The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



The Truth of Using Gender-Neutral Areas at SLOHS is Underwhelming


The gender-neutral/accessible bathroom at SLOHS. Photo courtesy of junior Julian Johnson.


  San Luis Obispo High School students have likely seen gender-neutral bathrooms around campus. Resources for students who do not identify as male or female are certainly necessary, but they have shortcomings.

  “They always close off the gender-neutral bathrooms. They do it often and for no reason, and then I have to walk halfway across campus just to go to the bathroom,” said senior XC Clements.

  It is frustrating to have a resource taken away without doing anything wrong or having a way around it. Some bathrooms even have makeshift paper signs marking them for staff, which limits what is left even further.

  These bathrooms are single rooms rather than stalls, which many students enjoy for their privacy. It is unfortunately easy for this private space to be misused.

  “I’ve noticed a lot of people bring their friends into the bathrooms, so you’re not using the bathroom for its purpose,” said junior Vance Waller.

  There are mixed opinions on whether students without a requirement to use these bathrooms should be allowed at all. 

  “Anybody is welcome to use it, even if your gender is just male or female,” said Clements. 

  It is good to have another option for everybody to use, but gender-neutral areas are the only option for some students. It can be debated that because we have men’s, women’s, and neutral bathrooms, no man or woman needs to use the gender-neutral ones.

  “When you fit the term cisgender it’s very uncomfortable when you use these bathrooms because it takes away a lot of space. The only exception I really have is people who are disabled,” said Waller.

  It seems like non-binary and transgender students often go out of their way to not be in gendered spaces so as to not make anybody uncomfortable. This does not change the way other people treat gender-neutral areas.

  Possibly the most disappointing facility is the locker rooms. To access the “gender-neutral” changing spaces, students must first enter either the men’s or women’s side, which ruins the purpose.

  “You have to go into one or the other, and neither one is great. They have stalls but there are only three, and there’s only two lockers, so they’re not that accessible because more people need it than they think,” said Waller.

  Being in a locker room can make students feel very othered, adding on the process of walking past everyone to a secluded room with such a limited capacity does not help one bit.

  Transgender students often face struggles when trying to access resources, but at least facilities are in place as an alternative to strictly men’s and women’s being available. Still, gender-neutral access at SLOHS has a long way to go.

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