UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility, or RSF, will renovate its locker rooms to become gender-inclusive, according to a Thursday press release.
The 4,500-square-foot facility, which will offer private changing rooms, showers, lockers and bathroom stalls and a non-gendered access point to the Spieker Pool, will be the first gender-inclusive locker room of its size and scope in the UC system, said Recreational Sports spokesperson Andy Davis.
“I’m excited to see this progress. I think the more gender inclusion there is on campus, the more everyone feels safe and welcome to use the facilities,” said ASUC Senator-elect Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff. “These locker rooms are going to benefit the whole community, which is exciting.”
The Capital Projects Committee — a campus administrative committee — approved the project last month, Durst said. According to Berkeley Rec Sports senior associate director Trineice Durst, the project is estimated to cost $2.7 million, funded entirely by the Wellness Initiative Fee, a student fee aimed at providing funds for health programs at UC Berkeley.
Billy Curtis, director of the campus’s Gender Equity Resource Center, said the gender-inclusive locker room widens inclusion beyond just the transgender and gender-diverse communities, adding that students with disabilities and people who seek more privacy can also benefit from the facility.
The renovation is expected to start in spring 2018 and finish in late fall that same year, Durst said.
Last year, Berkeley Rec Sports staff and students submitted a proposal to renovate the RSF locker rooms to include a gender-inclusive locker room, Durst said.
The discussion regarding the gender-inclusive locker room at RSF began in 2012, under former RSF director Mike Weinberger, Durst said. Weinberger introduced small changes towards greater inclusion, such as curtains for transgender students who seek more privacy, Curtis said.
The Memorial Stadium Fitness Center has offered gender-inclusive changing rooms and showers since 2014, according to the press release.
“Our ongoing efforts are for inclusivity as a whole,” Davis said.
Durst and Davis noted other efforts the RSF is making to support inclusivity, citing a campus Rec Sports program, Inclusive Recreation, designed to support activities for community members with disabilities. Through the program, the RSF also offers trainers specialized to work individually with students with disabilities.
Curtis said the effort to introduce a gender-inclusive locker room at RSF was a long process, and it received input from different communities across campus.
“Yet again, Berkeley leads even though we’re poor,” Curtis said. “This is one of those proud moments — very proud to be a Cal Bear, because we came together as a community and did the right thing.”