This Thursday, Erasmus University College (EUC) will be opening gender-neutral toilets on the ground floor of its building on Nieuwemarkt. The men’s and women’s symbols will be replaced with a gender-neutral symbol and the urinals will be closed off.
The LGBT network Erasmus Pride recently argued for realising gender-neutral toilets at Woudestein Campus. An EUR spokesperson informed EM that the University presently wasn’t interested in taking this measure due to the limited demand for such facilities. But they take a different view at EUC. This Thursday evening, the University College will be converting the men’s and women’s toilets on the ground floor into gender-neutral facilities.
‘Everyone is welcome’
“The idea originated with our students and has been in the pipeline for some time,” says Iris Bos, who oversees various diversity projects at EUC. “It’s a coincidence that we’re opening the toilets so soon after Erasmus Pride’s call to action.”
The toilets aren’t specifically reserved for transgenders, but open to everyone. EUC wants to send a message or acceptance and inclusion with this measure. “The standard label of ‘male’ or ‘female’ doesn’t necessarily fit for some people. We want to show this minority that there’s a place for them here too,” says Bos. “That’s why we’ve located these toilets on the ground floor, rather than in the basement, for example. This clearly communicates that at EUC, everyone is welcome.”
Bos isn’t sure whether the EUC student body actually includes people who would prefer to use the gender-neutral toilets in connection with their gender identity. They didn’t look into this. “And to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. We expect everyone will use the facilities like any other toilet. Which means that people who don’t feel secure enough to explicitly come out as gender-neutral won’t have to do so.”
While Erasmus Pride proposed simply replacing the symbols on the toilet doors, EUC has taken things a step further. “We won’t be tearing down walls,” explains Bos, “but we will be closing up the urinals on the ground floor so that they can no longer be used.”
The toilets will be officially opened on Thursday, around 19.30, during the elections of the Board of the College’s student association EUCSA.