Gender-neutral bathrooms, long sought by Queer* students, are available at the new Pop-Up Village. The Village, which contains unisex options alongside all male and female bathrooms, has been heralded as a victory by ANUSA and the Queer* department, who see it as a starting point for unisex options across ANU.
ANUSA, PARSA and the Queer* Department claim responsibility for pushing the change, and ANU agrees; claiming they “consulted widely with students … and staff” over the Pop-Up design, “including toilet facilities”. The Queer* Department has been pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus since 2011.
Ariel Scott, ANUSA Queer* Officer, told Observer that while they advocate for gender neutral bathrooms in ANU generally, they were not directly consulted regarding the toilet’s design, nor the signage for the bathrooms.
The Queer* Department is also promoting the alteration of existing bathrooms to add gender-neutral options, and gender-neutral bathrooms in new developments. ANU has previously stated it plans to have unisex options in the Union Court Redevelopment. SA5 (currently Bruce Hall) also has entirely gender neutral shower and toilet stalls.
Prior to the Pop-Up Village, gender diverse students and staff could use disability access toilets in Union Court – which students say are often dirty, difficult to get into, and can’t always be locked – or use gendered bathrooms, which many in the gender diverse community find intimidating or unsafe.
While Scott argued they should have been more involved in the design, they said that this is a step in the right direction. “It is important to cater to people from a range of different backgrounds,” Scott said. “For gender diverse people, using gendered bathrooms can constantly be an anxious experience, as you never know how other people are going to react. Gender neutral bathrooms can prevent that.”