In pursuit of its goal to “eliminate barriers to wellness,” the University of California at Berkeley is shelling out $3 million for a brand new, 4,500 square foot, “gender inclusive” locker room for its Recreational Sports Facility.
UC Berkeley was ahead of the curve, of course, in implementing new regulations requiring gender-neutral bathrooms and changing rooms on campus.
But because of the progressive nature of Berkeley’s students, faculty and administration, they couldn’t simply re-purpose existing bathrooms, or create a middling, generic locker room for use by the gender-fluid and agendered—they had to create the largest, fanciest and most well-appointed locker room in UC’s system.
According to a press release, the new locker rooms will “reduc[e] the barriers to wellness for often marginalized student and campus communities including trans and non-gender binary students.”
The facility will feature totally private changing rooms and locker stalls, as well as state-of-the-art shower and restroom facilities, designed for the comfort of those who believe gender is a social construct.
The locker rooms will also have “non-gendered” access points to some of the school’s other facilities, so no one assumes students’ gender because they happened to exit into the pool and gym from a specific restroom or changing room.
But while the move is hailed as eminently progressive, Berkeley’s foray into posh locker rooms isn’t coming cheap. Construction is projected to cost around $2.7 million—and all of that money is coming out of fees students pay for “wellness” programs on campus (those average about $150 per student per semester).
The school says its well worth it. “This locker room project not only symbolically affirms our campus values of inclusivity and access for all, but it provides a tangible service for students who are currently being underserved,” the school’s “Rec Sports” webpage claims. They also say that the facility will come in handy for students with disabilities or those who prefer a more private locker room experience.