The latest refurbished section of the downtown library was revealed Friday with students free to explore the airy renovated space. Gentler lighting, bright colours splashed across the walls, clean white orderly tables and brightly coloured carpets to match greeted students. The space has been granted a much-needed facelift to modernize its dark, dingy interior that depressed more than inspired.
But how much has the library really modernized? After all, new lights and desks are great for students, but the bathroom policy still segregates and discriminates against many Concordians. The new washrooms after all are only for men or women. No gender neutral bathrooms exist within the library space, which is open 24-hours to students. A PDF, which lists all of the gender neutral bathrooms on campus, says there is only one neutral bathroom in the building on ‘LB 0.’ Campus security did not know where this was, and a search of the library did not reveal the mythical bathroom.
But here’s the thing. The fifth floor of the LB building is still having the finishing touches put on it, with signs identifying what gender a bathroom ‘belongs’ to still to be added.
On Friday the bathrooms were gender neutral. Concordia had made a progressive step to making the fifth floor a safe space for anyone who had to pee. However, over the weekend paper signs were put on the doors, and more permanent signs will likely be installed separating those who sit and stand to pee.
Those signs should never be installed, and Concordia University should instead allow the fifth floor washrooms to be gender neutral.
Put up signs like the Hive Cafe in the Hall building, identifying which bathrooms have urinals and which ones have stalls. Let students decide for themselves which bathroom they’d prefer, gender aside.
For students who are more comfortable in a washroom with an assigned gender, all of the other floors of the LB building will still host gendered washrooms. But let’s make a progressive step towards making a safer space for all students and leave the washrooms on the fifth floor gender neutral. After all, students doing homework at the library have better things to think about than if they identify more with the little figure wearing a skirt or pants.
Concordia officially offers the choice to identify as male, female, or just by your name on your diploma, degree or certificate. There is also an impressive host of gender neutral bathrooms scattered throughout both campuses. But the LB building has been neglected in these developments—until now. Here’s to hoping Concordia can recognize this amazing opportunity and do the right thing.
Looking for gender neutral washroom locations? Google ‘Concordia gender neutral washrooms’ and check out the PDF which lists all of the washrooms on campus.