Yale makes moves on gender identity issues

The university has 23 gender-neutral restrooms on campus that it promoted for commencement

Yale University is making strides to recognize gender identity issues affecting students, faculty, and staff.

One of the most visible ways that Yale has demonstrated its commitment to gender inclusivity is the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms in 23 on-campus buildings.

The university promoted the restrooms on its website for this past Monday's commencement ceremony and linked to a map showing their locations.

Yale's office of LGBTQ Resources, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion worked together to make the gender-neutral bathrooms possible. Most of the facilities are single-stall restrooms that were previously denoted as either a men's or a women's restroom. Now they are labeled as "All Gender Restrooms" with the familiar male and female icons next to a new figure wearing half of a pant leg and half of a dress.

"Yale aims to be a leader on this front," says Tamar Gendler, dean of Yale's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Part of what is important about the all-gender bathroom project and about putting it at the top of our commencement site, is this is about public signaling."             

Restrooms aren't the only area in which Yale is embracing gender identity issues. Since 2006, Yale's Equal Opportunity Statement has prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or expression in admission, education, and employment. Yale has updated a long-standing rule to allow transgender students to have the name they use on their diploma as opposed to the one on their birth certificate.

Transgender students can change their names on their school identification card and on Yale's web portal at no cost. Yale's student health plan also covers gender reassignment surgery, hormone suppression therapy, and medical procedures. 

Creating gender-inclusive restrooms on campus

"I'm pretty sure that if you take any year in Yale history and measure the amount of change that happened with regards to trans rights, this has been the most monumental year, by a lot," says rising senior Isaac Amend, who is transitioning to male (AP/New York Times, 5/21). 

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