All genders welcome

Posted on 2 February 2018

The Department of Chemistry has become the first academic department at the University of York to introduce specific ‘all genders welcome’ toilets.

Signage has been placed on many of the toilets around the department to make it clear that there are no restrictions on who can use these facilities. We hope this will provide a welcoming message to our trans* and non-binary staff, students and visitors who may not feel comfortable using gendered toilets because they don’t meet their needs, or due to the reactions of others. This change will also benefit, for example, parents with young children and those who have hidden disabilities.

We also have some gendered facilities in the Department, and the goal is for everyone to feel welcome using the facilities with which they are most comfortable. As part of its wider commitment to equality and diversity, the Department expects that everyone is respectful of those choices.

This is part of a larger programme across campus at The University of York, and the department is grateful to the Equality and Diversity Office and Estates who worked hard on research and consultations to develop the signage.

It is worth noting that it is considered best practice to label facilities as gender neutral rather than simply using the word ‘Toilet’. In addition, gender neutral toilet blocks should always have floor to ceiling dividers between cubicles which can prevent the simple conversion of some existing facilities. The department will be mindful of this when planning future developments and refurbishments.

The Department of Chemistry has held an Athena SWAN Gold Award for the last 10 years in recognition of its promotion and support diversity in science and enable all individuals to thrive in the scientific workplace.

To find more information on supporting trans* staff and students, including guidance for working with trans* people, visit the University's Equality and Diversity Office. Foundation Online Learning also provides an excellent external training resource for working with trans* people