UMass restroom has wrong plumbing to be 'gender-inclusive'

Students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst are in an uproar after a previously “gender-inclusive” bathroom was re-designated as female-only.

According to The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, students have launched an email campaign to protest the decision, attempting to flood the inboxes of those behind the change.

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In fact, a template for the campaign is circulating on social media, encouraging any student or community member to write to university leaders expressing their “support for student efforts to recreate the space as safe and affirming for all residents, and hope that the signage is in place to fulfill student’s needs as quickly as possible.”

Of particular concern to student protesters is the fact that the bathroom in question is located in an LGBTQ-themed residence hall, though Director of Residence Education Jean MacKimmie explained in an email prior to the decision that the school was lawfully required to make the change.

The state’s plumbing code requires that all multi-stall bathrooms “be designated as either male or female,” MacKimmie explained, according to The Collegian.

“The previous ‘all gender’ sign was installed without consultation with Residential Life Directors, the staff of the Stonewall Center, student organizations or the State Plumbing Board,” she elaborated.

Further, MacKimmie went on to express her full support of creating “a campus environment that supports and values all members” of the community, even noting that “as a result, 135 campus bathrooms, 122 residence hall restrooms and 21 residence hall bathrooms have been designated as gender-inclusive.”

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Still, some students, such as Ethan Gourlay, plan to continue to use any bathroom of their choosing.

“I find having to choose between men’s and women’s rooms oppressive and uncomfortable,” Gourlay told The Collegian. “The change to women’s rooms might not have a big change—I intend to use them because gender is a lie.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski