Gender neutral bathrooms
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Here are some terms to know that might help you to better understand this petition:
Transgender: Someone who is transgender does not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth.
Cisgender: Someone who is cisgender does identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth. If you're not trans, you're cis!
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I am a transgender student in a public high school in West Hartford, Connecticut. I made this petition to raise awareness and make change in my community.
I propose that West Hartford Public Schools convert all of our bathrooms to gender-neutral bathrooms. This will allow transgender students to be more comfortable and safe going to the bathroom, and to feel more welcome throughout our town and in our public schools.
Before you pass judgement on my proposal, please take a moment to read through my below justifications and the sources that I have provided. If you have any additional doubts, feel free to comment on this petition with your question(s).
1. Transgender folks’ safety
Transgender people are often unsafe or uncomfortable in gendered bathrooms (the traditional "women's" and "men's" bathrooms). Further information about this issue can be found through the 2015 US Transgender Survey and this study by the Williams Institute of UCLA.
2. Cisgender folks’ safety
Using gender neutral bathrooms does not increase the risk of assault or harassment that cisgender people face. There are no existing sources or recorded statistics supporting this information due to the limited number of multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms in the US, but the only reported issues that cisgender folks have experienced in using gender neutral bathrooms is slight discomfort (that arguably comes with any new experience).
3. “But what about the cost of creating gender-neutral bathrooms?”
Making bathrooms gender neutral costs almost nothing at all! We simply have to update the signage on the outside of the bathrooms. The Cooper Union College updated all of their bathrooms to be gender-neutral with this signage system. So, the only cost in updating our bathrooms would be the (relatively low) cost of buying and installing the new signs. Here is another option for changing the bathrooms, that may cost more, but would improve the bathrooms for all WHPS faculty/staff and students.
4. Additional information/resources
- While I’m calling for a slightly different action plan for our bathrooms than Jacob Tobia calls for, this op-ed that they wrote for TIME Magazine explains the issue that trans people face very clearly.
- The blog “Let Us Pee” has some interesting insights and stories from folks around the country.
- This other article from TIME pretty thoroughly and accurately explains the flaws behind the argument that trans people should be required to use the bathroom of their sex assigned at birth.
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