University Of Toronto Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Reduced After Voyeurism Reports

Two women reported seeing someone reach a cellphone over while they were in the shower.
University College, the main building of the University of Toronto, constructed in the 1850s.
University College, the main building of the University of Toronto, constructed in the 1850s.

The University of Toronto (U of T) is temporarily changing its policy on gender-neutral bathrooms after two reports of voyeurism in a student residence.

Two women showering in Whitney Hall, a residence at U of T's University College, reported they saw a cellphone reach over the shower-stall dividers in an attempt to record them, in two different incidents, police Const. Victor Kwong told The Toronto Star.

Melinda Scott, dean of students at University College, told campus newspaper The Varsity that some washrooms in the college's residences will now be separated by gender for "those who identify as men and those who identify as women."

"At the same time, there remains at least one gender-neutral washroom per floor and per house,” Scott said.

“The purpose of this temporary measure is to provide a safe space for the women who have been directly impacted by these events and other students who may feel more comfortable in a single-gender washroom in the wake of these incidents."

A first-year Whitney Hall resident told the Varsity she was disappointed by the voyeurism reports.

“I think it sucks that there are going to be people that don’t feel safe in Whitney now, and that we can’t have an inclusive environment," Melissa Birch said.

Police don't yet know anything about the perpetrator in the incidents, which took place on Sept. 15 and 19, the Star reported.

But they're still investigating, the newspaper added.

Gender-neutral washrooms exist in order to give transgender people a place where they feel included, and where they won't be misgendered, says U of T's Washroom Inclusivity Project.

Transgender people, it said, might not be comfortable in specifically "male" or "female" washrooms, and may worry that they could be "misgendered" by other people.