Universities in Nijmegen, Leiden and Amsterdam already have bathrooms without a pictogram of a ‘man’ or ‘woman’ on the door. If it were up to Erasmus Pride, gender-neutral bathrooms would be available at Erasmus University as soon as possible, says psychology student and committee member Thei Bongers.
“Some members of Erasmus Pride are transgender”, says Bongers. “They’ve spoken about situations where they feel uncomfortable in choosing which bathroom they should use. For example, someone who is undergoing hormone treatment but still has a masculine appearance doesn’t feel comfortable using either bathroom. It would be much better if the bathroom was a safe space for them, a place where they won’t be judged by others using the facilities.”
Bathrooms for the disabled
Erasmus Pride ultimately wants to have a gender-neutral bathroom in every campus building. According to Bongers, no renovation work or structural alterations are needed. “All you need is a sticker. Our university should be able to afford that, right?” Other universities use bathroom facilities for the disabled as gender-neutral bathrooms. Erasmus Pride feels this is a good idea. “These are actually already gender-neutral bathrooms. A good first step would be to designate all bathrooms for the disabled as gender-neutral bathrooms.”
Gesture of acceptance
Bongers thinks that only a small group of people will use the gender-neutral bathrooms. He estimates that “altogether, transgender and intersex individuals make up only a small percentage of the student population.” He then adds: “but it doesn’t matter that these facilities are for a minority. It’s about having a place where you can use bathroom facilities without being judged. Making this possible is also a gesture of acceptance.”
According to EUR spokesperson Jacco Neleman, the university has no plans gender-neutral toilets at the moment. “We haven’t received a lot of sounds about a broad need for gender-neutral toilets. If that changes, we will, of course, respond.”