A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Transgender students and bathroom use

I walked in the bathroom when I saw a girl give another female a confused look that seemed to question her presence. The other girl just washed her hands and continued on with her day. Not a word was said, but the look said it all. The female washing her hands was not assigned female at birth, but strongly believes that is her true gender.

Where someone goes to the bathroom is topic we feel shouldn’t even be a problem. Society needs to start to accepting people for who they are as a person and not for their appearance or the gender people assume others should be. Everyone should feel comfortable in life. Students should be able to feel comfortable with others using the restroom they feel most comfortable using without dirty looks being thrown their way.

Transgender students are allowed to use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable in. Whether we are transgender or not, everywhere we go, we are judged whether it’s by looks or comments. I’m just stating what I saw and how I feel about that. We need to lift our schoolmates up and boost them to strive to be who they are and not bring them down.

Principal Allison Tingwall wrote in an email, “Students at Curie can use the bathroom they feel aligns with their gender. They also have single-occupant options for those students who do not feel comfortable in boys and girls options. Students utilize all of these options and have never had any concerns from other students or from parents. We have never had any safety issues arise because of this policy.”

In other words, we have a restroom for the boys and a restroom for the girls. We also have another restroom for those students who do not feel comfortable going in either assigned bathroom, including transgender students.

It’s 2017, and this is a topic that shouldn’t be a big deal to most people, yet it is since some students may feel uncomfortable and laws are being changed by President Donald Trump.

Former President Barack Obama allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that they feel most comfortable in all public schools. However, an article on CBS News states, “Trump’s administration reversed Obama-era policies requiring that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It will now be up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity.”

This makes no sense. We truly never know what genital areas a person was originally born with. How would you determine genders? An official would have to stand at each bathroom door and ask for their birth certificate. This is completely unnecessary and an invasion of privacy. People are just trying to use the restroom and go on with their day.

We are all still trying to figure out who we are as teens, and even adults are still figuring out who they are. No high school teenager wants to feel different or strange. Everyone has a place they fit into in high school once they find themselves.

Being judgemental isn’t fair to those students because we are making them go out of their comfort zone and follow the rules that society believes they should follow. We shouldn’t have to make them feel the need to use a separate restroom because then we are distinguishing who they should be and not who they really are.

In the words of a Curie student who does not identify with either gender: “Honey, I classify myself as me, and can’t nobody tell me nothing.”