Gender-neutral toilets and changing rooms at Ruhr University Bochum

Ruhr University Bochum wants to ensure that toilets are a safe space that every person can use without experiencing any stress or anxiety. In order to facilitate equal participation for persons of all genders (including transgender, intersex and non-binary individuals) in university life, gender-neutral toilets will be installed on campus in addition to the existing ladies’ and men’s toilets. Changing rooms for all genders are also being built at some sports facilities.

Why do we need gender-neutral toilets?

Currently, the only existing toilet facilities in Ruhr University buildings are men’s, ladies’ and accessible unisex toilets (so-called disabled toilets, which are signposted accordingly.

This is a considerable hurdle for people who are unable to identify as a man or a woman or do not wish to do so, or who don’t conform to conventional gender roles: they might experience verbal abuse, threats or, in the worst case, physical assault in public toilets, because they use what others perceive to be the “wrong” toilet. This might result in considerable psychological stress and adverse health effects, as many people who made this experience will try to avoid going to the toilets by reducing their food and fluid intake.

In order to provide access to toilet facilities for all people working and studying at Ruhr University Bochum, we are repurposing existing toilets and adding new ones in addition to the existing ones, which then can be used as gender-neutral toilets regardless of gender identity.

Who can use gender-neutral toilets?

Gender-neutral toilets can be used by people of all genders. By introducing gender-neutral toilets, we’re accommodating a larger, not a more limited group of people. This means that women, men, and people who don’t identify as either can use them. Anyone who doesn’t want to use them simply continues to use the existing ladies’ and men’s toilets. Depending on how they’re equipped, gender-neutral toilets are also convenient for other groups of people, such as

  • a father who needs to change his daughter’s diaper
  • a woman with disabilities who has a male assistant and requires his help going to the toilet
  • a parent with children of different genders
  • a person with an ileostomy for the purpose of stoma care
  • a person who wants to discreetly rinse a menstrual cup
  • a person who wishes to discreetly adjust their hairpiece or head covering

Does that mean there will be no more men’s and ladies’ restrooms?

No. Most toilet facilities will remain to be ladies’ and men’s toilets. This means that anyone who doesn’t wish to use gender-neutral toilets can continue to use the ladies’ and men’s toilets next door.

Why don’t all buildings have gender-neutral toilets?

The gender-neutral toilet in GA is a first step. If at all feasible, our long-term goal is to provide gender-neutral toilets in all buildings so that as many students and employees as possible have easy access to them.

What are all-gender changing rooms and how are they equipped?

Persons of all genders should also be able to change in the sports facilities. If the structural conditions on site allow, these all-gender changing rooms are also equipped with a shower and/or WC. Again, these changing rooms are open to all people at the Ruhr-Universität. This does not reduce the number of existing changing rooms. Under "Locations" you will find an overview of the locker room equipment at the respective sports facility.

Where to find gender-neutral toilets

Equipment type I:

Single cabins with:

Sitting WC
Hygiene bucket
Tampon dispenser
(Urinal in former men's WC)

Locations: in planning

Equipment type II:

Multi-person toilet facilities with:

Separate cubicles with seated WC
Common anteroom with washbasin
Hygiene bucket

Locations: in planning

Equipment type III:

Multi-person toilet facilities with special equipment:

Individual cubicles with floor-to-ceiling or floor-to-ceiling partitions and seated WCs
Mirror and hygiene bucket in individual cubicle
Anteroom with washbasin, baby changing facilities and tampon dispenser.


GA 02 North: opening 10/2023

Equipment type IV:

Single cubicles with special equipment:

Room-high or floor-to-ceiling partition walls
Sitting WC and urinal
Washbasin, mirror and hygiene bucket
Changing facilities and tampon dispenser

Locations: In planning for new buildings

Where to find gender-neutral changing rooms

Location: Artificial turf pitch south of G-row


  • Single locker room


  • Campus sports hall
  • Westring


In planning

Location: Markstraße


in planning

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