New “All-Gender” signs will be replacing the “Family” signs outside of single stall restrooms at ISU.
Michael Shane McCreery, director and ethics officer in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics and Access, said the idea for the new signs came from Sandy Colbs, the director of the Student Counseling Services.
Colbs posted a picture of the new restroom sign on Facebook and McCreery thought it was a great idea.
McCreery said he did some research and found that other universities were making the same transition.
For example, Illinois Wesleyan University made similar changes about a year ago.
President Dr. Larry Dietz supported the sign change.
“The reason for it is rather simple,” McCreery said, “It evidences the university’s efforts to have an inclusive environment.”
It will not change the functionality of any of the restrooms on campus, McCreery said.
As before, all restrooms are handicapped accessible.
Only single stall restrooms will be impacted: one in the Bone Student Center, one in Student Counseling Services and a couple throughout the dormitories.
McCreery said he does not anticipate more than 10 restrooms being affected.
“While most people may not even know the sign has changed, I’m anticipating those in the LGBTQ community will appreciate it,” he said.
“Small changes can have a big impact,” he added.
The new sign will include a symbol of a half of a man and half of a woman.
“This symbol has become the new international accessibility symbol for transgenders,” McCreery said.
He said that he is not aware of any students asking for this change in the past.
“We try to be both proactive and reactive,” McCreery said, “This is a situation where I thought we could be proactive and make this change.”
Dave Bentlin, administrative assistant in the Division of Student Affairs, agrees that the new signs are a good change for the university.
More and more transgender people are coming to ISU, either as students or faculty or staff members, Bentlin said.
“Having a gender-neutral bathroom, gives them a facility that they can use and they can feel comfortable about,” he added.
The term “all-gender” means anyone, man or woman, transitioning, or transgender can use the restroom if they want to, McCreery said.
“You could say it’s an all-human restroom,” he said.
It really has no limitations, he added.
“The new signs are a good indicator that we are thinking about all of the people on campus,” Bentlin said.
Bentlin volunteers regularly with an LGBTQ group at ISU to discuss ideas to help make the university a more diverse place.