Installation of all gender bathrooms paves the way to a more inclusive Augustana

Caitlin Campbell

On Monday Oct. 31, Augustana College announced via the Student Bulletin that several bathrooms around campus have began the process of becoming gender neutral.

The new gender neutral bathrooms are located in the basement of Old Main and the second floor. Two of the bathrooms will be in the library as well. Signage is still being produced for the four bathrooms.

Since 2015, Augustana College has been working to install gender neutral bathrooms around campus, though up to this point, all of these bathrooms have been single-stall. In addition to this, the gender neutral  bathrooms were originally installed in inconvenient places, such as Sorensen Hall and Centennial.

With the announcement of gender neutral bathrooms being installed in Gerber and Old Main, students who don’t identify with their sex will be able to more easily use the bathroom without fear of reproach.

Grey White, a junior at Augustana who identifies as transmasculine, said that since they haven’t started taking hormones yet, they’ve been using the bathroom that aligns with their assigned sex rather than the one that aligns with their gender.

“I always have anxiety when I go into the bathroom,” White said. “It’s not very helpful when there are no gender neutral ones.”

It is this exact fear that Daisy Moran, LGBT coordinator and assistant director of the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity, hopes that the installation of gender neutral bathrooms in Old Main and the Gerber Center will solve, at least in part.

“Gender neutral bathrooms are important not only for comfort and for feeling safe on campus and using the facility when needed, but also for the piece of validation,” Moran said.

Moran hopes that as Augustana installs more gender neutral bathrooms, people who don’t identify within the binary of ‘male’ or ‘female’ will feel seen and will feel that their presence on campus matters.

For some within this community however, gender neutral bathrooms aren’t just a means of affirmation, but they help maintain privacy.

Dr. Kiki Kosnick, an assistant professor of French, believes that by having gendered spaces such as bathrooms, it can put people in an uncomfortable position in which they are disclosing information about themselves by choosing what bathroom to use.

“Everyone can use all gender restrooms,” Kosnick said. “We don’t have to sort ourselves or announce our gender publically just by trying to use the bathroom … anytime someone wants to share a part of themselves, like their pronouns or their gender identity, it’s a gift. It shouldn’t be an expectation that everyone has access to that information.”

According to Moran, the addition of gender neutral bathrooms in more central parts of campus is beneficial to those who don’t identify along the gender binary, but the work of creating a more inclusive Augustana is far from over.

Moran is hoping to expand gender neutral housing from one floor in Westerlin to eventually a whole building. She also hopes to see an LGBT culture house within the next five years, so that LGBTQ students will have their own dedicated space.


A list of gender neutral  bathrooms on campus can be found here, under the accessibility category. The map has not yet been updated to include the Thomas Tredway Library or Old Main.