A Gender Neutral Bathroom in the Port Chester High School
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Bathroom access for transgender/nonconforming people has recently become a focal point on both a social and political front. Despite the Trump administrations’ rollback on guidelines that protect transgender students, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stated that the rights of transgender/nonconforming students are protected regardless of this decision. The reality is that transgender/nonconforming individuals need more than just protection, there needs to be one less place where teenagers feel anxious, uncomfortable, unsafe, and insecure. With 75% of transgender students feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression, and 70% of transgender students who say they avoid bathrooms because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, it is important that there is a gender neutral bathroom (2015 National School Climate Survey).
Here’s another reality, it's not just transgender/nonconforming people who may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in bathrooms, it can be someone with an anxiety disorder, a student who is being bullied, or a student who feels safer in 100% privacy. A gender neutral bathroom would not be a bathroom for only Transgender/Nonconforming students, we must remember that separate never means equal. A gender neutral bathroom would be accessible to all students regardless of their gender identity. It is a space free of harassment, discomfort, or societal definitions of gender.
This may seem like a radical act, and while it has happened in various high schools and college campuses across the country, the reality is that it is radical here in Port Chester. Despite the growing coverage of the LGBT Community and issues in news media,the LGBT Community in our very own village is hidden and ignored. This is not because there are no LGBT people in Port Chester, but simply because the subject is still viewed as taboo. So we propose that ensuring students at the Port Chester High School have a gender neutral bathroom be the first step towards making the LGBT community visible in Port Chester.
Previous and current students, individuals in our community, and faith leaders will be joining us in asking the Board of Education to include a gender neutral bathroom in the upcoming plans for the High School. Join us August 30th at 6pm at PCMS as we speak up for ourselves, our community and our right to pee in peace.
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