By Aamna Arshad ’18 and Ufaq Tahir ’18
Gender Neutral Bathrooms have become more apparent in society as people have began to change social norms. Midwood took a giant leap toward gender equality by introducing two gender neutral bathrooms.
The bathrooms are located towards the end of the first floor annex near the library and have a sign next to the door labeled “This is a gender-neutral bathroom. It’s for everyone.”
Mr. Michael McDonnell said the idea of gender neutral bathrooms came from several students and the Department of Education, who put out a policy on transgender students and gender neutral bathrooms.
“The gender neutral bathrooms we created are single stalled bathrooms, meaning only one person can be in the bathroom at a time,” said Mr. McDonnell.
The security guard at the front desk in the annex has two keys for any student who wants to use the bathroom, and they must bring the key back when they are finished.
Mr. McDonnell said, “It makes the school a place that’s fair for everybody and we try to accommodate everyone’s needs.”
The controversy surrounding gender neutral bathrooms is the potential sexual assault by men on women. Those in favor of gender neutral bathrooms argue it’s important for the safety of LGBT people and people who identify as a gender different from their sex.
Mr. Jay Richardson said, “I think it’s a great idea that students become aware and are understanding of people with different identities.”
Mr. Richardson has had discussions with his classes about the gender neutral bathrooms and said some students feel uncomfortable being in a bathroom with someone who was of the opposite gender or was transgender.
“There were a few kids in my classes who said they would initially feel uncomfortable but through time they would have no problem,” said Mr. Richardson. “I think it’s a good start that could eventually lead to changes in the school system where you have a bathroom that multiple people could be in and it’s not a big deal.”
Many students felt the gender neutral bathrooms were promoting a positive attitude toward gender equality.
Nadia Nawaz ’18 said, “It’ll allow students to feel equal regardless of how they identify and feel more comfortable and safe in the school.”
Hornets were informed of the gender neutral bathrooms through the student newsletter sent out by the COSA, Mr. Larry Kolotkin.
Other students find bathrooms in the annex convenient depending on where their class is.
Jawaria Tahir ’18 said, “It’s a great idea because if you have class in the annex it’s easier to get to those new bathrooms than go to the other building.”
However, not all students felt it was effective in terms of equality, as some say it’s needless and the money could’ve been used better.
Karen Yu ’17 said, “It doesn’t make much of a difference as no one really judges each other in the school.”
Brittany Perez ’18 said, “It’s unlikely that a student who doesn’t identify with a gender feels it’s necessary to use a gender neutral bathroom. If the student is transgender they should feel comfortable going into the bathroom associated with the gender they identify with.”
The goal of the gender neutral bathrooms were to make all students feel comfortable and enjoy their learning experience.