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Campus Y opens gender nonspecific bathrooms

	A gender non-specific bathroom sign hangs outside a Campus Y bathroom.

A gender non-specific bathroom sign hangs outside a Campus Y bathroom.

Despite the Board of Governor’s decision to shut down attempts at gender neutral housing, students have continued to try to make smaller gains for the cause.

During winter break, the Campus Y made a statement of support of all gender expressions by designating four single stall bathrooms in their building as officially gender neutral.

These four bathrooms are not the only gender nonspecific bathrooms on campus — but they are the only ones designated as gender nonspecific, said co-president Natalie Borrego.

They chose a specific statement for the four bathrooms signs which states: “This restroom may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression.”

In a press release, Borrego and co-president Cora Went challenged other departments to institute similar policies.

“Such bathroom signs uphold a binary between male and female, which can be isolating and exclusionary to people who do not identify with one gender,” Went and Borrego said.

Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life Rick Bradley said there is a gender nonspecific bathroom in residence halls which were all male or female at some point.

“The intent was for visitors to an all male or female residence hall,” he said, and added that this explains why the gender non-specific bathrooms contain only a sink and commode.

The initiative towards making campus more gender inclusive began last year , but the ultimate goal of gender neutral housing was put on hold this summer when the UNC system Board of Governors voted to not allow it, said ______.

“This was a big year, an important one to make the statement that we will continue to bring more equality to campus,” Borrego said.

“It’s powerful to continue the discussion on gender expressions and equality.”

Went said that the addition of the signs that visibly recognize all gender expressions is the first of many steps for the cause, which she hopes could ultimately result in the approval of gender non-specific housing.

Borrego said the signs cost $80 each, and had to be customized because the sign store had not made something like that before.

Went said the purchase of the signs would not raise student tuition. The funding came from the Campus Y’s endowment, funded through private donations.

“We can choose how we spend our money because we’ve been fiscally responsible the past few years and were able to use the surplus of private money that we have to fund the signs,” said Went.

The co-presidents said they see the inclusion of students of all gender identities and expressions as one of the most important current social justice issues.

“I think when looking at our history it makes a lot of sense for the Y to do this. We’ve always been about rights for everyone, even when wasn’t the most popular thing to do,” said went.

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