Gender-fluid bathrooms at ELHS, deemed a safe spot for queer students, don’t live up to expectations
EDITOR’S NOTE: A source chooses to remain anonymous due to insensitivity on gender-fluidity and will be identified as so.
For many, choosing between just men’s and women’s bathrooms is as simple as putting your shoes on. But for some students struggling with identity, this can result in anxiety when neither one represents their identity. The pressure of constantly being reminded that you need to have a label can start to be too much. The goal of gender fluid bathrooms is to provide a safe environment where people won’t feel pressured to identify as a certain gender.
“They are necessary because gender is a spectrum, it’s not as black and white as boy and girl, so for those students who identify as non-binary or transgender, they need to have a place to go that’s not gender-based,” said math teacher and Gender and Sexuality Alliance advisor, Kelly Petrillo. ELHS had one gender fluid bathroom in the upstairs A wing, but it was getting vandalized. Students misused the bathroom as a private space because the door locks. It was just repainted. These bathrooms should primarily be used for students who need a place to go that’s not gender based.
“Personally, my experience in the gender-fluid bathroom has been anything but positive. I can’t count the number of times I have gone in that bathroom and found pee all over the floor and toilet seat,” said sophomore and member of GSA club, Oli Giguere. Oli is non-binary and they have a strong opinion on these bathrooms the school has facilitated.
The school plans on repurposing both the two bathrooms by the North Gym to be gender fluid but is waiting on the signs according to Ms. Petrillo.
“Whenever I needed to use the bathroom while at school, the gender-fluid bathroom is either locked, occupied, or halfway across the school,” said a source who would like to remain anonymous. An important but difficult issue to implement is someone to watch over the bathrooms. Without a monitor, the same issue may happen as did in the A-wing bathroom. The monitors like ELHS has now, will suffice.
Informing others about the topic will educate and create much-needed change in our school climate about the treatment and existence of these bathrooms. The school needs to up its accessibility for these bathrooms not only by making sure that they are always accessible but also by making sure students know about their existence.