A student committee has been formed at Loyola University Chicago (LUC) “to create and maintain gender-neutral bathrooms across campus,” according to the Loyola Phoenix. While several students were quoted in the article in favor of the initiative, no concerns were expressed regarding the negative impact such a move could have on the University’s Catholic identity.
The University’s Unified Student Government Association (USGA) was reportedly responsible for the formation of the committee. In addition to the USGA, the new committee has received support from the Department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, as well as Advocate, LUC’s LGBTQ student-organization, according to the article.
LUC already has family bathrooms in various buildings on campus, but the committee is seeking to have such bathrooms officially labeled as gender-neutral and convert some pre-existing single-sex bathrooms into “gender-neutral” facilities, according to the article.
The Phoenix explained that “gender-neutral bathrooms are facilities that have all the features that would be found in men’s or women’s restrooms, but are not designated for one specific gender.” Instead, “these bathrooms are designed for people who do not feel comfortable using gender-labeled facilities.”
Regarding sexual identity, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “man and woman have been created… in their respective beings as man and woman.” Additionally, “‘being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good and willed by God” and “they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.”
But one student and supporter of the committee told the Phoenix, “Offering a single-toilet room is a lot like the idea of ‘separate but equal,’… I don’t think it’s honoring the dignity of students that don’t conform to the gender binary unless the university offers gender-neutral bathrooms at the same capacity as gender-binary bathrooms.”
USGA’s chief communications officer told the Phoenix that “the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms is an initiative that really follows Loyola being a socially just institution.” She reportedly added that “if USGA passes a bill that abides by Loyola’s mission [and] it is in compliance with laws and university policies, then the administration will go forth with the new bill if the financial resources and support of students are present.”
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Another student who helped form the committee told the Phoenix that funding for the bathroom signs has already been provided by “a private donor, whose name [he] did not disclose.”
“We’re not going to run into interference based on social issues anymore,” one student leader reportedly stated. “It’s just a matter of having the money to make these changes.”
Neither Loyola University Chicago nor the USGA responded by time of publication to The Cardinal Newman Society’s request for comment on whether the development of “gender-neutral” bathrooms was in conflict with the University’s Catholic identity.
Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society