By Henry Clare
A group of Trevelyan College students are campaigning in the hope of convincing their JCR to install gender-neutral toilets
It is believed that the installation of the toilets will help to create a “more inclusive environment, in which every student can feel comfortable.”
Although the idea was initially dismissed by the college, there is a genuine belief that a motion to have the toilets installed will be passed at the next JCR meeting.
“I was surprised that the college officers were so dismissive of the idea when we proposed it to them,” said Sulia Celebi, one of the five-strong group of campaigners.
“I don’t think they disagreed with it on ideological grounds, it’s just that practically speaking, the costs of installing the toilets are an issue.”
However, since the idea was originally proposed, Trevelyan’s dining hall has been extended, potentially making room for the toilets.
Furthermore, a Facebook page inviting people to back the campaign has attracted over 70 likes, having been launched earlier this year.
According to Sulia, the installation of the toilets would help to make Durham more “progressive,” and “break down gender stereotypes” at the University.
“People seem to have this very black and white view of gender, when in reality it’s a much broader spectrum than that.
“That’s why this is an educative process, as well as a practical one.”
Will Emery, a Trevelyan student who is involved in the campaign, said the installation of the toilets could have a “massive” impact on trans* students.
“We believe that people have the right to feel comfortable whenever they go to the toilet.
“It’s something that we all take for granted, but trans* people don’t have that sort of comfort.”
When asked about the campaign, Professor Graham Towl, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden, said:
“The University respects and adapts to the needs of its students and staff, and we are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is inclusive and accessible.
“We welcome the discussion and debate about gender-neutral toilets and we have an open mind.”
Photograph: Venus Loi