Unlock gender neutral bathrooms

Jocelyn Hood, Opinion Editor

Going to the bathroom shouldn’t be stressful—a sentiment most agree with, but an issue that causes anxiety for some when forced to decide between only two options: men’s and women’s. Making gender neutral bathrooms accessible would help transgender and nonbinary students feel more comfortable at school and create a more accepting environment for everyone.  

While Liberty does technically have gender neutral bathrooms, they are locked and were originally intended for staff.

“We do have gender neutral bathrooms that are available to students,” Principal Andrew Brownson said. “Typically, though, those students notify us if they would like to use that type of bathroom, and then we find a way to facilitate that.”

But asking trans and nonbinary students to jump through all these hoops just to go to the restroom isn’t something we should ask of anyone.

Another issue is that many students don’t know that it’s possible to get a key from admin, or that this option even exists. I wasn’t aware that students could get a key until I was conducting research for this article.

Even if every student knew that our gender-neutral bathrooms existed, where they were, or how to get a key, requesting access would force some kids to come out of the closet. Having to pick between coming out too soon or dreading visiting the bathroom is not a choice we should be presenting to students. 

Some say that if these bathrooms were unlocked and available to everyone, cisgender students looking for a spot to violate guidelines would flock to them. But this happens in bathrooms regardless.

The problem isn’t gender neutral bathrooms; it is with the students who abuse the privacy of bathrooms. We shouldn’t be using a few cisgender students as a reason to keep gender neutral bathrooms exclusive.

At this point there is no plan in place to unlock these bathrooms. That should change. I’m not saying that we should construct brand new bathrooms; we just need to stop locking trans and nonbinary students out of the few safe spaces they have.