Though installation of the gender neutral bathrooms in 2015 has garnered the praise of staff and students, some worry that the bathrooms have become a popular location for misbehavior without the administration’s knowledge on school property.
The privacy the gender neutral bathrooms provide has helped students that are part of the LGBT+ community feel more comfortable and included within the school setting.
“I personally only know a few non-binary people, but I know that they greatly appreciate having the option to not pick one or the other when neither fits their gender,” said Junior Isabella Allada, a CTA club member.
Though the addition of these restrooms has been a positive change for LGBT+ students, some have noticed other students taking advantage of the privacy these bathrooms offer.
One common complaint is that students must choose between getting to class on time or waiting for students misusing the restroom to leave.
“There have been a lot of instances where I can’t go because I know there are multiple people in there. There have been instances where I’ve seen people on social media, Juuling or hooking up in the bathroom,” said an anonymous junior who uses the gender neutral restrooms because of their flexible gender identity.
Even students who do not typically use the gender neutral bathrooms agreed that they were often occupied by students vaping.
“I feel like there is kind of a connotation that people might go in there to Juul,” said sophomore Molly Warden.
Sophomore Katie Klaskin agreed that because there are few gender neutral restrooms, going to the bathroom could be a struggle for non-binary students when there are others occupying and misusing the bathrooms.
Klaskin said people vaping in the unisex restrooms is “something that is generally believed” to be taking place among students.
Senior Nathan Moy said that he did not believe that misuse of the bathrooms was a huge issue but he would not be surprised if that were the case.
“I might have heard of it in advisery, but I’ve never seen it in person,” said Moy.
Because the gender neutral bathrooms are used by a relatively small portion of the student population and are not constantly monitored throughout the day, it is difficult for the administration and staff to know the extent of misbehavior in these restrooms.
“It’s hard to tell because we don’t even know how many people are doing it now,” the anonymous student said. “People will say, oh that’s not real, but I’ve witnessed it happen before.”
Though students agree that the unisex bathrooms are a place for misbehavior, the administration has not noticed the gender neutral bathrooms being a more likely location for rule breaking.
“There haven’t been many incidents that I am aware of in the gender neutral bathrooms,” said Sophomore Adviser Chair Juliet Smith. “I’ve had one [incident], I’m sure that each adviser chair has maybe had one.”
Facilities Manager and head of Physical Plant Services Steve Linke also said that staff had not noticed a difference in terms of the maintenance needed for the gender neutral and regular restrooms.
Linke said bathrooms have always been a typical location for vandalism and misbehavior on school property.
“Occasionally we’ve had issues with some of the out of the way bathrooms. It’s been like that for years,” said Linke. “We don’t find any real difference between the gender neutrals and the regular bathrooms or the staff bathrooms in terms of that.”
Linke explained that although there are not currently any plans to create more unisex bathrooms, it is likely that more will be created as the school continues to be updated.
“I can’t say that every one of the old ones that gets renovated will have a gender neutral, but that’s our goal,” said Linke.
Many students support creating more gender neutral bathrooms throughout the school to ensure that non-binary students have available restrooms nearby that aren’t constantly occupied.
“I feel like if they had more, then there might not be as much stigma around it,” said Warden.
The student that asked to remain anonymous said, “If there were more in the new building and more in the old building, I think it would make people feel more comfortable.”