A Bathroom for All

A new all gender bathroom comes to Garfield.


Art by Simone Cielos

Across the hall from the band room, the bathroom which had previously been assigned “Girls Only”, has been converted to an all-inclusive restroom with a bright blue sign titled “All Gender Bathroom”. Its abrupt arrival has startled many Garfield students. The reactions vary in and out of the Garfield community, some rejoice and others worry.
This bathroom feels necessary to many of the non-binary and trans students at Garfield, because previous to the all gender bathrooms, many had to resort to using the single toilet in the Teen Health Center. Having to Personally ask to use the bathroom with THC staff consent.
“In my freshman year I didn’t go to the bathroom once at Garfield,” said Alex Reynolds, GSA president. They said they would find themself waiting out 5th and 6th period in discomfort only to race home at the ring of the final bell. Students explained the experience as seperating and slightly dehumanizing.
While this fight for bathrooms has been long standing, many are curious as to why it took so long. Garfield has a long history of social justice a nd is typically the first to launch new inclusive initiatives, but in this instance most elementary schools received all-gender bathrooms first.
Reasoning varies, but overall it relates community pushback and whether the bathroom would be welcomed within Garfield. According to GSA, educating the community seemed to be the clearest option. The main goal of educating was to explain the bathrooms practical use and the meaning of having one in our school. Unfortunately the date changes and the uncertainty of the situation made it more complicated.
“Putting it off for so long made it impossible to do education on the front end.” said Alex Reynolds. They believed that being able to reach out to the cis-gendered students to explain the need for the bathroom was an important step in the process, and could’ve prevented much of the confusion its sudden and unexpected arrival has brung.
The location of the bathroom is a large center of conflict as the bathroom chosen is one of the most used girl’s bathrooms in the entire school. While it is still accesible to cisgender woman, many would prefer to either not use it or do not want to fill the only bathroom accesible to non-binary and trans students.
The girls bathroom on the first floor was the original choice, which is used much less fre quently, but a final decision made by the district moved it to it’s current placement. Some believe the decision was deliberate, but while this is still unclear, it is fair to question the decision.
Now that the bathroom is accessible to all genders, some cis women fear the bathroom being used by cis men and the dangers that may bring. “Ultimately a sign isn’t going to stop a sexual predator .” Alex Reynolds said. “People should know that that fear is not particularly founded in any data”.
While it has been rather sudden, the bathrooms open a new door for many students within Garfield now and in the future. It is important to those who have been fighting for it and it is important to our schools growth. So if your walking down the hallway and you see the all gender bathroom, don’t be afraid to go on and use it!