New gender neutral restrooms installed in Buckley Center
Two new gender neutral bathrooms have been installed in Buckley Center in response to efforts by senior English major Keaton Gaughan and Title IX Coordinator Lauretta Frederking.
*Editor's Note: After this article was published, The Beacon was made aware of another gender neutral restroom and shower that has been available since August 2015 in the Beauchamp Recreation and Wellness Center.
The all-accessible gender-neutral bathroom count on campus is now at five, with two additional restrooms opening up on the first floor of Buckley Center earlier this week.
The bathroom debate has been making national headlines since the passing of North Carolina’s transgender bathroom bill in 2016, but on the University of Portland campus, it has also been a huge focus for senior English major Keaton Gaughan, who has been working to get more gender-neutral restrooms on campus for the past five months. He worked with Title IX Coordinator Lauretta Frederking to put plans into action. Until this change occurred, the only gender-neutral bathrooms on campus that were available to off-campus students were in the St. Mary’s student center.
The new gender-neutral restrooms were previously designated as faculty restrooms on the first floor of Buckley Center.
“The doors had ‘men’ and ‘women’ painted on them,” Gaughan said. “They're single-stall and lock from the inside. The problematic issue was the gendered doors.”
After a Physical Plant inspection discovered asbestos in the doors, the move to replace them became even more obvious.
“Physical plant ordered new doors on Oct. 5, and I asked them to get doors signs without the gender binary on them,” Gaughan said. “It became the sign that was standard across campus.”