As of late, the issue of the use of bathrooms based upon gender assignment has become hotly debated. It has gained the attention of schools and lawmakers alike. As such, many have been inspired to take action. The controversy has resulted in civil disputes and general unrest for the public. North Carolina recently ruled that students must use bathrooms based on the sex denoted on their birth certificates. In response, the Obama administration stated Friday that all public school students nationwide may use restrooms based on their personally perceived gender identity, sparking a lawsuit involving the state of North Carolina and the Federal Government.
Now, students are divided over the latest federal ruling, and what it will mean with respect to current conditions at school.
“I honestly think people are making this into a bigger deal than it needs to be,” junior Megan Crowder said. “The problem is that it’s a touchy, personal subject, and no matter who the decision is made in favor of, someone is going to be uncomfortable. Obama’s ruling means anyone can simply claim they’re transgender to gain access to the opposite sex’s bathroom now.”
Crowder’s opinion highlights just one of the issues many students are concerned about: the dangers in the possibility that people could take advantage of the ruling.
“The ideas behind the ruling, and the idea of gender neutral bathrooms are both cool, but like everyone else is saying, people can abuse the ruling and go into the other gender’s restroom,” junior Guillermo Gonzalez said. “I don’t really want to think about what bad things could occur under those circumstances. I mean, there are stories of people who have pretended to be trans to get into bathrooms as a means to fulfill creepy desires and interests. And it sucks that those things have happened, but they just do, and I’m not sure this law isn’t enabling them.”
Many students are also questioning what measures would be taken by the faculty to protect all parties, with these circumstances in mind. Clear methods for student safety and security have not been provided as of yet, and many students can’t see how measures could be taken without being invasive.
“I can imagine that bullying might happen,” sophomore Kerra Alexander said. “What if something bad were to happen to a transgender girl using the girl’s bathroom? And what if something bad happened to a transgender boy who received permission to use the boy’s bathroom? Someone could get hurt and no one would ever know, because it happened in the bathroom. There are no cameras, but at the same time there can’t be cameras for the obvious reasons.”
However, other students believe that these concerns are exaggerated and without merit.
“They just have to pee, they aren’t there to hurt other people,” junior Rheanna Gentry said. “If there are people saying transgender students are being pervs for using the restroom they identify with, they should consider that it’s ‘pervy’ in itself to be caring about what biological parts students have in the first place!”
And while there are two definitive sides to the matter, some students have also expressed interest in an alternate solution to the law: the input of gender neutral bathrooms in all public facilities.
“They definitely would solve a lot of problems, since there wouldn’t be the issue of gender assignment,” Gentry said. “You wouldn’t have to worry about which gender the bathroom was designated for, there wouldn’t be controversy. Since I am gender neutral, it would make me more comfortable when using the school bathrooms.”
However, other students are unsure of just how beneficial this idea would be, as it wouldn’t directly solve the original problem.
“A gender neutral bathroom is not what transgender students want, they want to go in the bathroom specified for the gender they identify as,” Alexander said. “By creating another bathroom the school would just be creating another way to keep them out of the bathroom they want to be in.”
But regardless of drastically differing opinions, it’s collectively agreed upon that all are interested to see how the school district will respond.
“In the end, it’s up to the school to decide what will happen,” Gonzalez said. “I just hope that a solution where everyone will be comfortable can be achieved.”