Removal of gender-neutral signs sparks controversy

By John Thomas

This 2014 photo shows one of the gender non-specific signs that was removed from the Campus Y. (Risi Ademola/Carolina Connection)

As H-B-2 continues to make its way through the courts, UNC will add 150 gender-neutral bathrooms to bring the campus total close to 300. But there is controversy on campus about how those bathrooms will be labeled. The university planned to label those bathrooms with signs depicting figures of a man, a woman and a wheelchair to comply with federal government recommendations.

But the Campus Y, a building on campus that houses student organizations committed to social justice, already had a few gender-neutral restrooms in its building.  And those had different signs – with the transgender symbol – which combines elements of those male and female symbols made of circles and arrows.

At the start of the school year, those older signs were removed and replaced with the university-approved signs without warning. Campus Y co-president Regan Buchanan soon discovered the change. We spoke with Buchanan and asked her how she reacted.

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