Polkinghorne Village restrooms now unisex

Gender-neutral restrooms in the common areas. Photo Courtesy: Jayla Smith

FAMU’s Polkinghorne Village residence hall has changed its restrooms so that they appeal to all genders.

The LGBT+ community is the most prominent group in favor of unisex restrooms, which makes them more welcoming to everyone.

Restrooms in general are often considered a personal space to be treated with the utmost privacy. Gender neutral restrooms in residence halls are an evolving process of the changing societal and cultural views.

Jennifer Wilder, director of University Housing, says gender neutral restrooms have become a part of Polkinghorne Village.

“We have changed the signs for the restrooms on the first floor Village in the public areas to gender neutral to match the signs on the restrooms in the Game Day room,” Wilder said. “Gender neutral signs are more inclusive and welcoming to all of the campus community.”

The issue is no longer limited to some sectors of society, and it has grown over the years to have an impact on public health and safety.

Having non-gender conforming users is a growing trend are showcases the need for gender-neutral spaces.

Aniyah Calderon, a junior criminal justice student, was not even aware that there were gender restrooms in the Village —and she lives there.

“I wasn’t even aware that there were unisex restrooms in Village,” Calderon said. “I do not believe that there is an issue with gender neutral restrooms. Unisex restrooms are fine because they are offering a gender-neutral public area, because some people do not identify as female or male. This gives a feeling of inclusion for everyone.”

Having a gender-neutral restrooms in public places is solving problems with regard to harassment and gender discrimination of transgender people. Creating gender neutral spaces eliminates the confusion in the restroom.

Jadah Amisial, a junior business administration student at FAMU, agrees that gender neutral restrooms are suitable.

“I personally think that a one-person restroom is suitable for unisex,” Amisial said. “But restrooms that have multiple stalls should not accept all genders because I, as a female, wouldn’t feel comfortable being in the same restroom as other males.”

Having a gender-neutral restroom would allow a mix of different genders in one place, resulting to the  possibility of touching each other. These are considered sexual violence and many people have experienced this form of violence. Inappropriate touching in an inclusive space makes many people uncomfortable.