The Bathroom Binary – by Olivia Pierog

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Public schools all over the country are facing a new obstacle that tip-toes around a touchy subject. Transgender students are being forced to choose a bathroom to use based on a line in the sand dividing the gender-binary fold. Many schools have accepted this problem and built gender-neutral bathrooms to help transgender kids in or outside the gender binary feel more comfortable in the school’s learning environment. These bathrooms are not only a huge help for students struggling with gender identity, but also symbolize an enormous stepping stone in LGBT culture.

The lack of options for students questioning their gender identity, or even going through transition, can be intimidating, at the very least. Stories float around the internet of trans-women being afraid of going into the women’s bathroom in fear of being laughed at and called disgusting names, and being afraid of using the men’s bathroom in fear of physical bullying or verbal abuse. Having gender-neutral bathrooms gets rid of these issues. Though it is true that real bullies from either sex could go into these designated bathrooms just to abuse these poor students, having a place to know where they belong is an irreplaceable feeling that really makes a difference.

I can’t tell you how much these small changes can make all the difference, whether it be an individual bathroom, a smile, or saying “pretty” instead of “handsome”. I encourage everyone to be open to the emotions of others as well as to try to see someone as who they are inside, not just their outer appearance, because after all, it really is what’s inside a person that makes them who they are.

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