Gender-Neutral Spaces are Coming to UC High

Allison Martin, Staff Writer

   University City High will be installing gender-neutral bathrooms and possibly locker rooms for gender-neutral and gender non-conforming students in the near future.

   Head Counselor Kelsey Bradshaw, Advisor of Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club stated, “It’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of when.”

   Bradshaw said, “I think getting gender-neutral bathrooms is a very positive idea to help students feel more welcome and do what they need to do.” She added, “I don’t see any dangers of it. I think it can only help the students on this campus.”    

   She continued, “As we’ve come back from the pandemic, I have had more students reach out to adults on campus this year asking for non-binary related spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms.”

   GSA President Clay Shaughnessy proposed the idea in the Commander issue one’s “Letter to the Editor” and said, “We are currently in the process to try to bring gender-neutral restrooms as well as a gender-neutral locker room to campus…. This would not only provide the right to use the bathroom at school to numerous students, but it would also increase mental health for some of your gender diverse peers.”

   Shaughnessy also said, “According to a 2021 Gallup poll, at least 15.9 percent of Generation Z identify as LBTGQ and roughly 4 percent identify as non-binary. This means out of the 1,700 students at UC High, nearly 68 will identify as non-binary. Adding students who use different terminology, such as gender non-confirming or gender queer, you get even more.”

   Freshman Charlie LaPierre said, “Restrooms are for anyone and everyone should feel comfortable with where they are and comfortable with something as simple as going to the restroom or changing in a locker room.” LaPierre continued, “Restrooms should be able to be used by everyone and absolutely anyone, regardless of their gender identity or what their expression may be.”

   Bradshaw stated, “Getting a gender-neutral bathroom will be a huge step for our campus, as well as a better way for students to feel comfortable with how long we are at school due to the new late start schedule.” She added, “We are currently working on it, and hopefully it will be ready to go in the next couple of weeks.”

   Bradshaw said, “The biggest challenge is finding the space and the facilities on campus. We are finding new needs but no new financial help or space. I am currently GSA Club advisor, and I know that my club has grown to about probably 45 students wanting to make a difference and who may be using these bathrooms,” she said.

   Shaughnessy said, “Some students will go the entire day, every day, at school not using the bathroom, because whichever one you choose will often bring discomfort and [gender] dysphoria, which can ruin a good day.”

   Shaughnessy explained, “Absolutely nothing about a gender-neutral bathroom existing on a school campus brings any kind of dangers to students. In fact, it will ensure the safety of many students, mentally and physically speaking.”

   “Any students who are looking for an accepting and safe place on campus can come by to GSA! We meet outside of room 214 on Thursdays and anyone is welcome,” said Shaughnessy.