December 7, 2015

Dear Division 16,

I hope you had a great weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

For today’s assignment, please read the following article about gender neutral washrooms in schools.

http://www.straight.com/blogra/591401/north-vancouver-gets-first-gender-neutral-washroom-school

Think back to the Pridespeaks we had back in November and answer the following question:

What impacts do actions like creating gender-neutral washrooms have on communities? Ensure you consider both LGBTQ people and non-LGBTQ people in your response.

(If you are interested in learning more about our own district, you can find a copy of the Vancouver School Board policy here: https://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-policy/acb-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identities )

I look forward to your responses!

Jody

50 comments

  1. Amythest

    I think that having gender neutral bathrooms in schools well there are good things and bad things. The good reasons are: for LGBTQ people so they feel like they can actually go in there without having to make a decision of which bathroom to go in. The bad reasons: maybe some kids would feel uncomfortable going in there or maybe they just like going in to a bathroom that is only their gender. But I think that it would be totally fine if we stuck to having girls and boys or had gender neutral bathrooms. Also I think that at you’re school you should ask the kids or do a survey just to make sure it is ok with the kids because some kids may feel very strongly about gender neutral bathrooms or maybe some kids feel very strongly about girl and boy bathrooms.

    • dickensdiv16

      Would it make a difference if it were a single stall washroom? I think that at the North Vancouver school you read about, there was a great deal of discussion at the school before the gender-neutral washroom was started, but in general, yes, I agree! More discussion about a topic like this always helps it be more successful.

  2. Rouge

    I think that having gender neutral washrooms in public places (schools, libraries, restaurants ext.) is good and bad from different points of view. Maybe from a point of view of a LGBTQ person it would be a good thing to have a multi gendered bathrooms. So that it creates a safe, non judged and labeled place that makes people feel included, and also spreads LGBTQ awareness. But also some people in certain religions or people that have strong anti LGBTQ beliefs may find it hard/wrong to have these public generic washrooms for everyone to use. I personally feel that at our school we should have gender neutral washrooms as well as boys and girls washrooms so everyone is included and a part of our school and community. One different use I thought of for gender neutral washrooms (besides the LGBTQ community) could be for children living in poorer parts of the Middle East/ Africa. Usually at schools and other public places there is only a boys washroom and the girls are “not important” enough to get their own washroom. So their could be gender neutral washrooms, that way the boys and girls can freely use it without gender or race discrimination.

    • dickensdiv16

      I like the connection you’ve made here to accessibility, Rouge! I think that it’s always positive to consider the safety of all people in our public and shared buildings.

  3. PG Dinosaur

    The decision to include a gender-neutral washroom would impact the community in many ways. It would make LGBTQ people feel more included and accepted because they would have a friendly place to go to the washroom and not have to worry about people being uncomfortable, or making them uncomfortable. Non-LGBTQ community members could get mad because they might think that the LGBTQ person is getting special treatment. In reality, the gender neutral washroom would be there to make all students feel comfortable. Those who were worried about mixed-gender washrooms would have place to go, and those who were LGBTQ could also have a place to go. In conclusion, I feel that the gender-neutral washroom will improve the community and make it a better place.

  4. The Baconator

    I think that this will have a HUGE effect on LGBTQ people because it could go two very different ways.
    #1 They could feel like they are being included and feel like they can be safe and not be harmed about their thoughts about who they are.
    OR . . . . . . . . . . . .
    #2 they could somehow be noticed that they aren’t exactly one gender and be made fun of. If they are bullied they may not want to change and become the person that they feel like they are supposed to be.
    In both ways it is tipped, one is comforting and the other is terrifying and I don’t think that LGBTQ people will want to take a giant risk.
    Even though it is a great idea I don’t think that it will be a big success. I think we should stay with what we have.
    For the NON LGBTQ people, I don’t think that it will matter that much because as long as you have privacy it would be the same thing as being in separated bathroom.

    • dickensdiv16

      Which of the two possibilities you have outlined above do you think is most likely? I like that you’ve considered different possible interpretations. Do you think that for all LGBT people it is important not to be noticed? If so, how can we create privacy and safety?

  5. smeagaleater10

    I think that the gender-neutral washrooms have a big impact on the community in a good way and a bad way. The good way that gender –neutral impacts the community because the LGBTQ will feel more at home. But the bad way gender- neutral washrooms affects the community is that the non LGBTQ people will feel uncomfortable. I think the non LGBTQ will feel weird because they are used to being in their own genders washroom.

    • dickensdiv16

      I think that there would still be gendered washrooms for people who are comfortable using them at that school, but that the additional washrooms would be single stall for those who chose to use it. Does that change your opinion?

  6. den10@sea43

    I think that it is more bad then good and here is why. Having a gender neutral washroom can be hurtful for people wanting nobody to know that they are LGBTQ+ and felling worried about someone noticing them and abusing them in some way. But it could also be a good thing because I remember that we had a presentation for LGBTQ+ people and they said that LGBTQ+ people feel uncomfortable choosing different washrooms or in washrooms so this should really help.

    • den10@sea43

      I would like to add on to mine.
      it would also be a safety concern because the gender neutral washroom doesn’t just let LGBTQ+ in like what if a guy/girl is in the washroom and a person from the opposite gender starts to peek in. Also it would take more money to build it because it needs to have enough room for for twice the amount of people and it needs more stalls because you can’t have a unnail in it because there are girls there so there needs to be stalls and they take up much room and cost more. So what I am saying is that it takes a lot of money and there is safety problems so it is just not worth it.

      • dickensdiv16

        den10@sea43, you’ve raised an important point, like that raised by The Baconator above – that for some people, privacy is important. I agree with you that education is super important, and I know that the school has done a lot of that work. I do think that the gender neutral washrooms are single stall (one person at a time) to ensure privacy. Do you think that the recognition of safety needs such as this step will help LGBTQ people feel their identities are being appreciated?

  7. super cheese cake

    Good things about the gender-neutral washroom is that someone like me won’t be scared about going into the wrong washroom or had to build extra doors and extra something else. And LGBTQ people wouldn’t feel like been teased. Bad thing is those non-LGBTQ people probably will feel kind of weird and shy because they used to be in different washroom. For me I think I’m fine with the set-up of gender-neutral. I think we should ask them if it is the way they wish. On top of every thing we still can let them feel inclusive and don’t look teasing.

    • dickensdiv16

      I think it’s a great idea to talk to people to determine what is needed first. I believe that did happen in this case. I agree with you that for some people, washrooms can be a scary thing and when schools recognize different identities and try to meet the needs of all people, it’s a very important step!

  8. Shadow145

    I think that this is a bad idea and a good idea for people to have gender neutral bathrooms can make non LGBTQ would feel uncomfortable and weird with having gender neutral bathrooms but LGBTQ would feel much more welcome if we had these washrooms so this would be half a good idea and half a bad idea with having gender neutral bathrooms.

  9. the DUDE

    Gender neutral washrooms are a very good idea because I think that LGBTQ people would feel safer. This isn’t just for LGBTQ people. Sometimes people who get bullied or who are just a little different get bullied in washrooms, and this is a way to make this better. Having gender neutral washrooms will make people feel more comfortable. On the negative side of things, if girls and guys are all in the same washrooms, then girls could see guys using the urinals. Since washroom doors have gaps, people could peek at other people. Actually, this would make people feel pretty uncomfortable. LGBTQ people may feel uncomfortable in ordinary washrooms, but so can straight people. Maybe washrooms just aren’t that comfortable! Maybe instead of having stalls, there should just be rooms with a toilet and a sink so that people can just have privacy, no matter what their gender or preference.

    • dickensdiv16

      I agree with you, the DUDE, for some people, privacy is super important. I agree with you that public washrooms are a problem for many people, and that there are things we could do to improve them in general. I like how you responded to this question. How would your response be different if you knew that the gender-neutral washroom was a single person washroom?

  10. PandaTush

    To me, LGBTQ people are just the same as non LGBTQ people. We are all human beings and part of one community. I am completely ok with them. But, the idea of the same gender washrooms kind of puts me in the middle. Washrooms were made separate for a reason. Girls have their privacy and boys have theirs. But that’s only one half of the story. For LGBTQ people, they might be confused on where to go and if there were netrual washrooms I think they might feel safe. Both sides of this argument are very important and it can’t just be decided on one sides behalf. If there was girls, boys and both gendered washrooms, I think it would be a fair deal. It’s just adds more to those who need it, and it spreads more positivity around for LGBTQ people. It’s time for a change!

    • dickensdiv16

      PandaTush, thank you for thinking of the identity of the individual and about the issues created when we divide people up by gender without considering people who may not identify as either. I think that this school has kept all three washrooms in place. I agree as well that actions like this can spread positivity and understanding around LGBTQ issues!

  11. Crazychicken lover

    I think lile maybe alot other peple that they’re are bad and good points of view in this issue because of how LGBTQ people think and non-LGBTQ think an theyre diffrent perspectives. Like maybe these gender neautral washrooms have people who dont like them and might walk in to those washrooms and abuse those people or call them names or even vandalize these washrooms. A non LGBTQ person would probably feel uncomfortable about this and probably woudnt like it. A LGBTQ person would probably be delighted and they would be very happy about this arrangement. It will probably aroise some anger and hatred on both sides of people and honestly speaking i wouldnt feel comfortable sharing a room with LGBTQ people and Girls.(no offence)

    • dickensdiv16

      Crazychicken lover, I appreciate that you brought up the idea that this may draw attention to people using them, and I appreciate that you worked hard to empathize with the needs of LGBTQ individuals and non-LGBTQ people. I’m curious why you think non-LGBTQ people will be uncomfortable?

  12. crazymemeslol123

    I think it would be ok for the people who are LGBTQ it will help them to be able to do what they can instead of people saying to them like hey are you gay or lesbian they feel like they are not human or something it will be very sad for them so this bathroom will help them because people in the bathroom are like them too so they can do what they want to do not be insulted by other people it’s mostly like bullying in a bathroom but just being sexist I’m fine if I’m with LGBTQ people it’s just that some people can’t handle the pressure to say if he/her is LGBTQ so that’s why we need these types of bathrooms to help the people that are LGBTQ.

    • dickensdiv16

      I agree with you, crazymemeslol123, creating safe spaces for people will help people with different gender identities feel like they can be themselves. I also agree that for many people identities are not so clear!

  13. iron lanturn

    having gender neutral washrooms will have many pros and cons here are some pros1 LGBTQ people will have a easy decision to make when it comes to washrooms. 2 many stalls can be placed in washrooms.
    these are some cons 1 people will have to share the place 2 LGBTQ people will get teased
    3people can see over the stalls.
    this would be a good idea if there was a washroom available for LGBTQ people.

  14. A.ayewthelegend10

    I think people who are not LGBTQ just need to calm down and give them the respect and privacy that they need. Also your both in the right place. For people who are LGBTQ now it is a safer environment and they can walk into both washrooms. But they still need our help by not having to be asked “are you in the right place?” because they don’t want to be asked that they want it to be a safe place without harassment and uneasy feelings.

    • dickensdiv16

      Thank you for recalling the point that was made in our Pridespeaks – that one of the issues LGBTQ people identified was constantly being challenged about their identities. Respect and privacy are very important first steps towards safety.

  15. Soccerboy123ABC

    I think that it affects the community greatly and that there are good and bad sides of having gender neutral washrooms I think the good side of having them is that LGBTQ people will feel more comfortable in it because there might be more LGBTQ people using them and they might not get asked “are you in there right washroom “.I think that people who are non-LGBTQ might feel very uncomfortable because they might be in the same washroom as the opposite gender and that might make them not support the idea of the gender neutral washroom or it might make them feel like it’s wrong or hard to use these washroomsites.

    • dickensdiv16

      Good point, Soccerboy123ABC, you’ve made a great connection to the Pridespeaks as well – I wonder if non-LGBTQ people might also choose to use ungendered washrooms to support their classmates!

  16. Sr.Fruitcake

    I think that having a gender neutral washroom is a positive thing to do as is obvious it is not just the washroom but the symbol itself is portraying the open mindedness of the community. I think that as I’ve said in previous blog posts this would make it easier for people to feel comfortable about being LGBTQ I think that that will could make a big difference to the LGBTQ community of North Vancouver and a positive asset (if more schools and public places start to have them) to the whole of Vancouver. I think that on the half of the non LGBTQ people it would be maybe slightly weird but if they could learn to know that it is a good thing than I feel that it could be a good thing for the whole school I do wonder weather it make some people judge others for going into it, but I think that with time the washroom will just help to intermingle the students.

    • dickensdiv16

      School Districts choosing to put non-gendered washrooms in place does go a long way to demonstrate their support of their whole community. Change can be difficult to accept but I agree with you that this kind of action is worth it.

  17. THEMANGO404 QWERTY

    1# I think that if gender neutral were built in washrooms their would be some concerns because there would be a group of people who would need to install the washrooms and that would take time and money and the city of Vancouver would probably get involved. Also the people in the community would maybe feel uncomfortable. I think that non-LGBTQ people would feel uncomfortable if the gender neutral washrooms were installed.

    • dickensdiv16

      Do you think that financial concerns are a priority in this kind of decision, and if so, where do you think that the funds should come from to provide this kind of facility?

  18. DLTMGYD

    I think that this will help people who are afraid to come out come out and be who they are inside and out. I think that this might help by lower the number of kids being bullied and suicide from being bullied for being different. I also think that this will help all communities join and become stronger and closer. It also might just take some time to getting use to but will make everyone more LGBTQ supporting.

    • dickensdiv16

      DLTMGYD, thank you for your insight. You’re right, for LGBTQ youth, an acknowledgement of the courage required to come out and be yourself can go a long way. I think that school districts can make decisions like this that that show all identities are entitled to space and safety and be valued!

  19. Gretchen

    There are several comments about how non-LGBTQ people might feel uncomfortable in gender neutral bathrooms. Let’s consider how LGBTQ youth feel every minute of every day when society sends them the message that they are unnatural, abnormal–even harmful. That feeling goes beyond discomfort. Without support and understanding, an LGBTQ youth could suffer in silence. Gender neutral washrooms are just a tiny step toward love and acceptance. Bathrooms should be where we do “our business”, not where we discriminate.

    • dickensdiv16

      Thank you for your perspective, Gretchen! You’ve reminded us how comfort is often dependent on having one’s identity recognized and valued. Tiny steps are important in our physical spaces and also in changing our minds. I agree as well that creating spaces that signal acceptance is important! Thank you for posting 🙂

  20. balloongirl123

    I think that washrooms are good but the it is good to have many washrooms but the LGBTQ is sometimes a little hard because some people could get mistakes which washroom is the female or male.

    • dickensdiv16

      balloongirl123, I think that schools who introduced non-gendered washrooms would help students to understand. I think they are also pretty accepting spaces, and would be safe for all students to use!

  21. baconguy

    I think that having gender neutral washrooms in schools would be nice for some people and not so good for others. It would be good for LGBTQ community because choosing the washroom that they use could get a it uncomfortable. It wouldn’t be so good for the people who like privacy and have been growing up with gender washrooms.

  22. DancingPorcupine

    I think that this would be a great thing if it was a single stall washroom. I think that this could be something that would really benefit LGBTQIA+ youth because it might make them more comfortable and not feel like they have to make a hard decision about witch bathroom they should be in. I think that if they were not single stall washrooms non-LGBTQ people might feel uncomfortable because they dont think that the gender that someone identifies as is their valid gender.

    • dickensdiv16

      You’ve raised some important issues here! The concern you mentioned in your last sentence about students making judgments about other people’s gender identities might be helped by gender neutral spaces like this! Let’s hope so!

  23. TechNerd

    I think that it is quite bad to have gender neutral bathrooms, Why? Because LGBTQ people may not feel right to go in a Gender Neutral bathroom. But also it may make them feel comfortable because they don’t need to question their identity and can go straight in there. It can go both ways, But the Positive thing is that it might make LGBTQ people feel safe and comfortable and they don’t need to question their identity and who they are.

    • dickensdiv16

      You’re right, TechNerd, for people who question their gender identity, or whose gender identity does not match others’ perceptions, choosing a washroom can be challenging. Safety and comfort are an important thing for all students to experience at school!

  24. Joaquin

    I think it will help the LGBTQ people to feel more comfortable when it comes to going to the washrooms.I think they might get teased or bulled. non-LGBTQ people will most likely think it is weird to have a washroom just for LGBTQ people because it is some thing that is not normal to them.

  25. Arctic owl

    I think that having a both gender bathroom will make a big change in our communities . Because then LGBTQ people wont get bullied as much and LGBTQ people might like the fact that they get there own bathroom there own space where its just them . There’s also one thing that’s bad what if someone non LGBTQ might see someone LGBTQ going in there and they might think there not normal at all or if there a bully they might even think that they don’t belong here and bully them a lot more than they used to . l think this would be both really hard and kind of nice for LGBTQ people

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