Look, bathrooms are bathrooms are bathrooms. The toilet in your house is gender-neutral, and so is peeing in the ocean. At this point we don’t need to tell you how silly it is that bathrooms are gendered—who among us hasn’t accidentally wandered into the “wrong” bathroom once, or twice, or actually-a-bunch-of-times-on-purpose-at-that-gig-because-the-line-was-long. Degendering bathrooms just makes sense. Not only are they affirming for our non-binary, gender diverse, and trans whānau, it also means binary-conforming people don’t need to climb up three flights of stairs to find a place to piss. Looking at you, General Library.
Luckily, the University of Auckland does actually have gender-neutral bathrooms, which you can find on their website.1 And as we soon found out, a lot of them are actually great. All of them come with a sanitary disposal unit, a toilet, and a sink, and a lot of them are accessible. So, no matter what gender you are, pop in for a spot of business, write in to the student board rep, and let them know we want more degendered thrones, monarchs. Just be respectful, and remember that for many of our rainbow community, gender-neutral bathrooms are essential; not just for comfort, but for security, and safety. In other words, don’t hog ‘em, okay?
Forget the first and ground level. There are too many people there. Instead, take the elevator to the very fancy third and fifth floors, where you’ll find two sets of gender-neutral bathrooms. The one on the fifth floor is extremely hard to find, and involves navigating a rabbit’s warren of terrifying hallways that are reminiscent of a budget hotel horror movie. However, when you find the promised land—the gender-neutral bathroom hidden around a corner—you’ll be rewarded with the best bathroom experience you could ask for at a public university. This toilet is utilitarian as fuck and very clean. It’s got polished, black decor, and moody lighting. The ones on the third floor are easier to find, being right around the corner from the elevator, and they’re accessible too. There’s just a little more traffic through these, but they carry the same vibe and they’re flushed with rainwater for extra sustainability points. These toilets are the toilet equivalent of that sexy minimalist influencer you guilt-follow on the ‘gram. Simplicity is hot.
There are a few gender-neutral toilets in Engineering, and as far as I can tell, they’re all fine. Except for the one on the first floor. My friends, the Engineering building, true to its high-tech form, has a gender-neutral toilet with a bidet. Round of applause for improved accessibility, first of all, and second of all, why aren’t there more of them?! I was too scared to attempt any of the functions, as I have the technological capacity of an infant. That, and I was wearing all-white. You get the gist. But you bet your ass—pun intended—that I sat down and had a wee. And now I know where I’m going in the icy ravages of winter, because that seat was heated. If you want the height of luxury on a student budget, take your toilet break in Engineering.
The Biology building boasts three gender neutral bathrooms, one in the basement level right next to the “men’s cloak room”, where I imagine swanky dudes with sideburns hung their dining jackets 100 years ago. The bathrooms aren’t that flash, with sticky blue lino and a very strong chemical disinfectant smell (you know the one) but they get the job done. My favourite is the basement toilet, because it comes with its very own helpful study guide: two bits of paper stuck to the wall that simply say “scallop”.
These toilets get bonus points because there are like, five gender-neutral toilets in a row. See, it’s not that hard is it? You’ll also have a great view while you’re waiting, as the toilets are opposite those pretty architectural windows the building is known for. Unfortunately, all that marble and grandeur does make it feel like you’re guiltily using the bathroom at some rich relative’s house to get away from them for a second.
This gender-neutral bathroom is exclusive access, only available to UoA’s most serious student journalists. Not really, but you do have to be a bFM volunteer to use it. This happens to be the shitter I frequent the most since I’m a staff member. But apart from the Graffiti wall, you’re not really missing out. It has pretty shit lighting, so it’s not the best for mirror selfies. But I guess we work in radio for a reason, so that’s not a problem (KIDDING!). I’d give extra points for cleanliness, demonstrated by the readily available Janola Power Clean. Overall, I give it a 95bFM Top Ten out of 10.
Down the hill, past the law cafe, and under the stairs lies a safe haven away from the LinkedIn vultures and law school zombies. The best part is that it’s so hidden no one can hear you cry or your asshole recreating Annalise Queefing’s greatest monologues. Even though the lighting is a bit harsh, it’s just like your lecturer’s marking so you’ll feel right at home. It’s got a sexy mid-length mirror for those social justice Instagram rants but I’m docking points for the lack of natural lighting. It’s definitely one of my favourite places on campus to sit on the floor and feel like I’m in a sensory-deprivation tank (a boy’s gotta do what a boy’s gotta do :/). If you’re into the whole sterile and secluded, the bowels of 810 has got to be the nicest place to clear your bowels.