Gender neutral bathrooms protect LGBTQ+ youth

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The people are rioting now more than ever, and they are fighting for justice – for the safety of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and adulthood. Not only are members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community not giving up avidly demanding respect, but they are exceeding their goals by a landslide.

America has changed drastically in this generation, both positively and negatively. The truth is, the neutrality of restrooms has progressed in some states, and regressed in others. Not only are gender neutral bathrooms a great start to trans justice, but so is the fact that the trans community is getting more representation in Hollywood. Orange Is The New Black is just one prime example of an extremely popular television show that features a transgender woman, Laverne Cox, as one of the main characters.

Transgender women are capable of anything. Take a transgender woman from California, for example, who created an app specifically to find your location and show you gender neutral bathrooms around you. This was designed to keep the trans community safe from physical assault; talk about using social media to change the world! There’s no doubt that a lot of public buildings and schools want to make a change, for schools and colleges across the nation are solely enforcing gender neutral restrooms to protect trans youth.

Member of the LGBTQ+ community and junior Nic Leon explains the progression of public schools, “Schools are trying to make it a more welcoming place of everybody, instead of 10 or 15 years ago, if you were to come out at school or be trans at school, that’s something that would be frowned upon.”

On the contrary, several states have passed unfortunate laws to prevent transgender people from using the restroom of their choice. This is extremely toxic to the mental and physical of people who are restricted from doing something as simple as using a public bathroom. In fact, in the year 2015, at least 21 transgender men and women (19 of them people of color) were murdered, making that year the most lethal one of all on record for trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.

Schools are trying to make it a more welcoming place of everybody, instead of 10 or 15 years ago, if you were to come out at school or be trans at school, that’s something that would be frowned upon.”

— Nic Leon

Statistics show that 58.7 percent of gender-nonconforming students at school have experienced verbal harassment in the past year because of their gender identity, compared to 29 percent of their friends. 49 percent of trans people reported physical abuse in a 2007 survey and 41 percent of trans people have attempted suicide.

Furthermore, many people think that enforcing gender neutral bathrooms in schools will decrease and prevent this kind of verbal and physical abuse. Former counsellor of the GSA Club Kristina King believes it will. She states, “I think that if we had a gender neutral bathroom that was just open to however a person identified, I think that would really be, probably the best route. And just sort of having that be the case throughout the building, I think as just a way of showing not just awareness but respect maybe, of all students.”

Regarding states passing bills that prevent trans people from using the restroom that they feel the most comfortable in, there are mixed opinions and responses coming from positions in politics. Back in March, North Carolina passed an anti-LGBTQ law that prohibits trans people from using the restroom that they feel the best in in schools and government buildings, which caused a major uproar across the nation. Many protested against this, but on the flip side, many agreed with the government.

I think that if we had a gender neutral bathroom that was just open to however a person identified, I think that would really be, probably the best route.”

— Kristina King

Especially since the GSA is no longer a club, students in the schools who and transgender and or do not conform to the binary, deserve to feel represented and safe. Junior Emma Atkins agrees. She says, “I think schools should make kids feel comfortable, so I think they should enforce gender neutral bathrooms, so that every kid is represented.”

Despite immense difference of opinion within government and residents of America, there is no doubt that the United States are changing. Justice and freedom for minorities is around the corner; we just have to have faith in our young generation and most importantly, we must use our voices to project love into the world.

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