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Beyond the Bathroom

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There has been much to say on the successful lobbying for and implementation of gender neutral toilets this year, thanks to the Gender Neutral Toilets policy passed at Student Council back in February, and consecutive previous councils. While the progress has been fantastic, it must continue beyond this year alone.

Union resolves one mandates SU representatives "to campaign to Estates and Facilities to create university regulations which ensure that all university owned buildings have at least one accessible GNT". Through further discussions with Jamie Vincent, Cambridge Trans* Rep, around trans students' interest in Gender Neutral changing facilities as a means of improving their access to sporting facilities, it seemed pertinent to include working on those needs as part of the wider policy mandate regarding gender neutral toilets.

The below recommendation, submitted to and considered by ARU's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group, will encourage the university to commit to developing both gender neutral toilets and changing room facilities.

Aim:

The SU would like to work with ARU to create a policy to commit to the addition of one set of gender neutral toilets per building across the core campuses, as well as the implementation of gender neutral changing rooms in existing and new gym and sporting facilities.

Background:

ARU Students’ Union has an active policy on gender neutral toilets which was passed at Student Council on 07/02/2017 (see attached as appendix 1). This policy has been active in various forms of SU policy since 2012.

The resolves of the policy are as below:

  1. To campaign to Estates and Facilities to create university regulations which ensure that all university owned buildings have at least one accessible GNT.
  2. To encourage Estates and Facilities to not only develop GNTs in the future but create or convert toilets that are gender neutral as appropriate.
  3. To proactively encourage or co-ordinate a Gender Neutral Toilets Audit of ARU core campuses (Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough) to look into the practicality of converting any gendered toilets to become GNTs.
  4. To actively review, amend and change policy on GNTs for future developments such as gendered/non gendered signage of toilets and expanding this policy to accommodate gender neutral single cubical changing room facilities for the gym.

 

Through working with Hannah Hunt and Andy Lefley, I have ensured that new gender neutral toilets were created in December in the PMI building on the Chelmsford Campus, signalling measured progress in this area and Anglia Ruskin University’s continued commitment to providing a safe environment for all students.

In order to build on this success, a university policy or regulation would ensure future spaces for trans and gender non-conforming students would become standard practice and set an strong example to other universities.  

Gender neutral spaces beyond only bathrooms are necessary to expand a wholly safe environment to trans students, and so the SU recommends that the university commits to, through a policy or regulation, providing gender neutral cubicle changing rooms in future and (where possible) existing gym facilities, beyond the provision of disabled bathrooms/changing rooms.

During the meeting where this paper was discussed, it was established that changing facilities that affect students in the Faculty of Medical Science in the new School of Medicine would also need to be considered as part of this proposal.

The Director of Student Services and Director of Estates and Facilities will be havig discussions regarding the implementation of this policy.

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