University of Limerick approves installation of new gender-neutral bathrooms

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Fourteen gender-neutral bathrooms will be on-campus in the near future. This sign was erected at UL Students’ Union building in 2015

Fourteen gender-neutral bathrooms will be on-campus in the near future. This sign was erected at UL Students’ Union building in 2015

EQUALITY campaigners have welcomed confirmation that the University of Limerick is to add a dozen gender-neutral bathrooms to its campus in the near future.

This means that UL will soon have a total of 14 gender-neutral toilet facilities, following the introduction of the initiative at the Students’ Union back in September 2015.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are universal access facilities, regardless of one’s gender identity.

The Out in UL LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] society spear-headed the campaign with ULSU representatives, to introduce a further 12 facilities after the “positive response” in 2015, its outgoing treasurer Christian Tan said.

The approval process took approximately 18 months, which involved getting support from the ULSU, Student Council, Clubs and Societies Council, the university, and the Buildings and Estates committee.

“We talked about why it was important and why we needed it, and why the two that were already there were setting a precedent. There is no cost; it’s putting a sign on a bathroom saying to people: ‘You can use this bathroom regardless of your gender identity, and you can feel comfortable in this space’,” Christian told the Leader. 

Roberta Harrington, SU welfare officer, said that her predecessor Caolan O’Donnell did “a massive amount of work” for the project.

“Coming into the summer, this was something that we really wanted to push through. We have met the new president [Prof Des Fitzgerald] very early on, and it was something that we brought to him straight away, and he was very helpful and supportive of the whole thing.”

There is no confirmed date as to when the new signs will be erected.