Gender Neutral Bathrooms: Optional or Human Rights?

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Gender Neutral Bathrooms: Optional or Human Rights?

Monica Ortiz

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It seems that more and more schools, universities and other buildings are implementing gender-neutral bathrooms. Despite Transgender folx existing for centuries, the debate on what bathroom they can use has only been a hot topic for a few years now. Due to legislation such as bill HB2 in North Carolina making it so transgender people have to use the bathroom of their biological sex rather than their gender, people have been trying to find a compromise of sorts.

 

The law not only puts many Trans folx in uncomfortable positions but it also negates the fact that Trans men and women have been using the bathroom of their gender identity for years now with no problem. All gender or gender-neutral can alleviate this issue. It stops any awkward situation or confrontation happening.

 

People who are against gender-neutral bathrooms state that people should only use the bathrooms that align with their genitalia. A common myth spread amongst conservative circles is that Transgender women who use female restrooms are looking to be predators. This is simply not true. It fear-mongering propaganda that makes it harder for transgender people to exist in public space.

 

Gender-neutral bathrooms were introduced to Secaucus High School in 2018. The bathroom was a result of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance Club (GSA). It took the club five years of relentless petitioning until the bathrooms were approved due to a new law stating that all public schools are required to accommodate students of the Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Community. After the bathroom was announced and it was mentioned in the school newspaper, people misrepresented the purpose of the bathroom and spread rumors of it being an exclusionary bathroom only.

 

This caused a great danger for anyone who chose to use the bathroom. The Trans and Gender Non-conforming students were under constant threat of being ridiculed. At some point, the bathroom was locked and only certain students could use it. It’s sad how misinformation and stigma can spread so quickly. Everyone has a right to be comfortable using the bathroom.

 

Gender-neutral bathrooms should not only be a necessity for any building, but they should be a requirement. They are not only beneficial for transgender people who don’t yet feel comfortable using the bathroom of the gender they identify as, but they are also helpful for non-binary people, people with young kids or people who simply want more privacy when using the bathrooms.

 

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