Washrooms

Contact(s)

At the Health Unit, every washroom is gender inclusive. This means that anyone can use the washroom that feels right for them. There are many types of washrooms at our offices, including:

  • Binary (men's or women's)

  • Accessible (enough space for wheelchairs, walkers, guide dogs, families, etc.)

  • All-gender (single stalls anyone can use)

 This page will answer questions and address concerns you may have about our washrooms.

What are gender inclusive washrooms?

Gender inclusive washrooms mean that everyone has the right to use the washroom they feel most comfortable in based on their gender identity and/or expression. Discrimination in or outside of washrooms is not allowed. This follows the Ontario Human Rights Code. 

What do gender identity and gender expression mean? 

Gender identity is a person's internal and individual experience of gender.  It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along or outside the gender spectrum.  A person's gender identity may or may not be the same as their sex assigned at birth.

For many people, their sex and gender identity align. For some, they do not. A person may be born with male physical traits and/or hormones and identify as a woman. Similarly, a person may be born with female physical traits and/or hormones and identify as a man.

Gender expression is how a person shows their gender to other people.  This can include, for instance, their clothes, hairstyle, body language, and voice. A person's chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of showing gender.

Adapted from The 519’s Glossary

What are the differences between binary, accessible and all-gender washrooms?

Binary washrooms are labelled male or female. At the Health Unit, these washrooms have several stalls. Everyone who identifies as the labelled gender and/or a trans* person may use this space. Trust that every person knows which washroom is right for them.

Accessible washrooms (enough space for wheelchairs, walkers, guide dogs, families, etc.) are built with accessibility-related needs in mind. For instance, these washrooms may accommodate people with disabilities, families with children, and gender diverse communities. Each person can decide whether or not an accessible washroom is right for them.

All-gender washrooms are spaces that are not linked to a specific gender. Anyone can use this washroom. Each Health Unit office has private, single-stall washrooms that are all-gender. These washrooms are identified with a symbol of a toilet on the door.

Why are gender inclusive washrooms needed?

Having gender inclusive washrooms protect the rights and safety of all who use the washroom. Transphobic violence, the fear of harassment, being perceived as trans, and being “outed” are all reasons why many trans* and non-binary people avoid public spaces like washrooms. Inclusive washroom practices show less cases of violence, harassment, and discrimination against members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) communities.

Promoting gender inclusive washrooms using signs can decrease anxiety among trans and non-binary persons in choosing the washroom most comfortable for them. It also empowers and gives control to the individual. 

What if I am worried about my own privacy and safety in a washroom?

Everyone deserves to feel safe. The Health Unit’s washroom options and signage decisions have been made with care and concern for the safety of everyone.

If you feel unsafe or if someone is being inappropriate inside or outside a washroom (e.g. saying unkind comments or staring), tell reception right away.

There are single all-gender washrooms if you feel uncomfortable sharing the space with another person.

What if someone doesn't look masculine or feminine enough to use a particular washroom?

Telling a person that they should look a specific way to use a certain washroom is unfair and discriminatory. Please trust that every person knows which washroom is best for them.

Which washroom should a caregiver and their dependent use?

Caregivers may use any washroom that either corresponds with their gender identity and/or expression or the gender identity and/or gender expression of their dependent. 

Where can I learn more?

Thank you to the students, staff and members of the trans* community at Nipissing University for developing the signage we use in our Health Unit.  

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808