Unisex restrooms installed at Gunn


The Oracle

Written by Lena Ye

Since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Gunn has established five gender-neutral bathrooms. These bathrooms are located inside the main office, behind the physical education classroom, just right of the senior quad and inside the new building. In August 2013, California’s  governor approved Assembly Bill 1266, which required schools to provide facilities consistent with students’ gender identities. According to Special Education teacher Adriana Aro, however, the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms means more than simply following the law. “There is so much violence against transgender people in the United States,” Aro said. “People need a safe place to go where their gender will not be questioned because of how their body looks.”

As of now, students use the gender neutral bathrooms for a variety of reasons. Most require its services because of their gender identities. According to math teacher and Gender Sexuality Alliance club adviser Daisy Renazco, the new bathrooms provide for the basic needs of transgender students. “When somebody realizes that their gender identity may not match who they are on the outside, going to the bathroom can bring on a lot of anxiety,” Renazco said. “There are students who have needed to advocate for gender-neutral bathrooms. There have been students who have been asking for a way for us to support them.”

The single-stalled bathrooms are open and free for use by any Gunn student or faculty member. Some of the bathrooms, however, are locked from the outside, requiring a key that can be acquired by speaking to administration. According to Principal Dr. Denise Herrmann, the locks were implemented  due to safety concerns and the Americans with Disability Acts (ADA), which requires schools to provide equal access and opportunity to disabled students. “We thought that we could use a certain lock, but somebody from the district office told us that ADA compliance wouldn’t allow that lock,” Herrmann said. “We are actively working on the access point, and some of the solutions we initially thought would work were shut down, but we are continually working on it.”

Single-stalled bathrooms are not as specially efficient as are multi-stalled bathrooms, and current architecture prevents the school from simply implementing more gender-neutral bathrooms or creating some from existing gendered bathrooms. “There [aren’t] adequate spaces across the campus for many people,” Herrmann said. “It takes a while for the physical plan of schools to fit. We are trying to find the best ratio of high volume and high privacy.”