DePaul publishes maps of gender-neutral restrooms on campus

A common sign used for public gender-neutral restrooms.

Creative Commons

A common sign used for public gender-neutral restrooms.

DePaul released a comprehensive map of gender-neutral bathrooms in Lincoln Park and Loop Campus this past week. 

The list includes all single occupancy, gender-neutral or “family” restrooms in Lincoln Park and Loop. A published map on DePaul’s website will create accessibility for students to know where the restrooms are located.

The Arts & Letters Building, built in 2011 in LP, is the only building with a gender neutral bathroom on each floor. Other buildings require students to travel between floors, regardless of gender, such as Levan Center which has different gendered bathrooms on each floor. 

All gender-neutral restrooms are single stalls which can create problems for students. 

Arts & Letters is the only building in Lincoln Park with gender-neutral bathrooms on every floor. (DePaul University)

A single stall means longer wait times for people who wish to use these restrooms. A junior DePaul student who wished to remain anonymous shared their experience. 

“In my winter quarter of last year, I had all of my classes only in Arts and Letters, and they were all in one day,” they said. “I was constantly in the building that had the most accessibility and there were still many instances where I was like, ‘do I take the time?’”

Gender-neutral restrooms with a single stall assist students who wish to have a private restroom experience free from potential discrimination in gendered bathrooms. 

“It is frustrating because as a trans person, that’s the place that I feel the most comfortable,” the anonymous student said.

They also shared that it was frustrating to have so few accessible restrooms be available to everyone which further exacerbates the problems with wait time. 

Aside from the exclusive list, the Division of Student Affairs has a bathroom map for each campus listed on their website page. The LGBTQIA Resource Center added both maps to their resource guide

Samantha Close, an assistant professor of communication at DePaul, says students may not know about this resource. 

“I didn’t know that that map existed, and I think that kind of highlights the problem with relying on student affairs,” Close said. “Students might not necessarily go [to the website].” 

There are no gender-neutral restrooms available in the DePaul Center, where the Driehaus College of Business is located. (DePaul University)

DePaul does not have any bathrooms that are both gender neutral and have multiple stalls. Kelly Kessler, DePaul professor of media and cinema studies, spoke about the importance of having more than single stall, gender-neutral restrooms and the statement it makes to do so.

“I think when you go beyond a ‘onesie’ [single-stall bathroom], you make a statement about the normalcy and necessity of gender neutral bathrooms,” Kessler said. “Having a ‘onesie’ is like, ‘Okay, we have solved this problem in the simplest physical and ideological way.’ It doesn’t necessarily make a statement about the need and importance.”

One of the main problems with the restrooms is a lack of awareness. Although there are no official DePaul statistics about transgender, non-binary or gedner fluid student student enrollment due to students not required to disclose their gender identity, the accessibility will make a difference in the DePaul community, Before the published map, students relied on social media to inform each other.

The account @genderneutraldepaul posts detailing directions to gender-neutral restrooms on campus. 

Students want to see more clear signs and indicators of these bathrooms and their location.

“If we have a limited number of gender-neutral bathrooms per building, it would seem somewhat useful for there to be some kind of signage directing people,” Kessler said. 

DePaul is undergoing initiatives such as All Gender Housing.