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School of Medicine designates 70 gender-neutral bathrooms

All new buildings will include some gender-neutral restrooms available to everyone

by Kristina SauerweinSeptember 15, 2016

Washington University

In recognition of gender diversity among students, faculty and staff, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis now has designated nearly 70 bathrooms on campus as gender-neutral. This means these restrooms are available to everyone.

Since late last year, the Operations & Facilities Management Department has ensured that nearly all School of Medicine buildings offer gender-neutral bathrooms by retrofitting existing spaces and by adding them to new construction projects such as the Mid Campus Center, slated to open in 2017.

The process began in March 2015, when members of the Student Advisory Committee for an Inclusive Community initiated discussions with key leaders, including Lisa M. Moscoso, MD, PhD, associate dean for student affairs and an associate professor of pediatrics, as well as Melissa Hopkins, assistant vice chancellor and assistant dean of operations and facilities management.

“Students and others members of the medical school community emphasized the need for gender-neutral restrooms as an important inclusion feature,” Hopkins said. “We want everyone on campus to feel welcomed and comfortable, so we moved fairly quickly to accomplish this.”

Most of the bathrooms contain single stalls and allow for wheelchair accessibility.

The Operations & Facilities Management Department also made it a requirement that gender-neutral restrooms be designed into any new buildings, Hopkins said.

The School of Medicine joins other U.S. colleges and universities – such as Yale, Illinois State and the University of Nevada system – in providing bathrooms to accommodate gender diversity, increase safety and eliminate the potential for discrimination and harassment.

“Washington University aims to be ahead of the curve,” Hopkins said.

As a former coordinator for the School of Medicine’s LGBT Health Interest Group, Ryan Kronen said some students believed gender-neutral restrooms could increase awareness and acceptance of the university’s transgender and queer community. “It’s an incredibly important move for the school as a step toward promoting a safe and welcoming environment,” said Kronen, a medical student. “Gender-neutral bathrooms are a great start.”

This map shows the locations of the Medical Campus’ gender-neutral restrooms.

The Danforth Campus also has gender-neutral restrooms, in keeping with the university’s commitment to providing access to safe and inclusive spaces for all people. Single-use, locking, gender-inclusive restrooms are provided in many academic, administrative and residential buildings and will be included in all new and significantly renovated buildings. This map shows the locations of the Danforth Campus’ gender-neutral restrooms.

Kristina covers pediatrics, surgery, medical education and student life. In 2020, she received a gold Robert G. Fenley Writing Award for general staff writing from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and in 2019, she received the silver award. Kristina is an author and former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Los Angeles Times, where she was part of a team of journalists that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for breaking news. Additionally, she covered the 2014 Ferguson unrest for TIME magazine and, for eight years, wrote a popular parenting column for