Gender neutral bathrooms create a comfortable environment for members of the community

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Gender neutral bathrooms create a comfortable environment for members of the community

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Shaina Selvaraju ’17
Though talks of creating gender neutral bathrooms began at the end of last year, they were officially opened for Staples students and faculty to use on December 8. The three bathrooms, one located on each floor, are single stalls with locks on the inside so any student can use them.

Principal James D’Amico said that his purpose in installing these bathrooms is “to make sure that we provide adequate facilities for all our students, but it’s really to make kids less uncomfortable. There is enough things to stress kids out throughout the day, worrying about what bathroom someone can use because of who they are should not be one of those things.”

While gender neutral bathrooms already existed within the community, they were locked and students who wished to use them had to ask a staff member for a key. Alumni Dylan Halper ’16 admitted that not having access to bathrooms at any time was difficult: “Many people don’t go to the bathroom at school because of their gender identity and now because of the change people will feel safer and more comfortable to go to the bathroom.”

Before the option of using a gender neutral bathroom, Kasey Hoebermann ’17 said that he would have to “skulk around and look for a bathroom and make sure no one was really in it before I had to go, and if someone walked in when I was there I would have to wait it out because I’d feel so uncomfortable. I shouldn’t have to feel alienated for just doing something as simple as using the bathroom, so gender neutral bathrooms are really helpful.”

Though this addition has gone unnoticed by many, it has been put in place to create an environment where people can feel comfortable. According to Chris Fray, Chinese teacher and GSA advisor at Staples, this has allowed Staples to become a safer place. He’s heard of and seen people, who do not consider themselves to be a part of the gender non-conforming community, being “harassed verbally and physically for entering the restroom that matches their own personal gender identity. Providing gender neutral bathrooms at Staples is humane and a step in the right direction,” Fray said.

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