Planned Changes to FUUSN’s Bathroom Configuration

Our Unitarian Universalist principles affirm and promote the “inherent worth and dignity of every person” and the practice of “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.” We practice our beliefs, in part, by creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for worship and community. One way we can express this is by establishing bathroom facilities that are physically accessible and open to people of any gender.

Gender neutral bathrooms benefit various people including those who are uncomfortable in men’s or women’s rooms because of their gender identity or gender expression. In addition, persons with caregivers who are a different gender from them benefit from gender neutral bathrooms. Parents/caregivers may also feel more comfortable attending to their children’s needs in gender neutral bathrooms.

The Operations Council and the Welcoming Congregation Implementation Team have been discussing the issue of FUUSN’s bathroom configuration for over a year in an effort to meet the needs of our congregants. Last year, as a first step, the Operations Council designated the two bathrooms in the classroom corridor and the two bathrooms on the second floor as gender neutral. While a valuable first step, this configuration requires those wishing to use a gender neutral bathroom during coffee hour to either go upstairs or through the kitchen to the classroom corridor; none of the gender neutral bathrooms are thus physically accessible for all. In addition, this configuration did not have an accessible bathroom with a table for changing an infant (the only changing table was in a classroom corridor bathroom).

We considered various ways to address these issues and concluded that, given the physical structures and constraints of our building, the most welcoming and inclusive plan would be to have all bathrooms at FUUSN be gender neutral and to replace the urinal in the men’s room with a changing table (the latter work was completed this past fall).

Over the past couple of months we have heard from a number of you expressing some concerns and discomfort, particularly with the plan for all gender neutral bathrooms. We have heard these concerns and as a result, we have changed the initial plans and will designate the two classroom corridor bathrooms as single gender on Sundays. The women’s room will be the room with two stalls and the men’s room has one stall and an infant changing table. We will install a curtain in the stall in the men’s room for additional privacy.

We will hold a meeting after services on Sunday February 3 to offer an opportunity to discuss these planned changes, including why we believe they are important to FUUSN, and to listen to your thoughts. Please join us in the Children’s Chapel at 11:45—we look forward to hearing from you. To help us all keep track of the planned changes to the 6 bathrooms at FUUSN, please see below for a summary of the current configuration and the planned configuration.

Current bathroom configuration:

2 single gender, physically accessible bathrooms just outside the parish hall; men’s room with one stall and infant changing table; women’s room with two stalls

2 gender neutral bathrooms (not physically accessible) in classroom corridor; one with infant changing table

2 gender neutral bathrooms (not physically accessible) on the second floor

Planned bathroom configuration:

2 gender neutral, physically accessible bathrooms just outside the parish hall; one with two stalls and the other with one stall and infant changing table; privacy strips have been installed in open spaces between the stall door and walls.

2 single gender bathrooms (not physically accessible) in classroom corridor on Sundays; men’s room with infant changing table

2 gender neutral bathrooms (not physically accessible) on the second floor

Questions? Feel free to contact any Operations Council member—Susan Bartlett, Laurel Farnsworth, Sharon Sisskind, Rand Stone, Ted Hess-Mahan, and Judy Curby, or Linda Ross or Chris Krebs of the Welcoming Congregation Team.

Current CRE Committee Members are Stephanie Kendall, Amanda Graff, Beth Walton, Ashley Levesque, Maura Morse, Lisa Marino, Kim Shanks