Stanford University hosted an open house Friday to showcase its new all-gender locker room. The new space, located in Stanford’s Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (AOERC), was built with the intention of providing a more “inclusive environment.”
According to The Stanford Daily, the new facility was created by tearing down the already existing men’s and women’s locker rooms. Now instead there are three private showers with changing rooms, one dry changing room, five private bathroom stalls, and day-use lockers.
Men and women will now share the same facility.
Rebecca Carpenter, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations, stated that the Stanford community has been “more vocal about all-gender spaces” in recent years.
“We’ve had a handful of faculty, staff and students meet with us about inclusive opportunities within recreation facilities,” Carpenter said.
The new facilities are in keeping with Stanford’s goal of having “gender-inclusive” single-occupancy restrooms in all buildings by the year 2020.
Present at the open house were a number of groups who have partnered with Stanford to complete the project, including the Weiland Health Initiative. Weiland’s stated mission is “to promote mental health and wellness across the spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations through education, training and clinical services at Stanford and beyond.” The initiative is responsible for Gender Inclusive Stanford.
“One of the projects that has been going on for a while is increasing the number of gender-inclusive bathrooms or changing facilities at gyms that are available on campus,” Weiland Health Associate and student Caroline Zha said.
“There aren’t a lot of spaces for students who feel uncomfortable going into either a male or a female bathroom to carry out basic bodily functions.”
Students at Stanford are also apparently concerned about areas on campus where people might be wearing athletic clothing.
Student Bobby Radecki said that places like the gym and pool “can be especially distressing to folks who are trans and gender non-conforming who might not be totally comfortable with their bodies.”
“Athletic facilities can really be a place of high stress, and so having the gender-neutral locker room is definitely a positive step in helping to alleviate that,” Radecki added.
And for some at Stanford, these latest measures have not gone far enough.
Brandon Alvarez, a resident of the unofficially LGBTQ+ -themed campus co-op Terra, toldThe Dailythat while he is “ecstatic” about the “all-gender” locker room, “much work still needs to be done if the community is going to feel welcome in said (and similar) spaces.”
“As of currently, many of us in the queer community often feel reluctant to engage in spaces like the AOERC because we feel out of place, stared at, or just generally alienated by the space itself,” Alvarez wrote.
“I’m excited for the changes that [all-gender locker room] may bring, and hope that the university works to consult with the community as to how it can make historically unwelcoming places such as these more amicable and open to the community at large.”
Not all Stanford students, however, are happy with the university’s changes. The Stanford College Republicans issued a statement to Campus Reform that the new facility represents a “major social problem.”
“Leftists are trying to redefine gender in order to destroy another crucial fabric of our society,” the group stated. “We believe in basic fact over farcical feelings and oppose all forms of leftist social engineering that undermine the natural order.”