At the beginning of each year (possibly each semester?), every floor of every dorm (or, every co-op) has a meeting to discuss whether or not they want their bathrooms to be gender-neutral. If they vote yes (which they typically do), people of all genders including men and women can use the bathrooms. If they vote no, the bathrooms are designated "men" or "women". There can also be variations on this, such as gender-neutral stalls but women-only showers, and the E System for showers.
- bathrooms can be used by transgender people; doesn't force anyone to choose one or the other
- more convenient, especially on floors of one designated gender (without gender-neutral bathrooms, friends of other genders must wander around for a bathroom when visiting friends)
- greater sense of community.
- after using all-gender bathrooms, the vast majority of Oberlin students prefer it/think it's 'no big deal'
- some people may be uncomfortable being seen in their towels by a different-gendered person
- some people dislike the idea of the using the bathroom with members of different genders in the room
- for some people with histories of sexual assault, all-gender bathrooms could be triggering
"Gender-neutral" is a term used to describe bathrooms, pronouns, but not people. While people may identify as many different genders, identifying as "gender-neutral" is not common. To avoid confusion, one can refer to bathrooms as "all-gender" to signify that they are available to people who identify outside of the gender binary.
While most dorms have more all-gender bathrooms than specific-gender bathrooms, OSCA living co-ops (Tank, Keep, Harkness) almost invariably always have all-gender bathrooms, by decision by the house at the beginning of the year. OSCA's Continuing Policy actually requires all co-ops to have at least one all-gender bathroom (except for co-ops that have no bathrooms at all; obviously that would be unreasonable).