To date, over 80 UCD staff have been trained around the implementation of the college’s Gender Identity and Expression Policy.
The new signs for the bathrooms will likely have symbols denoting a male, a female and another symbol where the left side of the figure is male and the other female. Multi-stall changing facilities in the sports centre are also to have signs to allow transgender people to choose the whichever facility they identify with. According to the college’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group, the sign will read “Please choose the facilities that best fit your gender”.
Professor Colin Scott, UCD’s Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, commented that the change celebrates the diverse genders reflected across its staff and student population.
Dublin City University (DCU) and Trinity, among others, have unveiled gender-neutral bathrooms in the past. Trinity has also approved that the title given to first and second year undergraduate students be changed from “Freshman” to the gender-neutral term “Fresh”.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, officially launch the policy today and has praised the move as a step towards “equality for all”. Zappone added: “Our universities are drivers of change, promoters of equality and champions of justice.”