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Northwestern Getting Two New Gender-Neutral Bathrooms


CHICAGO (CBS) -- Transgender students at Northwestern University will be getting their own separate bathrooms in the a heavily used student center on the school's Evanston campus.

WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports the two gender-neutral bathrooms will be installed on the third floor of the Norris University Center.

"These are two gender-open bathrooms where students of any gender can go in, and use the restroom, and feel safe, regardless of gender expression or gender identity," said Michelle Margulis, president of the Rainbow Alliance LGBT student group.

Margulis said she sees the new bathrooms as more of an asset for comfort than for safety for transgender students, or those who don't identify themselves as either male or female.

"I don't think that there have been any violent altercations on campus that I've heard of in the restroom, but it can be very disconcerting, for example, to go and use the restroom … and have somebody tell you you're in the wrong restroom, just based on their perception of you," she said. "This is what I've heard from transgender friends of mine."

She said the single-stall transgender units will be installed adjacent to traditional male and female restrooms, and should eliminate any such remarks toward transgender students.

Margulis said gender-neutral restroom facilities installed in other Northwestern University buildings have proven successful; providing peace of mind for transgender students across campus.

The new gender-open washrooms should be completed before Northwestern's fall term beings.

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