Inclusivity is vital at schools like Roosevelt. The school has increasingly pushed for women to be accepted and treated fairly, and there is a surge of equality between men and women. But between these two genders, there are many more people who do not identify as a boy or a girl, or a mix of the two, or another identification that is not specifically male or specifically female. For those people it can be hard to fit in since society is heavily gendered, and even harder in school, where, until recently, they had to choose whether to use a boys bathroom or a girls bathroom. But this year, Roosevelt has created gender neutral bathrooms in the upper commons for students who are not comfortable aligning themselves with a gender they do not identify as for the simple task of using the bathroom.
Gabe Rosenbloom, a junior, along with Lila Stocking, pushed for the gender neutral bathrooms to be opened. He says that the bathrooms “show Roosevelt as a more open school to everyone by having a gender neutral bathroom — a public gender neutral bathroom — everyone can hopefully feel safe.” This was the goal for the bathrooms, and still remains the goal as students start to feel comfortable in using them. He elaborated by saying that the bathrooms not only showed that the Roosevelt community cares, but that the Seattle community cares as well. His hope with these bathrooms being open and usable is that “they’ve been able to feel more comfortable at Roosevelt […] and they feel more welcome here.” Now that there is such a safe space for these students, he feels that they can work on making it even more inclusive for the students of different genders, as well as other students overall.
Another student, sophomore Gavyn Brayman, has felt that the bathrooms are very helpful. He feels that “personally, when I wear a full face of makeup, like I did at the beginning of the year, I’m not going to use the boys bathroom […] I would go to the teen health center and use the private bathroom.” This would often make him late to class and it would be harder overall for students who felt like they couldn’t use one of the gender specific bathrooms. Brayman states, “It’s really important to have a gender neutral bathroom. I hope in the future we’ll get gender neutral bathrooms on every floor.” Although the bathrooms are in a place where it may be challenging to get to, he says that the bathrooms being open for any student to use regardless of gen
der, “is a very comforting thought that Roosevelt offers” these restrooms.
The gender neutral bathrooms are a huge step forward in the acceptance of students who do not identify with being male or female. These bathrooms make it easy for all students to be able to do a simple task that should be easy to carry out for any student. Although there are always more steps to take in making schools more inclusive, gender neutral bathrooms are a big step in acceptance, especially for those who may not feel safe in other public places.
cover photo by: Natalie Kauper