Re-examining the gender-neutral bathroom controversy

According to sophomore Ellie Walker, “People have a right to pee in peace.” Another anonymous member of the class of ’16 disagreed: “I don’t understand the need for them… If [you’re a boy] use the Men’s and if [you’re a girl] use the Women’s.”

These comments were in reference to the gender-neutral bathrooms in the science wing that were supposed to be installed along with the renovation. However, as many of you may notice, there are no gender-neutral bathrooms in the school, and the science wing restrooms are still labeled “Women” and “Men.”

        The point of gender-neutral bathrooms is that any student who did not feel that they identify with a specific gender would not have to choose to own only one part of their identity when choosing which bathroom to walk into. When someone who is gender-queer or gender-nonconforming walks into a gendered restroom they are labeling themselves one gender or the other. While not everyone in our community has experienced this particular feeling, most people know what it feels like to need to choose to own one part of our identities and leave out another in a given situation.

On the other hand, most students haven’t experienced sharing a bathroom with someone who has the outward appearance of the opposite gender and/or sex. A member of the class of 2016 commented,

        The actual change to gender-neutral bathrooms is simple; all that would happen is the signs on the wall next to the restroom would not read “Men” and “Women,” but instead “Gender Neutral.” That’s it. The facilities wouldn’t be changed at all. The goal is simply to make a safe, essentially un-labeled space for any student who enters it. According to Ms. Graybeal, the school is in full support of the change but feel that no student has owned it as their cause. As Ms. Graybeal said, “having a building in which all of the bathrooms are gendered implies that, by definition, we believe that every single person in the building must or should identify as one gender.”

        There is no set date or time when the school believes this will be done. This change is mostly on the shoulders of the students. So will we take a stand? Are we ready for gender-neutral bathrooms?