US elementary school does away with gendered bathrooms

Though many schools in the United States have made gender-neutral bathrooms available, few have done away with separate facilities for boys and girls (AFP Photo/Arno Burgi)

Los Angeles (AFP) – A California elementary school has become one of the first in the country to phase out gendered bathrooms, a move in line with a national trend to recognize the needs of transgender people.

 The principal at Miraloma Elementary School in San Francisco said the decision to do away with separate bathrooms for boys and girls was in part to acknowledge about eight gender non-conforming students.

“Not only do we want all of our students to feel safe… we want them to understand systematic equality for everyone,” Sam Bass said in a statement. “We are teaching them a valuable lesson.”

The move comes as schools and universities across the country grapple with how to deal with transgender students, an issue recently cast into the spotlight by Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympian and reality TV star formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

Though many schools in the United States have made gender-neutral bathrooms available, few have done away with separate facilities for boys and girls and the subject remains controversial.

About 150 students walked out of class in a small Missouri town this week to protest a transgender teen using the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.

Several members of the school board in Hillsboro, where the school is located, also resigned after the controversy erupted, with one citing philosophical differences.

Bass, the principal at Miraloma, said his school opted for gender-neutral bathrooms rather than separate facilities because it was the right thing to do.

“Some elementary schools in the district have created one space for a student on the gender spectrum to use,” he said. “We are the first elementary school in the district to say that’s not good enough.

“All of our students should have full, equal, safe, comfortable access to facilities.”

– Measure to be phased in –

The measure concerns kindergarten and first-grade classes this year while restrooms for older children will be phased in over the next few years.

Alison Gill, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBT rights, welcomed the decision.

“Gender-neutral bathrooms make a lot of sense because instead of having people wait in line, everyone feels comfortable using the bathroom,” Gill told AFP. “It’s increased privacy for everyone.”

The mother of a first grader at Miraloma told local media that gender-neutral bathrooms would relieve anxiety for some students.

“I think most people don’t think about how difficult it can be, going to the bathroom for someone like my son,” a woman named Jae told the San Francisco Chronicle. She gave only her first name for her son’s safety.

While her son identifies as a boy, Jae said, he likes to look like a girl and had struggled with the bathroom issue.

Now, “he can just use the restroom without thinking about it,” she told the Chronicle.

California is one of the most liberal states in America regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights.

It is just one of 14 states with legislation that bans discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Human Rights Campaign.

A state law that took effect last year guarantees students can use school bathrooms and take part in sex-segregated activities that correspond with their expressed gender.

Some schools also allow students who object to using bathrooms or locker rooms with transgender classmates the option of using staff restrooms.

10 thoughts on “US elementary school does away with gendered bathrooms

  1. This whole post is so encouraging … until one reads the last sentence.
    By allowing students to optionally distance themselves from those of their peers who they, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable sharing space with the schools are allowing students to turn their back on the full integration of all people in society and actually encouraging and promoting separatism and hatred rather than the inclusivity they claim to be promoting.
    Do these schools also allow their students the option of not sharing classrooms with others of different skin colour or religious belief, or is their prejudice toward their transgender colleagues the only one which is actively supported in this way ?
    I really cannot understand the hypocrisy.

  2. Reblogged this on God's Enduring Love and commented:
    LET’S GET REAL, FOLKS! Satisfying our bathroom needs is a necessity for EVERYONE, young and old of all sexes. Maybe some people have not seen widespread homelessness with no toilet facilities to speak of. Or been out in mission fields where one would be happy to find and/or share toilet areas for mixed sexes, places with no flush toilets and with primitive standards of sanitation. Let’s be as accommodating as we can to provide clean and safe bathroom facilities for everyone, everywhere, even if we have to share them and take our turns when nature calls. JUST WORK IT OUT; NO BIG DEAL!

  3. Dear God, please ‘forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ Protect our children. Lead them into your arms, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray.
    God bless us all.

  4. What hypocrisy Tish? The hypocrisy of sin? Or the hypocrisy of tolerance for everything except believing in Jesus Christ and standing for His values?
    Sexual perversion is a sin, is it not? Why is the world so adamant about changing the sex of children? About changing the values, morals and principals of God? About changing the institution of marriage, a God given and ordained institution which was meant for one man and one woman.

    Why force children who hold these values and principle to be the truth, to change their ways to conform to the world standards? Is this not prejudice in and of itself?! This has nothing to do with race or separatism, but godly values, morals, and principles! What is prejudicial about not wanting to use the same bathroom with someone of the opposite sex? This is only the first step of many towards the acceptance of anything goes.

    This is a sign of the times Tish! A sign of the degradation of humanity, of society, a sign of the end times.

    Believe it or not. God Almighty is pure, holy, and righteous. There is soon coming a time for His wrath to be poured out upon an unbelieving world. It’s time to make a choice. God is knocking at the door!

  5. Thanks for your comment Shofar!

    This is a sign of our times Shofar. A sign of the disintegration of society and humanity. The sharing of bathrooms is secondary to what is really happening here! Comparing the use of toilets among homeless people or mission fields to young children in schools is like comparing apples to oranges.

    I see this much differently than you do. I see it as another ploy to get society to accept sexual perversion as “normal”, and a slap in the face of God Almighty! We can agree to disagree on this matter.

    God bless!

  6. I agree with you SweetJava! This seems to be not such a big deal at first glance, yet it screams of sin, unrighteousness, and ungodly morals, principles, and values! It’s another sign that our society is on a fast downward spiral!

    God made us male and female; not maybe male or maybe female, or gender neutral, this is a lie, a dark lie, spread to deceive those who cannot see the truth.

    Yet many will not see, nor will they believe the truth.

    God be with us all, give vision and clarity to those who cannot see, to the lost and unsaved! Show them the truth and the purity of Your ways! Amen

  7. Hi Gordon, just saw your reply today. I didn’t know there was a ‘Reply’ page on my blog!

    I think we have to be realistic that we as Bible-believing Christians must make adjustments for ‘the new norm’. It is not going away anytime soon. I wrote a short post on sharing the bathroom with a man (Journal Musings 5-11-13). Fortunately we had separate stalls with doors. I have noticed that there seems to be a trend toward providing individual unisex/gender-neutral toilets where both ‘male’ or ‘female’ can share the same bathroom. The photo you used shows only bathroom sinks. I would think that there may have been private stalls for toileting. BTW, have you seen the old Roman open latrines? I saw them on my trip to Israel. Hope we never have to use those kinds of toilets! But who knows what’s next.

  8. Thanks for your comment Shofar.

    I think that this is part of the problem of Christianity, so many of us are conforming to the new culture. Society will change, but the word of God stays the same. Such as gay marriage, it started out as homosexual marriage, then gay marriage, now equal marriage. A play on words, but still the same thing, a sin and abomination in the eyes of the Lord, that was my point.

    I’m not the one who wrote the article or selected the photo, this was a news article.

    I don’t know exactly what’s next, however I do know that its headed in the wrong direction!

    God bless Shofar!

  9. I would just like to say this, There’s Something wrong with America today. And I believe that were in the last days of our lives, and Jesus is going to come at a time when we as a people least expect it. I also believe that this is only one of the prophesy’s that God warned us about, my question is this, where’s the Christians Backbone? ……… You sit in churches and listen to the preacher preach about it, but yet you the Church as a body will not stand up to the Government and the States. Btw, it’s a good thing that I’m not a freaking preacher. Nobody, would like me. Something is wrong with the Christian world of today. I’m beginning to question the Churches as a whole, when will you the Christian people will wake the Hell up and have a backbone? ……

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