Santee High School’s gay straight alliance (GSA) just launched a gender-neutral restroom campaign: “Don’t freak out! It’s just a toilet.”
For many years on the campus of Santee, we have seen the need for gender-neutral restrooms. Many students on campus feel unsafe and unwanted in the gender specific restrooms we have now. When you come to school, it’s supposed to be a safe space. Santee’s mission statement is “Santee will become a safe, supportive and caring institution of academic excellence” and by having gender-neutral restrooms, it will help us fulfill this mission.
A gender-neutral restroom is a place that anyone of any gender or gender identity may use. Gender-neutral bathrooms create private, individual space that are accessible to all people and are just as private as gender specific restrooms. To kick off this campaign, we have begun to gather petition signatures from students. We have gathered 400 signatures so far.
Students on campus are excited to learn more about the importance of this issue. Once we start talking about the issue, most students understand and want to support it. We have also posted flyers around the campus with a campaign slogan saying, “It’s just a toilet!” to get students thinking and start critical conversations. There is excitement on campus for this campaign and we hope that bring this issue out in the open can create a safe space for all students on campus. We also hope that this will start a toilet revolution in Los Angeles Unified School District!
You can’t have pros without cons, and there still are those on campus remaining unconvinced about gender-neutral restrooms and say the girls should not be mixed with the boys. They point out that having both genders together will create problems. However, what they don’t see is that there already is a problem, and that there are already people who feel unsafe and uncomfortable in gender specific restrooms.
In our last GSA meeting, one of our members spoke out to tell us about a time when she was misgendered. She was trying to go into the “girls” restroom when a custodian on campus told her that she was going into the wrong restroom. When she finally noticed that she was indeed a female, she apologized and allowed her to go in. However, she could not shake off the feeling of humiliation she had at that moment. No one should have to go through with that.
Gender-neutral restrooms are not just for people who identify as transgender, they are for anyone and everyone. We must ensure all students feel safe everywhere on campus, including the restrooms. It is just a toilet we are talking about anyways.