May 16, 2017
Oxford County’s Rainbow Coalition promotes “The Bathroom Project”
The project supports International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17
NEWS FROM OXFORD COUNTY'S RAINBOW COALITION
Oxford County’s Rainbow Coalition recognizes that “Everyone Needs to Go”. Starting tomorrow, May 17, for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia local businesses and service organizations in Oxford County will be given a package of information designed to increase knowledge about the issue of accessible bathrooms. Oxford County’s Rainbow Coalition is hoping to raise awareness about the availability of existing gender neutral bathrooms in organizations and businesses and to support others who could easily create bathrooms that are accessible, by providing suggestions and support to be able to make the change.
Bathrooms that are exclusively male and female assigned, can be very difficult for many people. Individuals who do not physically appear to fit their assigned gender can be harassed and threatened by using these bathrooms, often avoiding public washroom use for this reason. Gendered bathrooms can also pose a problem for parents with their opposite gendered children, or people who are disabled and require assistance to use the bathroom but their caregiver is of the opposite gender.
The good news is that there are many businesses and organizations who have already taken the steps to create accessible bathrooms in their businesses. Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese has had Gender Neutral bathrooms since they opened their business almost 6 years ago. Habitual Chocolate recently made a splash on Facebook when sharing images of their new “All-Gender Washroom” signs.
The Bathroom Project will be an ongoing project, with support from Oxford County Pride. They will host a “Where to go” page on their website, where businesses and organizations can advertise their gender neutral bathrooms throughout the year.
To receive a package, contact Oxford County Public Health at 519-539-9800 ext. 3451.
Colleen Bator, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
"Creating gender-neutral bathrooms wasn't just a priority for making our staff feel comfortable, but also the community at large. Being cognizant that our customer base is rich in diversity of all kinds, it is important to create spaces that are accessible and help them to feel safe and even celebrated. By having gender neutral bathrooms you are really doing just that and it's such an easy thing to do!Also, in my other career as a teacher I see how most of our schools have done this already, so it's about time us old folks learn from the kids in our community!"
Shannon Sepers, Habitual Chocolate
“We’ve always wanted our shop to be a safe, comfortable, welcoming place to come.If the simple effort of creating gender neutral washrooms can help our customers and community feel those things, we are so happy to be a part it.”
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is held on May 17 each year. The date is symbolic as it was the day the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, thereby helping to put an end to homophobia through medical diagnosis and improving the status of gays and lesbians.
About Oxford County’s Rainbow Coalition
Oxford County’s Rainbow Coalition recognizes the importance of providing support for Oxford’s LGBTQ community. The Coalition looks to address ongoing issues of homophobia and heterosexism in the Oxford County community. Its mission is to make the community diverse, supportive, and safe for all people to live, work and play. The Coalition is comprised of local organizations including Oxford County Public Health, the Oxford County Community Health Centre and CMHA Oxford. For more information visit the Rainbow Coalition Facebook page.