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Open, all-gender restrooms at UH Medical School spark concern

<i></i><br/>An open
Lawrence, Nakia

An open

By Shanila Kabir

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — An open, all-gender restroom at the University of Hawaii Medical School is raising some community concerns. Some believe this type of restroom is inappropriate and could be dangerous, especially for children. Others said the restroom acknowledges inclusivity.

A Makiki resident told Island News he was shocked when he saw a woman walking out of a restroom that he was about to use. There is an all-gender sign and the bathroom is set up like a traditional men’s restroom.

He hopes this does not become the norm at public restrooms and if possible, he wants this restroom at the medical school discontinued. He asked to remain anonymous.

“Let’s say a young child walks in, or a teen, and sees a woman and she abuses him. He would scream, but if they come out, it would her, an adult, against a child’s,” he said.

This is not a single stall unisex restroom or a family restroom like you can find at the mall. This is an open, all-gender restroom that cannot be locked by a single user. Both men and women can use the restroom together at the same time.

The director of the LGBTQ community at UH, Camaron Miyamoto, said the staff issued a survey before these bathrooms were introduced to the campus and most students voted “yes.” He said there around 35 gender neutral restrooms at the campus including the single stalls.

“Around 80% of the building occupants at UH said they felt comfortable with type of restroom. It benefits so many different types of people including handicapped and those assisting them,” said Miyamoto.

Others agree these types of restrooms are more inclusive. Former UH professor Dr. Kalani Brady said people can use another restroom if they are uncomfortable and there is a women’s restroom located right next to the all-gender restroom.

“I don’t think they’re dangerous and we have a wonderful cleaning staff as a part of JABSOM that takes into account their sanitation,” said Brady.

Camaron Miyamoto also said families use the gender neutral bathrooms more than any other visitors at University of Hawaii. He adds harassment and bullying have declined significantly after these restrooms opened up to include LGBTQ community members.

Island News posted a poll on our Instagram page stories asking our followers if they would feel comfortable using a public, all-gender restroom at the same time as people of different genders. As of 4 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 29) the results were 24% “Yes” and 76% “No” with 82 total votes tallied.

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