Schreiber’s gender-neutral bathroom is an unrespected resource

Samantha Viel, Contributing Writer

Discrimination against non-binary students is an ongoing problem in many schools throughout the country.  It arises from the misconception that someone’s gender can only be defined as “male” or “female.” Gender is a spectrum, and creating gender-neutral bathrooms throughout schools and public places is the next step in expressing and celebrating gender equality.  Last school year, Schreiber opened up a gender-neutral bathroom, which is accessible to all students.

Teenagers and adults have been fighting for this right throughout the country, and many are relieved that this problem was addressed at Schreiber.  The goal of opening this bathroom was to show support for all of students regardless of gender identity, making them feel safe and comfortable at school.

While in a learning environment, using the bathroom should not be a fear or concern students should have to face on a daily basis.

“The gender-neutral bathroom has been really helpful, especially since it’s made a lot of trans people I know who haven’t come out yet more comfortable,” said senior Jay Peierls.

Peierls was the first to draw attention to the need for a gender-neutral bathroom, as they were responsible for creating the petition for it last year. After receiving hundreds of signatures, the plan for a gender-neutral bathroom was put into action.

“I think it’s amazing that another stress isn’t added to people when regarding deciding exactly who they are, because high school stress is already enough for teenagers to experience and cope with,” said sophomore Chloe Smith.

However, the efficacy of the gender-neutral bathroom remains highly controversial. Even before the bathroom was created, many people feared that some students would abuse the privilege of a gender-neutral bathroom.

“Since the gender-neutral bathroom is still a new addition to the school it will be interesting to see how effective this restroom is going to be,” said Health teacher Mr. Dean LoGiudice.

Although everything is running smoothly now, there was some opposition to the bathroom during the first few weeks of school, namely from people who felt that the bathroom was being taken advantage of.

“I felt that the response [to the gender neutral bathroom] has been really positive from everybody, even those who don’t necessarily understand it, and there hasn’t really been any negativity since the first week of school,” said Peierls.  “The first week involved some negative responses on social media and some general rudeness towards the facilities, namely toilet paper on the walls, but it calmed down quickly.”