Koret Opens All-Gender Locker Room

0
372
Koret added a gender-inclusive locker room on the pool deck for anyone who prefers a private space without a gender label. COURTESY OF SHANIE CHAMBERS/KORET

Koret recently added a third locker room on Oct. 2, which features a toilet, shower and changing room. The new addition was announced in a Koret staff email sent out by Recreational Sports Department Director Shanie Chambers.

The room is located on the first level of the gym, by the shallow end of the pool. Anyone going to Koret can use the restroom and locker room, including parents who want to go in with their children.

“I think it’s all very exciting,” Chambers said. “Upon learning that the room was open, one of our staff members, a USF alumni and former Pride Law member, immediately celebrated, [saying] ‘I can finally take a shower at Koret.’ Providing a space that feels welcoming to students, faculty, staff and alumni is always the dream.”

The room is single-use and remains unlocked unless it is occupied. An occupied sign turns on when someone is in the room and locks the door, like many bathroom stalls. The shower, toilet, changing area and sink are all ADA accessible. Day-use lockers are available just outside the room so that users can secure their belongings during their workout.

The room can also be used by anyone who prefers a more private space to shower before or after a workout, Chambers said.

The addition of the locker room increases USF’s gender neutral facilities to 13.

Eli Ramos, president of Prism (formerly known as Queer Alliance), a student organization that provides a space for LGBTQ+ students to connect with their community, said that this bathroom is an important addition and they hope it will allow more people to feel comfortable using the gym.

“If you can’t change comfortably, without feeling like you’ll be ostracized, harassed or worse, then you’d be pretty much unable to use the space unless a place is made for you,” Ramos said.

While Ramos has not used the new bathroom and locker room, they have used all-gender bathrooms in other areas of campus.

“The principle [at Koret] is fundamentally the same — bathrooms and changing rooms that provide a space for all genders make sure that people who don’t fit into the typically binary spaces have access to the same kinds of spaces,” Ramos said.

The discussion around developing the space began in fall 2017. Dr. Shannon Gary, associate vice provost for student life, said that the development of the space was a collaboration between Koret, the Division of Student Life, the Title IX Office and Facilities. The project was initiated due to a complaint submitted to the Title IX Office.

This new development will allow USF to continue its support of trans, genderqueer, gender non-conforming and gender non-binary students, staff and faculty, Gary said, who is also the dean of students.

“As we build new facilities on campus the inclusion of all-gender restrooms is always a part of the conversation,” Gary said. “[This addition sends the message] that there is a place for you at USF regardless of your identity, and [that] we try our best to support all members of the community.”

Ramos said that there is more USF could do, but this is a step in the right direction. While USF has its merits, they said there are not truly accessible spaces for everyone. For Ramos, gender neutral facilities don’t have to replace existing spaces, but should be an additional option.

“At some point, I think USF has to make the decision to lead campuses by making sure that gender inclusivity is actually there and serving its purpose,” Ramos said. “Gender inclusivity being included everywhere is a facet of universal design to me. Gender inclusivity should never be an afterthought or made less than those existing spaces.”

Koret users can access the room from the pool deck, which is on Stanyan street level and accessible from the main staircase or front elevator. To enter the pool deck, go through the double gray doors, and the locker room is the first door on the right, just before the blue and gray lockers.

Here is a map with the already existing all-gender restrooms on campus.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here