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November 12, 2021
To promote a more accepting environment for trans and non-binary individuals, West High added one single-stall gender-neutral restroom in 2018. While the restroom is available for all to use, students like Tori Lowman ’23 find its location in the art hallway inconvenient.
“There’s only one gender-neutral bathroom here, which is so stupid. There should be more, and a lot of people don’t want to have to walk all the way to the art wing if they’re all the way in the language wing,” Lowman said.
Dillon sees the addition of the gender-neutral restroom as a mediocre effort by administrators.
“[After West] put up the gender-neutral bathroom, I feel like they just do the bare minimum,” Dillon said. “It feels like, ‘Here, we gave you this. Are you happy now?’”
Polyak sees separate restrooms as enforcing and normalizing the gender binary.
“Society has been telling me to use this [bathroom] for the past 17 years of my life, so I guess I already feel comfortable with the concept of ‘this is the me bathroom’ rather than ‘this is the guys’ bathroom,’” Polyak said.
Society has been telling me to use this [bathroom] for the past 17 years of my life, so I guess I already feel comfortable with the concept of ‘this is the me bathroom’ rather than ‘this is the guys’ bathroom.”
— Joseph Polyak
Instead, Polyak believes gender-neutral bathrooms should be the norm.
“[Having gender-neutral spaces] breaks down the concept of a gender binary society and also gives more places that don’t force someone to confront their gender identity,” Polyak said. “Because a trans experience is going to the bathroom and being like, ‘Do I go to the bathroom that isn’t my gender, but I won’t get beat up?’ or ‘Do I go to the bathroom that is my gender, but I might get the s— kicked out of me?’ having a gender-neutral bathroom erases that conflict.”
Principal Mitch Gross recognizes these issues and hopes to improve them soon.
“I would love to have bathrooms renovated with this next round [of construction] and to make sure that we have more gender-neutral bathrooms,” Gross said.