Concord Academy houses multiple all-gender bathrooms as a way to be more inclusive to non-binary, gender-nonconforming, and transgender students. Even though students are allowed in the stalled, binary bathroom that best matches their gender identity (a sign outside the bathroom reads this), some students feel distress going into either. Therefore, all-gender bathrooms are a great solution. However, not all of them have been used correctly by the rest of the CA community.
Students are misusing the all-gender bathrooms. Some are using it to skip class, talk to friends, use their phone, and more. This is not acceptable. Bathrooms have been a prolonged issue for transgender students for decades and are still just as relevant of an issue today. Many places do not have all-gender bathrooms, forcing non-binary and transgender students into bathrooms they do not fit in. Some have reported receiving weird looks in these bathrooms; a non-binary student at CA reported that they were berated for using a women’s restroom when there was no other option. To avoid scrutiny, all-gender bathrooms are especially important, and misusing them is disrespectful to the people who need it. Some students have reported having to wait up to twenty minutes to use the bathroom, missing valuable class time.
This does not mean that cisgender people cannot use the all-gender bathrooms. The general consensus held is that it is okay to use these bathrooms as long as you are using it correctly and for an appropriate amount of time. However, it is important to note that many transgender students do not have the opportunity to use other bathrooms. So, please be mindful of your time spent in these bathrooms, as many students need it more than others. If you need a mental health break and want some time to yourself, it is recommended that (if possible) you visit another private space to do so. We have teachers at CA that are likely to understand the circumstances.
Being a transgender teenager in America is not easy right now. Recently, the Florida Board of Medicine banned gender care for people under the age of 18. This includes puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and gender-reassignment surgery. A change like this is extremely harmful to trans youth. The American Civil Liberties Union, as well as many doctors and others in the medical community view transitioning (the process of beginning to show characteristics of one’s desired gender) as the best way to prevent suicide and depression in trans youth. Accepting trans kids and allowing gender care to those who need it saves lives. Contrary to some beliefs, gender care is not distributed very easily. It often requires approval from multiple doctors, parents, and a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a therapist.
With so much out of our control, even just being mindful of our use in the all-gender bathrooms is a great way to accept trans kids. We still have a long way to go on the path to acceptance, but something as simple as this can change a lot.