VIU designates 22 “non-gendered” washrooms at Nanaimo campus

VIU designates 22 “non-gendered” washrooms at Nanaimo campus

Sent on behalf of the Positive Space Alliance, the Human Rights Advisory Committee, and Katrin Roth von Szepesbela, Director, Human Rights and Respectful Workplace 

VIU recently designated 22 single-stall washrooms at the Nanaimo campus as “non-gendered.” These washrooms are no longer marked for use with the symbol designating use by men or women, and are now open for use by anyone who wishes to use them (see attached image of the new door symbols).

This change was brought about through the ongoing work of the Positive Space Alliance, Human Rights Advisory Committee, and Human Rights and Respectful Workplace Office at VIU. These groups work towards increasing accessibility for all VIU community members, including the designation of non-gendered, inclusive washrooms, which are open for all to use discretely, anonymously, and without fear of incident.

While the non-gendered washrooms are open to all, those who wish to use men-only and women-only washrooms will still have those options close by. The change to non-gendered washrooms in some campus buildings has been made for a number of reasons:

  • People who do not identify as male or female, including transsexual people and gender non-conforming people, may feel unsafe or unwelcome in washrooms labeled men-only or women-only.
  • People caring for children of the opposite sex must choose between bringing the child into a washroom not designated for the child’s gender, or entering a washroom not designated for their own.
  • Men caring for babies often find that only the women-specific washroom has a change table.
  • People with disabilities who need assistance to use the washroom may have a personal care attendant that is not of the same gender.
  • It supports one of VIU’s core values: diversity.
For further information, please contact Katrin Roth von Szepesbela, Director, Human Rights and Respectful Workplace, at 250.740.6430 or by email at humanrights@viu.ca.