Beginning in January, single-occupancy public restrooms in Illinois must be gender-neutral. Signage should identify these places as "restrooms" and not specify any specific gender. Northern Illinois University has already implemented this in several areas of campus. Assistant Professor Katy Jaekel said this helped foster inclusivity for students and staff.
“This was something that a lot of very dedicated people on our campus were working towards and it makes me feel like I belong and that I matter,” she said.
Molly Holmes is Director of NIU's Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at Northern Illinois University. She said it's also a matter of access.
"It gives everyone the opportunity to choose a restroom to use based on how they identify, what they're most comfortable with," she said. "So at NIU, there will be gender-inclusive restrooms as well as gendered restrooms, and people should use the restroom of which they best identify with and feel comfortable."
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, “places of public accommodation” refers to many different locations. Among them are stores, restaurants, hotels, and schools.