Promoting Equity and Diversity With Gender Inclusive Restrooms

In the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we agree that equity gives people access to the same opportunities, and having gender-neutral restrooms promotes equity and diversity at UC Davis.

There are many scholarly publications on the importance of having gender inclusive restrooms on college and university campuses. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies describes gender-neutral language as “synonymous with gender inclusive language and non-sexist language. In reference to restrooms, gender-neutral extends beyond the gender binary, and gender-neutral pronouns do not specify gender.”

Our differences and/or history can create barriers to participation, so we must first insure equity before we can enjoy equality. Our office utilizes the Association of American Medical Colleges, Group on Diversity and Inclusion definition of diversity as a core value that embodies inclusiveness, mutual respect, and multiple perspectives and serves as a catalyst for change resulting in health equity. Whereby, equity and diversity is promoted by fostering belonging, respect, and value for all.

UC Davis Health System has embraced Principles of Community where everyone is expected to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

genderinclusiverestroomscircleFor the seventh consecutive year, UC Davis has received national recognition by the Human Rights Campaign “Healthcare Equality Index” (HEI) for promoting equitable and inclusive care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families. Having gender inclusive restrooms is another expression of our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

Embracing the Principles of Community and leading the way in #HealthEqualityforAll creates an inclusive working environment for all patients, students, faculty and staff.

To that end, we have designated fifty-nine gender inclusive, single-stall restrooms for all to utilize. These restrooms are safe and accessible so there is no question or misconception that anyone is in the “wrong” restroom. An electronic mapping system of each gender inclusive facility and its location is available to patients, the general public, and all students and employees online via the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion page. You can also check out the gender inclusive restrooms on the main UC Davis campus through the LGBTQIA Resource Center.

This blog is here to understand the depth behind something that might seem like a foreign conversation. Our airplane bathrooms and those in our homes have always been gender inclusive restrooms. And with the stance of California code that began on March 1, 2017 stating that all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation or government agency must be identified as “all-gender” toilet facilities”, we want this to serve as an understanding as to why this change is happening.

UC Davis Health System is committed to #HealthEqualityforAll, and we’re excited for you to join us on this continued journey.

Adrienne S. Lawson-Thompson, Ed.D. is the Director of Institutional Culture/Climate and Community Engagement in the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the UC Davis Health System. In this role, she facilitates workshops involving equity and social change, restorative justice, and cultural and language diversity for faculty, staff, students and health practitioners.