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Canadian Museum for Human Rights makes washrooms gender inclusive

Click to play video: 'New gender neutral bathrooms at CMHR' New gender neutral bathrooms at CMHR
Global News Morning’s Kahla Evans gets all the details on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights changing all washrooms to gender-inclusive spaces – May 17, 2022

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is making all its washrooms gender inclusive.

Washrooms will list the amenities available in each space instead of using “men’s” or “women’s” designations, the museum announced Tuesday.

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The change will mean every washroom in the museum will be available to people of any gender or gender expression.

“It’s been a long time conversation around safety for folks who don’t identify with the binary system or trans folks,” Haran Vijayanathan, director of equity and strategic initiatives at the CMHR, told Global News Morning Winnipeg.

Click to play video: 'Canadian Museum for Human Rights makes washrooms gender inclusive' Canadian Museum for Human Rights makes washrooms gender inclusive
Canadian Museum for Human Rights makes washrooms gender inclusive – May 17, 2022

“It really is important to create some spaces and a safe experience for everyone when they visit the museum.”

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Vijayanathan said the change is also an important shift for parents and caregivers, who can now go into any washroom to provide support.

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“We’ve heard from community and our staff, volunteers, visitors to the museum and special request being made for, you know, gender-inclusive washrooms,” he said, adding the museum previously had single-occupancy washrooms, but they weren’t labelled as gender-inclusive.

“So this is the move that we’re making to make sure that all of our washrooms are inclusive.”

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights opens in Winnipeg on Friday. Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

“Basically you choose what you need to use and wash your hands and leave.”

Vijayanathan said the museum hopes the move will encourage other organizations to make changes.

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“It’s inevitable that we’re moving in this direction and so we’re happy to play a part in having that conversation,” he said.

“We’re hoping that other institutions in our city and across the country will listen and ask us questions and we’re happy to support and start walking towards that change.”

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The museum said updates to its washrooms will happen in phases.

By the end of this week, all signage will be changed to include the specific amenities available in each space, including icons for toilets, urinals and adult or child change tables.

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The museum said all washrooms will now also have free menstrual products available, as well as disposal units.

Future changes may include physical changes to washrooms, including floor-to-ceiling privacy panels around toilets and urinals, the CMHR said in a media release.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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