President Freeman Hrabowski, the University Steering Committee and the All-Gender Restroom Steering Committee will be collaborating to implement all-gender restrooms throughout the UMBC campus over the next few semesters. Beginning this semester, the president and the committees will work to create plans and guidelines to establish this concept, some of which include converting or renovating existing facilities and constructing new ones.
In an email to the UMBC community, President Hrabowski states that all members of the UMBC community should have access to safe restroom facilities that are more easily accessible. “Now is the time when we must put our values into action by moving forward on our commitment to making all-gender restroom facilities more widely available,” he writes.
The All-Gender Restroom Steering Committee is comprised of faculty, staff and students, some of which are members of the LGBTQ community. The ultimate goals of the All-Gender Restroom Steering committee are to focus on the dilemma of accessible restrooms inclusive to everyone and to work progressively to implement this ideal on UMBC’s campus.
According to Keith Bowman, dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology, there are several reasons why some may prefer an all-gender restroom. “The traditional design of our buildings and restrooms create compromises for transgender people or people who do not identify in a binary way. But [traditional restrooms also affect] people who do not fit traditional norms of masculinity or femininity or people who have medical conditions,” he says. He also says that parents who are escorting their children of a different gender or children with a disability are impacted by traditional restrooms.
In 2018, UMBC renovated all single-use restrooms on campus into all-gender restrooms. There are 41 single-use all-gender restrooms inside academic and student life buildings and 16 single-use all-gender restrooms in residence halls. UMBC Facilities Management is working to add more single all-gender restrooms in the University Center and Retriever Learning Center in the Albin O. Kuhn library.
UMBC is one of several universities in Maryland to have gender inclusive restrooms and housing. Both Johns Hopkins University and Towson University have over two dozen gender-neutral restrooms on campus. “Our next step will be to expand the availability of all-gender restrooms by identifying opportunities to designate existing multi-user restrooms as all-gender restrooms in campus buildings that currently lack single-user all-gender restrooms,” states Hrabowski.
Any additional questions or concerns can be submitted on a document that is linked in the initial email addressed to the community. Additionally, anyone that is interested in being a part of the planning and implementation of this initiative can contact the All-Gender Restroom Steering Committee at @agrumbc.edu.