Anna Hwang, News Editor
One positive addition to Walnut Grove this year is the new gender neutral washroom, located in the technology hall, having replaced the staff washroom which had stood there in previous years. This washroom is available to everyone and students who wish to use it can simply drop by the office to obtain the key which hangs by the door.
A gender neutral washroom is a unisex facility that people of any gender identity can use. These washrooms differ from sex-segregated washrooms because they do not have the typical male or female images on the door, and they are often a single stall. The importance of a gender-neutral washroom is that it protects the right that an individual has to safely use a public restroom without fear of harassment from other students or having to compromise one’s gender identity.
A passionate advocate for the change, Jo Wall, a grade 12 student at Walnut Grove, described the gender neutral bathroom as,
“A safe place for transgender youth, especially transgender students, because other bathrooms are not safe.” – Jo Wall
They also stated that,
“A great amount of trans youth at our school will literally hold their bladders all day just to avoid the gendered washrooms. With the new genderless washrooms at school, we don’t feel the need to do that!” – Jo Wall
Recognizing the fact that “trans and gender variant people face severe access problems when it comes to sex-segregated facilities,” as stated by Sylvia Rivera Law Project, this year the school district has made it mandatory for every school in the district to dictate one washroom as gender neutral.
The fact that Walnut Grove Secondary School now has a washroom where youth can feel safe, will empower students to attend school with one less discomfort.
As Jo Wall expressed, “They’re a game changer for trans youth at our school”.