Schools should have gender neutral bathrooms

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The topic of whether or not gender-neutral bathrooms should be made available is a widespread controversy. On one hand, people fear gender-neutral bathrooms will put them at risk for sexual assault and other dangers. On the other hand, gender-neutral bathrooms would provide a space where everyone is safe to use the bathroom. Transgender and nonbinary conforming individuals would have a place where they can remain who they are and not feel pressured to identify as male or female.

There are too many transgender and nonbinary conforming people who are left without a safe place to use the bathroom. Many are forced to use restrooms assigned to genders they do not identify with. People risk discrimination and violence from those who fear what is different from what they know. It is a matter of safety. For many, the thought of this is enough for them to step out of their comfort zones and advocate for increased availability of gender-neutral bathrooms.

MHS should have gender-neutral bathrooms available to the transgender community within our school and for students who may not identify with either gender. Many other schools across the U.S. have already installed gender-neutral bathrooms to create a more gender-inclusive environment for their students. The bathrooms that we currently have at Middletown High are separated into male and female categories and are monitored largely by how masculine or feminine someone appears on sight. Gender neutral bathrooms eliminate the pressure to fit the stereotypical masculine and feminine schemas. They also serve as a safe space within the school for all individuals, including students who are transgender or who identify outside of the binary gender system.

The suggestion of gender-neutral bathrooms can scare many people at first largely because we have grown up our whole lives with separated bathrooms. To many, the thought of using the restroom with someone of the opposite gender is unsettling, and students within the school may not be mature enough to respect the privacy of others. Many assume that the installation of gender-neutral bathrooms mean that all bathrooms we currently have will be converted to multiple stalled gender-neutral bathrooms. This is not the only option. A single stalled gender-neutral bathroom on every floor in addition to the bathrooms we already have can be a simpler solution. This way, everyone has a private, comfortable place within the school to go to.

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