All students should have access to a bathroom

For most students, walking into the bathroom is no big deal. But for some students, going to the bathroom can be one of the hardest parts of the day.

In a society where a binary gender system is rooted into daily life, unisex or all-gender bathrooms are rare. Currently, there are three single-stalled bathrooms located in the school although they have not yet been labeled as all-gender or unisex.

The limited student access to these bathrooms and the lack of all-gender bathrooms throughout the school makes a simple task unnecessarily difficult for transgender or non-binary students.

Transgender students find it difficult to use gendered bathrooms because they do not feel comfortable using the bathroom of the gender assigned to them at birth.

Some feel like they don’t belong to or are denied access to gendered bathrooms. Other students may not identify with any gender and do not know which bathroom to use.

A study conducted by the Williams Institute at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) found that 42 percent of transgender students at a school in Washington, D.C., were denied access or verbally harassed while using the school’s designated male or female bathrooms.

Everyone needs to use the bathroom, that’s a fact.

Schools should recognize the needs of their students and adapt.
According to the UCLA study, 7 percent of gender non-conforming students developed urinary tract infections after “holding it in” and avoiding the bathroom throughout the whole school day.

If administration does not create all-gender bathrooms and make them accessible to students, transgender or non-conforming students will continue to face discomfort.

Introducing single-stalled bathrooms will help take the weight off transgender students’ bladders. However, we must inform students to take the weight off the stigma.

Even with the creation of single-stall all-gender bathrooms, stigmas regarding their use may exist.

All-gender bathrooms are not just for transgender or non-binary students. All-gender bathrooms are exactly what they sound like.

As access increases to all students, the stigma regarding who uses the all-gender bathrooms will hopefully lessen.

This also will help students who are afraid of outing themselves as transgender or non-binary.

The only way to increase awareness around all-gender bathrooms is through the education of all students. Pamphlets in the hallways, word of mouth and including the topic in health curriculums will let students know about the third variety of bathroom now available in the school.

Our school plans to label the three single-stalled bathrooms as all-gender in the future. A timeline has not yet been set.

To make them more accessible, the school should have one per floor, preferably centrally located to all three hallways so students don’t have to walk across the school to use them.

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