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Every student has right to use whichever bathroom they are most comfortable with

Paola Rivas

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Cartoon by Paola Rivas

A couple of weeks ago, I was going to the bathroom during class when I stumbled across one of the transgender students at school who was happily chatting away with his girlfriends inside the girls bathroom.

After seeing me, the boy immediately apologized and walked out of the room. At first, I thought he was apologizing for blocking the way. Later that day, I realized it wasn’t because he was blocking the way, but because he must have thought I was being bothered by his presence in the girls bathroom.

On Feb. 15 the Trump administration ceased a federal mandate, implemented by former President Barack Obama, directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities. It is now up to the states to decide on this matter, according to the article “Conservatives laud Trump’s decision on transgender bathroom access. Will such state restrictions now gain traction?” by Kurtis Lee published Jan. 23 in The Los Angeles Times.

A new state law that took effect on March 1 states that business and public bathrooms will have to be gender neutral, making them accommodating to everyone. This law officially makes all public bathrooms in California unisex. This facilitates the usage of public restrooms for transgender people who feel uncomfortable when using facilities that do not correspond to their gender identity.

At Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, there has been one gender neutral bathroom since 2013.

“At the time, when I came here as a principal, we had a student who was identifying as transgendered,” said Principal Deb Smith. “She had expressed some concern about feeling like if she used the girl’s bathroom, there might be kids who were uncomfortable about that.”

In the United States, 63% of transgender students have reported avoiding public bathrooms, according to the article “Transgender Students and School Bathrooms: Frequently Asked Questions” in Gender Spectrum. The main purpose of this new law is to boost transgender students’ self-confidence and make them feel more safe using the bathroom facilities at school or any other public place.

It is true that some people like North Carolina politicians like Pat McCrory, Dan Bishop and conservative Christian groups believe that gender neutral bathrooms present a threat to women since sexual predators would be able to enter the bathrooms easily and attack them. However, this assumption hasn’t been proven by any research.

Many websites, like The Daily Caller, RedState and Breitbart News, post conspiracy theories about women being in more danger in gender neutral bathrooms. No fact-checker has actually confirmed this information, according to the article “Inclusive Transgender Bathroom Policies Do Not Endanger Women” by Alex Kotch published Jan. 12 on Paste. For the most part, the assaults aren’t presented as cisgender (non-transexual) men dressing up as women, but instead cisgender men presented as so. The threat and danger has always been there, yet people are only paying attention to it now.

This is a big change that our society is going through and it is expected for some people to feel uncomfortable. Taking time to adjust to new things is normal because change can be scary for most people. However, this doesn’t mean we have to assume that change is bad and most certainly change shouldn’t be stopped when it facilitates the lives of other human beings.

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The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA
Every student has right to use whichever bathroom they are most comfortable with