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New Aggie Rec Center houses campus’s first all-gender locker room

By Mekenna Malan

LOGAN — When the new Aggie Recreation Center opened in November, it became the first facility on campus to house a climbing wall and rapelling ledge. It also will soon be the first campus facility with an all-gender locker room.

wpid-167_4817_6961Brooke Lambert, the program coordinator for USU’s Access and Diversity Center, worked with Campus Recreation in the very early phases of design to make sure there would be space for an all-gender locker room. She feels the addition of this room is important to make sure all students at Utah State feel safe when in “potentially vulnerable situations.”

“Students who may present as not very masculine or not very feminine can experience anxiety when entering gendered spaces and can experience harassment,” Lambert said. “It is important for us to provide spaces where everyone feels safe regardless of their gender identity and expression.”

The locker room, on the first floor of the Rec Center next to the male and female locker rooms, is currently labeled as a family restroom. It will soon be relabeled as “all-gender,” and unisex bathrooms throughout the center will be relabeled as all-gender as well.

“We are working with USU Signs to get the signage changed, because right now there isn’t another building that has an all-gender sign,” said Chase Ellis, the Campus Recreation director. “Because it has previously been a family bathroom containing six lockers, there will be no difference in who uses the room. We want to relabel it to create an environment where everyone will feel invited.”

Lambert said some people experience anxiety in gendered spaces, and this anxiety can prevent them from taking advantage of different programs or facilities. Hoping to combat this, Ellis believes having an all-gender locker room will help make the Center a place for people of all identities to feel accepted.

“We want everyone to know we have a space for them,” he said.

TP