Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Amelia Gulding, Editor in Chief

Many transgender people difficulties surrounding something as simple as using the bathroom; in a survey done in DC, 70% of transgender people said they had issues accessing gender segregated bathrooms.

“Segregated bathroom become a problem for the transgender community. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a right to use the one of our gender identity we don’t feel safe.” Said Kayden Ortiz, an out Trans male and senior at Robinson.

When there are complaints about mixed gender bathrooms, the logical next step seems to be desegregating bathrooms based on gender. Some people have theories that gender neutral bathrooms will increase harassment and make restrooms an unsafe place for children. But out of all the schools, workplaces and public facilities that have made the switch to gender neutral bathrooms there has been no reported increase in harassment.

The debate on whether or not bathrooms should be gender neutral is also in the transgender community. Many transgender people who have already made a legal transition feel as though having gender neutral bathrooms are almost unnecessary and might cause more harm than good. If someone is Trans and is passing as their gender and not out to whomever or wherever they are, using gender neutral bathrooms could out them and therefore make it an unsafe situation.

“The only problem with gender neutral bathrooms is some trans folk would feel singled out and have to use the bathrooms because the school would most likely make us use them” Said Ortiz.

But there is another bonus to having gender neutral bathrooms. One problem with gender segregated bathrooms is that it further perpetuates the binary. There are more than two genders, and for people who identify as something other than male and female on the gender spectrum, gender neutral bathrooms could help them feel more comfortable.

“I don’t think [gender neutral bathrooms] are the best idea for the transgender community, however it might benefit the genderfluid [a gender which varies over time]/bigender [identify as two genders] community” said Ortiz.

In 2015, the Fairfax County School Board voted to add transgender identities to its nondiscrimination policy as well as adding sexual orientation and gender identity to family life education and health classes, starting in 7th grade. Although the nondiscrimination policy allows for mixed gendered bathrooms, no Fairfax County public school has fully made the switch.

In the end, the goal is to make as many students in FCPS feel comfortable while in school, and the whole point of making bathrooms gender neutral is to do that. But if not every Trans student feels comfortable with the change, it is a harder decision to make and only time will tell what impact making the switch will have on FCPS students.