Penn State expanding number of gender neutral restrooms at University Park

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is in the process of updating restroom facilities at University Park, as well as restroom signage across the University to expand the number of “all gender” restrooms and ensure they are clearly labeled.

The initiative follows a study of existing restrooms in the core campus at University Park. In addition to ensuring the availability of restrooms for transgender and other individuals who feel most comfortable using single-user restrooms, the change will provide barrier-free, single-user facilities throughout the campus. This move offers members of the Penn State community and visitors with accommodating facilities for themselves and their families.

Deborah Howard, director of Facilities Resources and Planning, said the decision to offer additional all-gender restrooms and improve signage was made in consultation with the University’s Facility Resources Committee.

“Penn State is committed to providing a safe and inclusionary environment for all students, employees and visitors, and will continue to strive to expand these efforts,” Howard said.

In the next month, the University will begin converting 57 single-person restrooms at University Park that had been specifically designated for men or women to all-gender facilities. The restrooms will be clearly labeled with “All Gender Restroom” signs.

Additionally, over the upcoming year, the University will change the signs on more than 400 existing all gender restrooms across University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses so they have consistent “All Gender Restroom” signage.

A listing of where all gender restrooms are located at University Park is being compiled and can be found on the Student Affairs’ LGBTQA website at: https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/lgbtqa/campusresources.shtml  along with a map at: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/lgbtqa/docs/All_Gender_Restroom_Map.png

“It is important for universities to provide ‘all gender’ restrooms because they provide a safe and accommodating place for gender-variant individuals to use,” said Allison Subasic, director of the LGBTQA Resource Center. “There are many people who do not fit into the binary boxes of male and female, and are questioned by others when they use the restroom that corresponds to their identity. They may or may not be gender variant, but they should be safe on campus when they need to use a restroom.”

Subasic noted that, under federal guidance, universities may not discriminate on the basis of gender identity in the use of restrooms on campus. 

“Penn State is working hard to label all of these restrooms with the new ‘All Gender’ signs, and we, as an institution, are very supportive of all of our LGBTQA students, staff and faculty,” Subasic said. 

Last Updated November 10, 2016