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LHS gender neutral bathroom sparks conversation across city

Some+gender+queer+students+face+confusion+when+entering+school+restrooms.+%22The+bathroom+is+for+everyone%2C+and+anyone+can+go+in+there%2C%22+Senior+Leo+Loving+said.+Gender+neutral+restrooms+aim+to+be+more+inclusive.
Some gender queer students face confusion when entering school restrooms.

Some gender queer students face confusion when entering school restrooms. "The bathroom is for everyone, and anyone can go in there," Senior Leo Loving said. Gender neutral restrooms aim to be more inclusive.

Abby Stewart

Abby Stewart

Some gender queer students face confusion when entering school restrooms. "The bathroom is for everyone, and anyone can go in there," Senior Leo Loving said. Gender neutral restrooms aim to be more inclusive.

Rowan Plinsky, Reporter

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Loving is non-binary, they do not identify with either end of the traditional male to female gender spectrum. This is just one identity falling under the umbrella term of genderqueer, which applies to any gender that is not normative according to Loving.

Loving prefers they/them pronouns, they do not identify with either the label of male, him/his, or female, she/her pronouns.

According to Loving being genderqueer presents difficulties for students because it is something that many Cis people either do not understand or do not accept. Cis means that a person identifies with their biological sex.

We should remember its intended purpose and that is for the gender queer kids in the school, and I don’t think people remember that.”

— Leo Loving

Loving’s experience at both schools gave them an opportunity to look at an array of students all over

Lawrence. Loving has noticed that there are less students that identify as genderqueer at Free State then there are at LHS.

“I don’t know a ton of genderqueer kids at Free State” Loving said “I only know the ones that are out, and a lot of them probably aren’t out.”

The traditional male and female public bathroom system can be particularly difficult for not only Non-Binary, but all genderqueer students. Using a bathroom designated for a gender that they do not identify with can make students feel nervous and even unsafe.

Currently, if a student does not feel comfortable using the gender designated bathrooms, they have to go to the office and get permission to use the staff or family restrooms. This isolates students and often makes them feel excluded.

On Monday, Feb. 20, LHS implemented an all-gender or gender neutral bathroom. The chosen restroom was previously a female restroom that now has a new sign designating it as gender neutral. This means that anyone can use it, no matter what gender or orientation.

There are fears that an all-gender bathroom could lead to it being misused or even make students a target.

“We should remember its intended purpose” Loving said. “And that is for the gender queer kids in the school, and I don’t think people remember that.”

Loving expressed that they have seen cis boys messing around in the bathroom because they find it funny that they get to use the restroom next to a girl.

The sponsor for Total Equality allegiance, Lindsey Buck, spearheaded the project.

“We have had many trans, gender non-conforming, or non-Binary students,” Buck said.  “Who want to have a bathroom they can access that is not just off by itself like a single stall or a staff bathroom.”

 

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
LHS gender neutral bathroom sparks conversation across city