The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Gender-inclusive restroom in Maple Hall a “huge step in the right direction” for CSUN students

Solomon O. Smith
File photo. A gender inclusive restroom can be seen on the left in this photo of the central entrance of Maple Hall on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Northridge, Calif.

Maple Hall opened its doors on March 25 for classes previously held in Sierra Hall, with one of the features of the new building being a multi-stall, gender-inclusive restroom on the first floor.

This restroom is an addition to the more than 50 gender-inclusive restrooms that are scattered around the campus, including three others in Maple Hall itself. Most of these restrooms are single-occupancy restrooms, meaning they include at most two stalls. However, this restroom is a multi-stall restroom with nine stalls.

Adrien Goodman, the Vice President of the Trans Wellness Alliance, a club which focuses on the health of transgender and non-binary students at CSUN, said that the inclusion of this restroom in the building is “a huge step in the right direction.”

“As transgender students, as non-binary students, it’s anxiety inducing, especially if you’re early in your transition, to go into a bathroom where you don’t feel comfortable,” the senior English major said.

Goodman, a transgender man, said that he has experienced harassment and animosity in public restrooms in the past.

“When I have used the bathroom in the men’s, I get a weird look. When I’ve used it in the women’s, I get weird looks,” Goodman said.

In a gender-inclusive restroom, this problem does not exist.

“That anxiety and that fear is just gone,” Goodman said. “It’s just like, at least here, I know I’m okay.”

A battle for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community is being waged across the country, as many states are creating anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation with up to 515 bills being tracked by the American Civil Liberties Union. Many of these bills target transgender people’s ability to use the restroom that matches their gender expression.

According to an article published by Time, a common argument of those opposing transgender individuals using restrooms that align with their identities is that this will also allow male predators into restrooms with women.

However, researchers at the William’s Institute at UCLA School of Law found in a 2018 study that there is no evidence to suggest any connection between predatory criminal activity in public restrooms and the passage of laws that allow transgender people to use the public restroom they choose.

Because of this opposition, Goodman thinks that gender-neutral restrooms like the one in Maple Hall can make an important statement to the people who use them.

“They’re going to show that trans people are not scary,” Goodman said. “We are just here to use the bathroom. We’re not trying to hurt or harm anybody. Hopefully, it’ll slowly stop the fear-mongering.”

Goodman thinks that the addition of these types of inclusionary mechanisms into everyday life on campus will make a big difference for transgender and non-binary students.

“Even though this is really, really small, it’s still a huge win,” Goodman said.

Of the 12 students who regularly attend classes in Maple Hall we asked to share their thoughts on the gender-inclusive restroom, almost all agreed, seeing no issue with its set-up.

“I don’t really mind it. I don’t see it as an issue,” said Ann Hillary Buenafe, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in psychological science.

Buenafe pointed out that she thinks there are actually some advantages to the new restroom’s design.

“It’s very secluded, and I think it’s safe because there’s a full door,” Buenafe said. “It actually seems nicer than the other bathrooms.”

Noah Rubin, Campus Architect and Director of Design and Construction at CSUN, explained that he specifically designed the full doors in the Maple Hall restroom, which do not have gaps like the usual doors in public restroom stalls, because it is a gender-inclusive restoom.

Rubin also said that there are plans in the works to include more multi-stall gender inclusive restrooms in buildings around campus in the future.

“Going forward, it will be standard to include multi-stall gender-inclusive restrooms in all new buildings and major renovations,” Rubin said.

Earlier this year, the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union representing the faculty of the 23 California State Universities (CSU), negotiated a new contract with the CSU that includes stipulations to ensure that gender inclusive restrooms are easily accessible in any area of a CSU campus.

Rubin said that this is the plan for two new projects currently under construction. They are building one of these restrooms in the Autodesk Technology Engagement Center, which will be located next to Jacaranda Hall, and in the new student housing buildings number 22 and 23, which are currently being built.

The CSUN construction and design team will also build a multi-stall gender inclusive restroom in the Valera NEST, a resource center about to start construction in the University Student Union building, and in the Matador Success & Inclusion Center, which is set to be constructed near Redwood Hall by July 2027.

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