We need more gender-neutral bathrooms

by Lilly Fox, Staff Reporter

Bathrooms—they’re something we all are very familiar with. Shorewood currently has two options when it comes to bathrooms: the men’s and women’s. But what if you don’t feel comfortable in any of those bathrooms? What then? 

This issue that many people have struggled with for years and years really has one simple solution: gender neutral bathrooms. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t want to use the bathroom with the opposite sex, that would be totally weird!” I can assist you with those concerns.

If Shorewood followed in Edmonds-Woodway’s footsteps and added gender neutral bathrooms, that wouldn’t mean ripping out all of the other bathrooms and replacing them with gender neutral ones. One on each level would be a great start. It’s also important to add that nobody is forcing you to use them. People have different comfort levels on this topic, but we should think of all the good that will come from adding gender neutral bathrooms into our school. 

Because bathrooms are a topic that usually don’t take up a lot of our thoughts, we tend not to think of them as a luxury, but having a bathroom where you feel comfortable is a luxury not everyone has. This is just a small change we can make to help students feel secure. Our school is full of people who don’t fit in the gender binary and they deserve to pee freely. No one should have to go to the nurse’s office to avoid judgment.

There are two different types of gender neutral bathrooms: the single person bathroom and the stall-only. When choosing the single bathroom, most common for schools, you have the pleasure of using the bathroom without fearing judgment from other bathroom patrons, but these bathrooms also run the risk of being abused. 

Students who want to skip class without getting caught can spend the period there without the worry of a teacher finding them. While I’m sure this sounds like a golden opportunity to most of you, please consider that people need these bathrooms. 

Our second option, less common for schools, would look something like the women’s bathrooms with only stalls and no urinals. This would solve the previous problem but would create a new problem: privacy. One of the main reasons students want gender neutral bathrooms is because they want a place where they can use the bathroom without feeling unsafe or judged by their peers. 

Regardless of a student’s gender identity, they deserve the right to make choices that make them feel comfortable. No one should have to sacrifice their safety, or risk outing themselves to people who wouldn’t understand who they are–especially at school, which is supposed to be a haven for kids. Bathrooms are a basic right for students, so why shouldn’t we try to make them as accessible as possible?