Gender Expansive/Neutral Bathhouses at Red Feather Center @ DMC

Gender Expansive/Neutral Bathhouses at Red Feather Center @ DMC

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Why this petition matters

NOTE: This letter will be sent to the President's Cabinet, MCIC, JEDI, and SUN at Naropa University.

If you are a member of the Naropa Community who has been or will be affected by the binary gendered facilities at the Red Feather Lake Conference Center, as well as allies to this initiative, please sign the petition with your full name and relationship(s) with Naropa.


Dear President's Cabinet, MCIC, JEDI, and SUN,

As students, alumnx, and community members of Naropa University, we understand there are funds from Naropa allocated to building a new Maitri cottage at Drala Mountain Center (DMC). In contemplating our experience of attending retreats at the Red Feather Lake Conference Center (RFLCC) and the teachings on Maitri Space Awareness, we would like to advocate for these funds to be allocated instead to the creation and/or reconfiguration of bathhouses available to students. 

Currently, there are two bathhouses on the RFLCC categorized by binary gender constructs. This inequitable arrangement is inherently discriminatory against transgender, gender-expansive, and agender folx and has caused a great deal of harm on the minds, bodies, and spirits of students attending retreats. The deep work that is possible at retreat requires the right use of power and intentional development of a safe container where our identities are validated and respected. At retreat, we want to be able to shower and use the bathroom without considering whether we are welcome in the current binary bathhouse options. 

Recently, many of us have expressed such concern and have been asked by faculty to come up with our own solutions. While we appreciate the openness to considering how we can make this arrangement more equitable, this ask has also placed additional labor onto us to have to find a more humanizing solution for all participants. Some of the options we have considered are building a third bathhouse that is explicitly nonbinary or reconfiguring the two current bathhouses so that they can be used by people of all genders and nongenders. We understand Maitri to be loving-kindness toward ourselves and each other that is able to grow from a place of accessibility and safety, and gender inclusive restrooms are a necessary part of such a foundation. Gender expansive students have been provided access to an all-gender shower and bathroom in the downtown area at DMC. Accessing this bathroom, however, requires additional physical and emotional labor, as the bathroom is at least a 10–20-minute walk on uneven terrain from RFLCC, which is additionally inaccessible to students with varying physical abilities. It is important to note that this is one bathroom addressing the needs of many students, for example almost half of the first-year cohort includes gender expansive folx.

We acknowledge that either building a new bathhouse or restructuring the current one does not address the underlying issued of implicit bias, transphobia, or gender-based discrimination, but it provides the potential for a retreat space that all genders and nongenders may have equal and safe access to the same facilities. This is an issue that needs to be addressed regardless of the current funding from Naropa for building at DMC. We request a direct response from the President’s Cabinet by the end of April acknowledging receipt and the university’s next steps regarding the bathrooms at RFLCC at DMC.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Gender Expansive Members and Allies of the First-, Second-, and Third-Year Cohort Members of the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Program at Naropa University

50 have signed. Let’s get to 100!