And We Mean All Gender

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And We Mean All Gender

Olivia Baird and Mira Bohannan Kumar

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Over the past year, City High’s Student Senate has been working with GLOW Club to bring an important matter to the attention of the school board: the initiative of transforming a gender-designated restroom into a neutral gender restroom in City High. It took several months and many meetings, but finally the Senate received the go-ahead to make the requested changes.

While City High had had a gender neutral restroom last year, it was technically gender-designated as a women’s restroom, was only one stall, and was located in a far corner of the school in the basement of the music wing, making it nearly impossible to use the restroom and get to class on time. We needed another gender-neutral restroom, one that was accessible to students trying to get through their normal school day.

The second-floor restroom in the new wing was officially made gender-neutral over the summer. Its purpose is to create a safe place for those students who are transitioning and transgender. Having a restroom for anyone and everyone to go to the restroom at City is a very important thing to have and, in my opinion, this should be required in all schools.

Prior to this change, there were several problems pertaining to the lack of gender-neutral restrooms. Some students who were members of the trans* community did not feel safe using the gender-designated restrooms at school. Some felt unable to use them at all, and had to wait until they arrived home at the end of the day to use the restroom. This created an uncomfortable and extremely stressful school environment for these students, the complete opposite of what school should be like for anyone.

Many teachers and students seem to be under the impression that this restroom is specifically for members of the trans* community, but this is not true. The new restroom is called an all-gender restroom, so this includes everyone. Letting everyone in one bathroom may appear to raise some concerns, but if it were just for those who are transgender or transitioning, that would exclusive and the reverse of what it is all about. This new bathroom is for everyone–trans* or cis–and thinking that its purpose is anything less than inclusion for all is not doing justice to what it means that our school is taking this important step toward making sure everyone feels valid in our community.