11 Dec Construction moves forward for all-gender bathrooms
By Adri Yarkin, Copy Editor
The upstairs bathrooms are getting a makeover. The stalls will be modified so that they reach nearly to the floor and are tall enough to ensure privacy with no gaps. The urinal will be removed from the current men’s room. The signs outside the doors will change to all-gender. These alterations are expected to take place by January, when students return from winter break.
The Queer Spectrum Alliance (QSA) first started discussing the possibility of all-gender bathrooms two years ago and began lobbying for them second semester of last year. They made a presentation to the school board that included an essay, a discussion about how it might affect the students and district, and curricula for student, faculty and parent education.
“Making bathrooms all-gender is the safest and clearest way to prevent students from having to explain or justify their bathroom use to anyone else,” Principle Danny Rock said. “[It’s] something none of us should ever have to endure.”
The safety of trans students is a major reason for the change. The decision of which gendered bathroom to enter can be difficult for trans and gender-nonconforming students, particularly when it comes to facing the opinions of other students.
“[It’s the question of] ‘which place am I least likely to be harassed today?’” Leo Macleod, co-president of QSA said. “Where will I not be hurt for who I am?”
All students have the legal right to use the bathrooms — as well as locker rooms — that correspond with their self-identified gender.
Currently, the option with the lowest likelihood for harassment for non-cisgender students is the single stall bathroom by the theater. Cisgender is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.
Students who wish to use the single stall bathroom rather than the gendered ones have experienced a multitude of obstacles. The single stall bathroom is located far from most of the classrooms, which places students in a position to be questioned by faculty since they look as though they are ditching class. Additionally, it is kept locked.
“Getting the key forces people to out themselves,” Iris Sackman, co-president of QSA said.
This all leads to stress and more time spent away from class.
The location for the all-gender bathrooms was chosen with all students in mind. If students feel uncomfortable using them, there is a set of traditionally gendered bathrooms on the floor below — just at the bottom of the staircase.
“We’ve got overwhelming support,” MacLeod said. “[Even so], we are expecting resistance, because it is change.”
The educational component of the implementation will include an assembly for students in November regarding all-gender bathrooms, as well as meetings for parents and teachers.
“I hope students will embrace this as an opportunity to be kind, generous, inclusive, and to respect others,” Rock said. “Removing a barrier around bathroom access and dialoguing with one another about gender diversity will only make us stronger.”