Gender Neutral Restrooms: The Reality of Neutrality

Currently, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not schools in our area should include a gender neutral restroom. There are several conflicting points of view on this topic among many different students. While some believe that there are benefits from these bathrooms, others disagree.

One way to view these restrooms is as a safe place for transgender and non-binary students to use the restroom. Many transgender and gender non-conforming people feel anxious or upset when having to use a single gender restroom and feeling gender dysphoria, which is a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression, anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life. A gender neutral restroom would provide our LGBTQ+ students with a safe space to use the restroom, taking away the anxiety that may be held with a single gendered restroom.

Chora Gilstrap, a non-binary student at PV, was asked why gender neutral restrooms are beneficial and stated, “I think that it would feel like a safe space because being in a safe space where you don’t feel forced to choose between ‘male’ or ‘female’ can really make you feel accepted. I know for a fact that some kids do not feel accepted at home, so coming to school knowing that their identity is cared about really makes you feel safe.” Gender neutral restrooms can really bring a sense of security, comfort, and respect to LGBTQ+ students.

While the gender neutral restroom seems to have many pros, there are cons. Some people worry that gender neutral restrooms may cause some people to take advantage of them to harass other kids. Chico High student Megan Moural says, “High school is infamously thought of as a judgmental place to be in, and rightfully so. Bathrooms can feel just as uncomfortable as any other place in school. If gender neutral restrooms have many stalls, it may lead to negative encounters.” This leads into the next topic: whether or not these restrooms should be single or multi-stalled. One anonymous PV transgender student says, “I think single-stalled restrooms would be better. As nice as multiple stalls may be for some people, I just think most people are not mature enough for them.” Hazel Roy, a student at Inspire says, “I think gender neutral restrooms should have multiple stalls, just like a normal restroom, but have urinals and toilets to accommodate everyone.”

Though there may be some worries and possible negative effects to these restrooms, there are many reasons as to why they should be included in our schools. While controversies such as these seem to be black and white, we must also consider the gray area. Put yourself in the shoes of those who would find comfort and safety in a gender neutral bathroom available on school campuses in order to be inclusive of all walks of life. Be open-minded and lead by influence like a Viking.