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Gender Neutral Bathroom Promotes Equality

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This year marks the beginning of the availability of a gender neutral bathroom to any student who does not wish to use the bathroom they are assigned.  The bathroom, located on the second floor of the school in what used to be the women’s faculty restroom next to Cafe Austin, is one of the first gender neutral restrooms in AISD.

“Recently, our own City of Austin created a gender neutral bathroom policy for all buildings owned by the City of Austin,” Principal Amy Taylor said. “We hope that by having a gender neutral restroom on our campus, we are reinforcing the message that all students belong here at Austin High. It is a message of inclusivity.”

    One of the goals of having a gender neutral bathroom is that students will not only feel more comfortable being open about who they are at school, but also to help students and staff who may not be educated on the topics surrounding gender identity become more aware and understanding.

“I think a lot of trans students are too shy or maybe a little bit fearful of judgment to really be direct about what pronouns they want or what name they want to go by,” GSA and No Place for Hate sponsor Kevin Gillion said. “I think it’s our job as teachers to be a little more conscious of that and to reach out and make it easier for kids to tell us who they are.”

The purpose of the gender neutral bathroom is to cater specifically to the needs of the students who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned.

“I think the gender neutral bathroom will have a huge impact for all the students that identify as gender neutral or are anywhere on the spectrum- not necessarily boy/girl,” Senior Reuven View said.  “It’s really important to have that for any student that feels uncomfortable going into the bathroom they’re supposed to go in.”

Though there is a new citywide policy regarding gender neutral bathrooms, Austin High is one of the first schools to actually put it into practice.  Principal Taylor, an advocate for the gender neutral bathroom, hopes that other schools across the district will begin implementing this policy as well.

“Everybody belongs here,” Taylor said.  “It is because of our environment that students feel safe approaching teachers and administrators and sharing what is going on in their lives.  It is my hope that all students at Austin High feel safe to be who they are on our campus.”

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Gender Neutral Bathroom Promotes Equality