BY SYDNEY BORTON
Sheridan College recently installed new signage around Trafalgar Campus, including on the doors of single-stall washrooms.
The Centre for Equity and Inclusion has introduced “universal washrooms” across Sheridan’s three campuses to cater to a number of people, most notably the LGBT+ community.
“The idea was to create a space that could be used by anyone,” said Glenn Walsh, a specialist with the centre.
“There was some stigma attached to able-bodied people using a washroom that had an accessible sign on it, so these signs are to let people know that anybody can use them, regardless of gender or disability.” said Walsh, “That’s why we used the word ‘universal’.”
Trafalgar Campus in particular now has 10 universal washrooms that can be used by “people of all genders, people who need physical accessibility, people who have someone assisting them, people with small children, [and] people who just need privacy”, according to the new signs.
The Halton District School Board has also recently introduced gender inclusive washrooms in all of its secondary schools. White Oaks Secondary School in particular has five “all-gender” washrooms spread across its two campuses. The decision to include these washrooms came from the school board itself.
“We converted some of our single-stall washrooms into these gender-neutral washrooms simply by removing the male or female sign,” said John Stieva, principal of White Oaks.
Stieva thought it was important that not every washroom was converted to a gender-neutral washroom in order to ensure that cisgender (people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth) students were still comfortable using the washroom.
“[Having these washrooms] reduces embarrassment for everyone,” said Stieva. “It makes sure all their rights are respected.”
Sheridan’s universal washrooms can be found at the following locations:
A WING: across from A104b, next to A304g
B WING: near B108, across from B309 and beside B314 (2 washrooms)
C WING: next to C212 (near security)
H WING: H302 (behind the door to the nursing hallway)
J WING: J102 (door opener button can be difficult to reach)
M WING: between the two gendered washrooms
A BUILDING: main floor (at Starbucks: marked with gendered signs, but either available washroom can be used)
B BUILDING: B165
B WING: by B130 (Student Health and Wellness Centre Hallway)
C WING: by C114 (near the Learning Commons and Library [door opener sticks sometimes])
E WING: near vending machines at C Wing entrance (has door opener)
H WING: HB09 (basement, not physically accessible)
J WING: J107 (by elevator), J124, J126, J207 (by elevator), J309 (by elevator)
SSU STUDENT CENTRE: by Coffee Loft entrance (2nd floor)