WITS University In South Africa Implements Gender Neutral Bathrooms

wits university implements gender

The issue about trans and gender non-confirming people using the same bathroom with other people who accept and identity with their assigned gender at birth, has been a major concern across the globe. So many activists has spoken against and in favor of the issue leading to a worldwide heated debate on the subject.

But The University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg South Africa, has taken a bold step to implement gender neutral bathrooms on its campus to foster the inclusiveness of all who do not feel comfortable with entering a bathroom that identifies with the gender that they were assigned at birth.

A public statement was issued to this effect, by Prof. Tawana Kupe.

Find below the full statement.

The University has consulted key stakeholders in the Wits community about creating inclusive and diverse spaces in the University that cater for all members of the University. Our aim is for the academy to be a transformative and critically engaging space that is in line with our Constitution and the guiding principles of our democracy.

We have responded to calls for the University to introduce Gender Neutral Bathrooms that are inclusive of all members of the community who are Trans* gender, non-conforming or not comfortable with entering a bathroom that identifies with the gender that they were assigned at birth. We believe that Gender Neutral Bathrooms make a meaningful contribution to the University’s transformation agenda and that shared facilities, inclusive of all members of the University community, are one of the ways in which we can embrace diversity across gender lines.

Key bathrooms across our campuses have been identified as Gender Neutral Bathrooms and the signage for these bathrooms will be changed shortly.

We are grateful to all those staff and students who have enabled this process, as well as the Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office, Activate Wits and Ctrl Alt Gender. Please direct any further queries to the Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office.

Thank you

Prof. Tawana Kupe
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Advancement, HR and Transformation
11 May 2016

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