The gender-neutral bathrooms in over 23 buildings at Yale University were introduced during its 315th commencement. The university advertised these bathrooms in their website. It included a map of where these bathrooms can be found. School officials mentioned that it is one of the steps to make the school open to its transgender students and staff with their visitors also in mind. Yale also changed a long established rule that now allows its transgender graduates to use their preferred names on their diplomas instead of those in their birth certificates.
According to the dean of Arts and Sciences, Tamar Gendler, the gender-neutral bathroom is about public signaling with Yale wanting to be the leader in this front. Yale’s Equal Opportunity Statement covering all students and employees prohibits discrimination of any kind. A senior who is transitioning as a male mentioned how the transgender community felt a change after Caitlyn Jenner’s transition showed a spotlight for transgender issues. He regards this year as a monumental year in Yale with the amount of changes happening regarding transgender rights.
Professors now address students using preferred pronouns. Yale is also allowing transgender students to modify their identification card names with no charge. Yale’s health plan also covers medical procedures, reassignment surgeries and hormone suppression therapies.
Yale is one of the schools which is changing their rules and policies in relation to transgender rights. The University of Vermont started to address their transgender students with their preferred names and pronouns just last year. In addition, Smith College started accepting students who identify themselves as females even though they were born as males. They made headlines given that they are an all-women’s school. On the other hand, Harvard allows students to use which bathroom they feel comfortable in.
Yale’s gender-neutral bathrooms were once tagged as men’s or women’s rooms. They now say “All Gender Restroom” with figures of a man and a woman next to a figure wearing pants and dress. While these campus bathrooms may not be like home bathrooms with Vanity Units and luxurious furniture but the thought that one can be himself or herself in these bathrooms is just as good as being home.