YMCA

Cosine Collective combines design strategy and data with blue sky creativity and foresight to deliver innovation that sets up long term business advantage. As a student-run organization within the MBA in Design Strategy program at California College of the Arts, our cohorts offer civic, social venture and not-for-profit clients a broad array of skills and expertise to address challenges large and small.

The Oakland YMCA differentiates itself from other gyms in the area with its strong sense of community that begins with its commitment to social justice and shows up at the core of youth programming, summer camps, senior morning coffee chats, and family dances in the gym. This sense of community can be found on a daily basis in the locker room.

Yet management were receiving regular complaints about the lack of privacy. Furthermore, a subsection of complaints retaliated against transgender women using the women’s changing room. Although management supported the right of members to use the locker room best aligned with their gender identity, this ethical stance had begun to impact the feeling of community so important to the Y.

An architecture firm was contracted to design an all-gender locker room, but this is a very expensive solution needed validation. Would transgender women, who identify as women, use an all-gender restroom? Were there less expensive non-architectural ways to provide safe spaces for all women? And ultimately, how might the YMCA create a locker room environment safe and welcoming for all members?