Why all-gender bathrooms are beneficial for everyone

Ryann Perlstein, Editor-in-Chief

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It’s inevitable. After drinking from your beloved Hydroflask all morning, you have to use the restroom. For many, choosing which restroom to use goes without question. For transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, this can be a very stressful decision. As such, all-gender bathrooms are vital for creating a safe, inclusive community.

In a society that is becoming more inclusive of everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, Viewpoint and similar institutions are moving in the right direction in implementing one of the most important spaces for those who do not fit the gender binary: all-gender bathrooms.

Having support is essential for the success of transgender students. According to genderspectrum.org, an organization that works to create gender sensitive information for all youth, over 75% of transgender students say they feel unsafe at school, and 63% have reported avoiding bathrooms.

This important action is necessary for the School as it works towards creating a welcoming, supportive learning environment. By creating these bathrooms, School administrators have taken a significant step towards greater inclusivity and respect for all who come to our campus.

In the state of California, all public schools are required to let transgender students use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, which may not match their sex on their birth certificate, according to a law passed in February 2017. Under President Obama, schools were federally required to let transgender students use the restroom of their choice. However the Trump administration decided to lift protections for transgender students. The California law only applies to public schools, but many private schools like Viewpoint and others have followed in creating the bathrooms.

Unisex bathrooms do not just help transgender or gender non-conforming people; they also help eliminate discrimination. All-gender bathrooms are more safe than single-sex ones, according to the LA Times. Even though mixed-gender bathrooms are often more crowded, they reduce chances of violence (against women or the LGBT+ community) and are much less dangerous than single-gender restrooms. Single-sex restrooms often can be dangerous for transgender or gender nonconforming individuals because they often face violence or harassment in these spaces, which often does not occur as frequently in all-gender bathrooms.

The response towards the new bathrooms has mostly been positive; many see the benefits of having the bathrooms as a way for the school to be more inclusive, and they acknowledge that the way gender is perceived is evolving so the school’s facilities must evolve along with it.

Despite the mostly positive reaction, there has been some concern about increased inappropriate behavior now that the bathrooms are open to everyone. Some parents worry that the bathrooms will become hotspots for vaping or other illegal activities.

Inclusivity for the transgender community certainly goes beyond bathrooms, but this is a good start for the school in the path towards equality for everyone. By having accommodations that make Viewpoint’s campus more accessible for everyone, it makes the School a safer and more productive learning environment.