What is an all-user restroom?
An all-user restroom, sometimes called a gender neutral or all gender, is a restroom that anyone of any gender can use. All-user restrooms can be single occupant or multi stall. These restrooms benefit many different people, including parents with children of a different gender, people with disabilities who may require the accompaniment of an attendant of a different gender, and transgender and gender diverse people. When transgender and gender diverse students use a gendered restroom (known as men's or women's) they may experience harassment and even violence because other people perceive them to be in the wrong restroom. This is known as gender policing. All-user restrooms are one way that we at PCC work to provide a safer space for transgender and gender diverse students, faculty, staff, and community members. PCC's Restroom Policy states that PCC "...allows all members of the community to access all authorized PCC spaces/facilities in accordance with their gender identity and/or gender expression" (read the full policy). If you have any questions about all-user restrooms at PCC, please contact J Gibbons, chair of the Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee.
Future of all-user restrooms at PCC
A number of new all-user restrooms are continuing to be built as PCC moves forward with new construction as part of the Bond build out. We are also working towards converting restrooms in existing buildings, which do not currently have any all-user restrooms. This is an ongoing project. Any new restrooms opening on campus will be added to the interactive map linked above.
History of all-user restrooms at PCC
- 2012: Students begin advocating for all-user restrooms and conduct the first student survey.
- 2013: A group of impacted students and staff form the Gender Neutral Bathroom Taskforce to address the lack of inclusive restroom options at PCC.
- 2014: The Gender Neutral Bathroom Task Force expands to become the Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee and asks cabinet to create multi-stall all-user restrooms on campus.
- 2015: New buildings include single occupancy all-user restrooms.
- 2016: U.S. and Oregon Departments of Education release new guidelines for supporting transgender students. The PCC Office of Equity and Inclusion forms a new task force in response. This task force partners with the Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee to renew calls for multi-stall all-user restrooms.
- 2017: PCC’s Cabinet approves the creation PCC’s first multi-stall all-user restroom at the Southeast campus
Frequently asked questions
What is an all-user restroom?
All-user restrooms are facilities that anyone can use regardless of gender. They can be single-stall or multi-stall. All-user restrooms benefit a variety of people, including transgender and gender-diverse individuals, people who require the assistance of a caregiver of a different gender, and parents with children of a different gender.
Why is this type of restroom important?
Everybody has basic needs, including using a restroom. Trans and gender-diverse people often face barriers when trying to access restroom facilities. All-user restrooms help create safer, more accessible spaces for everyone.
- Safety: Transgender and gender-diverse people experience harassment, humiliation, denial of access and physical violence in public restrooms.
- Race: In a study by the Williams Institute that surveyed transgender and gender-diverse people in San Francisco, transgender people of color reported harassment and other problems at much higher rates than white respondents when using restrooms.
- Health: The same study found that 54% of respondents in Washington D.C. reported health problems from having to avoid using public restrooms, including dehydration, urinary tract infections, kidney infections and other kidney-related problems.
- Benefits to everyone: Creating more all-user restrooms makes life easier for people with disabilities who require the help of an attendant and helps parents with children of a different gender.
Why should transgender people receive special privileges?
Being able to safely use a public restroom isn’t a privilege – it is a right. Furthermore, all-user restrooms aren’t only for transgender people. There are many people who don’t identify as transgender but do not appear stereotypically male or female and may experience harassment in gender-specific facilities. Non-gender-segregated restrooms would also be helpful to fathers caring for their daughters or mothers caring for their sons. In addition, disabled people who have a caretaker of a different gender to assist them in restrooms benefit from non-gender-segregated facilities.
Is this sexist because women are losing access to a restroom?
No, creating an all-user restroom actually addresses the power dynamic of cissexism, which privileges cisgender people over transgender people. Only a few restrooms across the district will be converted and women’s restrooms will still be easily available for those who wish to use them. The PCC Women’s Resource Centers have historically supported this work and continue to do so.
What If I need or prefer a gendered restroom?
No one is required to use the all-user restroom and locations have been chosen that are close to other, gendered restrooms. There will be clear signage outside the all-user restrooms to assist people in finding the nearest gendered restroom.
Doesn’t this make women more vulnerable to assault and harassment?
This assumption is based on a myth: There is no evidence that gender-segregated restrooms are “safer” for cisgender women than unisex restrooms. In addition, laws exist protecting people from criminal conduct in public restrooms. If anything, a concern for safety weighs in favor of restroom accessibility. Transgender people face a uniquely high degree of harassment—nearly one-third (31%) experienced at least one type of mistreatment in the past year in a place of public accommodation according to the 2015 US Transgender Survey. More than half (59%) of respondents avoided using a public restroom in the past year because they were afraid of confrontations or other problems they might experience.
What other Oregon schools have multi-stall all-user restrooms?
- Portland State University
- University of Oregon
- Western Oregon University
- Lane Community College
- Lincoln High School in SW Portland
- Grant High School in NE Portland
- Reed College
- Lewis & Clark
Are there places I can go for more information about transgender identity and resources?
Sure! Check out the Queer Resource Center at the campus closest to you:
- Cascade: Student Union, 212
- Rock Creek: Building 5 Room 121
- Southeast: Mt Tabor Hall 149
- Sylvania: CC 268, inside the Women’s Resource Center
Can everyone use the restroom of their choice?
Portland Community College's Restroom Policy states "Portland Community College does not exclude, separate, deny benefits, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or gender expression. This means it allows all members of the community to access all authorized PCC spaces/facilities in accordance with their gender identity and/or gender expression. The same applies to visitors.
Are all Multi-Occupant Restrooms going to be made All-User?
No, but in buildings with very few or no All-User options, we will be considering ways that All-User Restrooms could be provided to ensure everyone can find a restroom to use.