Gender neutral bathrooms at school provide a non-discriminatory environment for trans and gender nonconforming people


Karla Solorzano

Gender neutral bathroom by cybrary

Karla Solorzano, Yearbook Editor

Gender-neutral, or unisex, bathrooms are becoming more common. Following the new California Gender-Neutral Bathroom law, GUSD recently added unisex bathrooms for both faculty and students. Although this is the right step for a more inclusive and nondiscriminatory school setting, many are wary of these changes.

GUSD, in accordance with state law and their own policy, revamped the 1300 building’s bathroom that is closest to the teacher bathroom. The usual bathroom sign with a male or female on it has since been replaced with a white shaded triangle. This triangle is used to identify a single user restroom available to either sex, or in this case gender as well.

Because of these varying gender identities, GUSD have formal regulations in place to prevent any discrimination towards these people. The District’s student welfare regulations state that “[a] student shall be entitled to access facilities and participate in programs and activities consistent with his/her gender identity. To address any student’s privacy concerns in using sex-segregated facilities, the District shall offer available options, such as a gender-neutral or single-use restroom or changing area.”

Uni-sex bathrooms or access to one has never been denied or ignored. Simply, we have never had one besides the bathroom in the nurse’s office.

Every day, transgender and gender nonconforming people face discrimination, and even more so in a bathroom. According to a Williams Institute study, transgender people face more verbal slurs and violence when using a public restroom. The primary experience that most trans and gender nonconforming people encounter is told to leave the facility and they are ridiculed.

Having a unisex bathroom in public settings, especially in schools where bullying is more likely to occur amongst their own peers, allows for these students with different gender identities to choose to use a bathroom that is more inclusive. Students who fall under this category will not have to worry about which bathroom to use and will not have to wait until the bathroom empties in fear of harassment, because with the unisex bathroom in place they will have the chance to opt for a safer facility.

There is still the argument that these unisex bathrooms will be “dangerous” for cisgender or straight people. This notion that they are more at risk because of predators is not true. There have been anti-discrimination laws that protect those who have different gender identities for years, and there is no evidence they lead to attacks in public facilities.This only adds to transphobia and is an implication that trans women are more likely to be sexual predators, which is ridiculous.

Because these bathrooms are open to everyone and are not the only bathrooms accessible to students, those who identify as cisgender have the option to not use these facilities.

Aside from the “dangerous” aspect, some believe that transgender or gender nonconforming people have a mental illness, and because of their “disorder” they should not be catered to. Being transgender is not a mental illness; it is a valid state in which someone identifies with a gender that does not match the one they were assigned to at birth.

Some have overreacted to this remodeling and fail to see that in actuality California and GUSD are creating a more inclusive environment with the new gender neutral bathrooms. It is important to remember that as a public school we, as students, are guaranteed a safe space and supportive environment. This renovation will provide just that — a safe and friendly environment for those who are trans or gender nonconforming.