Many students in our schools fall into the 2 binary genders. Male and female. That makes things like choosing which bathroom to enter very easy.
But what happens to students who don’t fall into those binaries?
The LGBT community is ever expanding, along with gender identities that don’t fall into the binary. But non-binary is not a new thing. Many cultures recognize non-binary identity and have for centuries (but that’s a conversation for another time).
How, with the ever expanding number of gender-nonconforming identifies, can schools accommodate them?
One thing I suggest is schools designating gender neutral bathrooms. The inclusion of these would help these gender-nonconforming students feel more comfortable.
Many public places already have some form of gender neutral bathrooms so why not schools?
An article by GLSEN states that nearly two thirds of transgender and gender-nonconforming students will avoid school bathrooms all together out of fear of both verbal and physical harassment.
This isn’t to say we have to completely eliminate the binary bathrooms, but the inclusion of a gender neutral bathroom could help students feel more comfortable. Whether they’re exploring their gender identity or have already figured it out, it could be a very useful thing to students.
As I’ve looked around our school I’ve noticed one family bathroom located near the main gym. Though I have no knowledge if it is open to students because with staff and students always there I’ve never felt comfortable to check.
If more bathrooms like that were available (and open) throughout the school, students would start to feel comfortable in their gender identity especially if they don’t fit into a binary identity.
With the LGBT community expanding, especially in youths, it’s vital to have simple things like gender neutral bathrooms in schools and public places.
You never know who is hiding in a closet because they’ve been forced into binaries.