BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It looks just like a normal single stall bathroom, the only difference is the label. It’s the first bathroom both males and females can use at the University at Buffalo.
“It allows people to have a choice of what bathroom they want to go to and it helps people feel more comfortable while they’re in there so I personally feel it’s a good thing that UB did that,” said Jonathan Folmsbee, UB graduate student.
The gender neutral restroom is located on the third floor of UB’s Silverman Library in Capen Hall. Some students say they wouldn’t use it themselves, but do think it’s good to have the option available for others.
“I think everyone should be able to express themselves freely and I think that bathroom does not affect me in any way whatsoever,” said Sarah Armstrong, UB Sophomore.
The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director says the school made the move because students and employees expressed wanting more gender inclusive spaces like restrooms on campus.
“Most of us if we live with anybody at home who is of the opposite gender we already use gender inclusive restrooms right. So this is really no different it’s a self enclosed space it’s not anything really that’s unusual other than the labeling,” said Sharon Nolan-Weiss, UB Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director.
Sharon Nolan-Weiss says UB is required to allow students to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Gender neutral restrooms have been met with controversy in other parts of the country, but Nolan-Weiss says because the one on UB’s campus is not a multi-stall restroom, there should be no issue of anyone feeling unsafe.
Some students like the idea so much, they think other places should consider adding gender neutral bathrooms as well.
“I think that it would be a great step forward to modify or add other facilities to cater to people of all genders and sexualities,” said Lucas Przybyla, UB Sophomore.
More gender neutral bathrooms are expected to pop up on UB’s campus in the near future. The University at Buffalo is not the only local school that has them, Bufffalo State also has 21 gender neutral bathrooms across campus.