October 25, 2023 ·

All-gender restrooms at SLAC

By From the LGBTQ+ ERG Council, Facilities & Operations, and DEI+ Office

All employees can relate to what it’s like to feel welcome in the workplace. It can range from the bright “hello” you get from one of your favorite officemates in the morning to the joy of learning about residual gas analyzers with passionate coworkers. It can also come from having your gender affirmed in many different ways, one being the ability to go into a restroom that welcomes all genders instead of excluding some. For some of us, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, reading a restroom sign can stir up a variety of feelings, ranging from vulnerability and distress to empowerment and belonging. 

Equitable restroom access for all is more than a practicality - it can help people feel like they belong, and for the last five years, a collaborative team has been working to make all-gender restrooms a reality at SLAC.

“SLAC aspires to be an inclusive lab that welcomes people with different backgrounds and experiences from all around the world,” said Lab Director John Sarrao. “Making specific, real changes like these hopefully demonstrates our strong support for all members of our diverse community. The senior management team and I thank members and allies of the LGBTQ+ ERG for dedicating their time and energy toward these positive changes that ultimately strengthen the lab as a whole.”

Progress at SLAC
In early 2017, Stanford announced plans to increase the number of all-gender restrooms on campus. Taking the university’s lead, which coincided with the passage of a California law mandating single-user restrooms be converted to all-gender facilities in public buildings, this initiative began at SLAC in 2018 and continues today. 

Leaders of the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) began with a focus across the site on single-occupant restrooms, all of which were previously labeled male or female, or were incorrectly and inconsistently labeled for all-gender access, with no way for employees to easily find them. 

The LGBTQ+ ERG then partnered with Facilities & Operations (F&O) to address the inconsistencies in signage, and now, all single-occupant restrooms at the lab are labeled all-gender, in accordance with California law and standard practices (see image above) and because it’s the right thing to do. Additionally, all-gender restroom and shower locations can now be found using the Building and Space GIS site map (requires SLAC network access). In GIS, which stands for geographic information system, there is a tool in the upper right corner to search for restroom locations in each building by floor. The restroom locations are also highlighted in purple.

All-gender restroom statistics as of October 2023:

  • 34 single-occupant restrooms
  • 2 single-occupant restroom/showers
  • 6 single-occupant showers
  • 0 multi-stall all-gender restrooms

What's next?
There are still many buildings and high-traffic areas of the SLAC campus without access to all-gender restrooms. Following the lead of Stanford's access initiative to provide an all-gender restroom option in every building, SLAC is pursuing the next steps of converting existing multi-stall restrooms into all-gender restrooms. These conversions require changes to infrastructure and need careful planning. F&O is developing a design for a proposed conversion at SLAC, and the DEI+ Office will be working with lab leadership and the LGBTQ+ ERG to promote funding to support moving forward with this initiative.

Our thanks for your support
We would like to acknowledge the efforts of many folx at SLAC over the years, including some who are no longer at the lab, for helping move the all-gender restroom initiative along:

Ramon Lim
Sergio Carbajo
Jen Arthur
Kelly Gaffney
Machelle Vieux
Carlos Orozco
Brooke Brandon
Ryan Parker
Jill Bentz
Matt Christopher
LGBTQ+ ERG Council
DEI+ Office

How to help
Do you know of single-occupant restrooms that aren't labeled all-gender? Do you have input on what buildings need an all-gender restroom? Please reach out to the LGBTQ+ ERG council (lgbtq_erg_council@slac.stanford.edu).


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