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Oregon

Ore. high school creates gender-neutral restrooms for transgender students

Saturday, March 23, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland’s largest public high school has reclassified six restrooms as unisex to create another option for transgender students and faculty who feel uncomfortable with traditional bathrooms.

The move is a first in the district and relatively uncommon nationwide for K-12 schools, which typically make staff or other small restrooms available, reported The Oregonian.

Ulysses S. Grant High School in Portland, Ore.

Officials at Ulysses S. Grant High School say four student restrooms and two staff restrooms — all single-stall — will be open to all students but create another option for the five to 10 transgender students at the high school.

Kristyn Westphal, the Grant High vice principal who helped lead the initiative, said administrators acted after counselors raised concerns.

“We just need to make sure that all students are safe and comfortable here, and that they have their needs met,” Westphal said. “If they feel unsafe using the bathroom, that’s a problem.”

Scott Morrison, a 17-year-old senior who was born a female but identifies as a male, says he stopped drinking water at one point so he wouldn’t have to choose between gender-specific restrooms.

Now, Morrison says he doesn’t have to struggle with the choice.

The state passed the Oregon Equality Act in 2007, joining at least 15 other states and Washington, D.C., in offering some legal protection for transgender people.

Earlier this year, Portland Public Schools’ general counsel Jollee Patterson sent administrators guidelines about how to deal with transgender issues, including bathrooms.

“This (bathroom) issue requires us to consider the need to support our transgender students, while also doing our best to ensure the safety and comfort of all students,” she wrote.

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Filed under: Oregon

32 more reader comments:

  1. Hell yea, go Portland!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:05pm
  2. .,why am i having this feeling that gay marriage and gay rights issue will soon be a thing of the past and that transgender and marijuana rights will be the new hot button topic…

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:06pm
  3. Awesome

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:06pm
  4. Avon High School in Indiana has created unisex bathrooms for our transgender students!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:08pm
  5. Yabba dabba do!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:08pm
  6. Love Portland !!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:10pm
  7. Norhassan Ali Usman: Because trans* people have less rights than the LG people in most states would be the obvious answer. Don’t know about the marijuana rights since the only right people want is the right to consume without going to jail.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:18pm
  8. As long as they’re not told they must use them, cool.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:21pm
  9. I wonder what the symbol on the door looks like.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:21pm
  10. I think it would be better to remove the signs from public bathrooms and just have them all be unisex. We’re here to pee, just like everyone else. If you really overvalue your privacy, make the spaces between floor-stall and ceiling-stall be so small that people cannot look through or grab through them. This goes for doors as well.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:23pm
  11. Vincent, I think most unisex signs have the female & male symbols with a bar between them. The word unisex is above or below. At least that’s what they look like in TN.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:26pm
  12. That’s what they look like everywhere.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:29pm
  13. easy solution -

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:29pm
  14. I agree with Tallyn, we should be past the point of segregating like that… Bravo to this school, for coming to terms with diversity in the student population… Definitely a sign of social progress!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:47pm
  15. where is that staples “that was easy” button when you need it.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:52pm
  16. Actually not awesome. Transgender people are not gender non-conforming or “neutral”..we indeed have a gender identity so the appropriate washroom would be either male for FTM or female for MTF. This dehuminizes us in my opinion.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:59pm
  17. Some trans* people identify as non-conforming or non-binary, and do not feel safe going in cismale or cisfemale restrooms.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 3:03pm
  18. Finally! Gender neutral. Was that REALLY so hard to figure out?

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 3:05pm
  19. I think this is a toss up. On one hand its awesome that they have created a space for transgender youth to use the bathroom without having to “choose”. However on the other hand it seems like a move that will more or less single out the transgender population of the school on an even larger scale. By making all restrooms unisex it might call for disruptions especially in a school full of youth. Progress is being made however and that’s what counts. :)

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 3:25pm
  20. The transgender students do not have to use the gender neutral bathrooms if they don’t want to, this is an option for those that do not feel safe choosing between the other two options. I think it’s great.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 3:49pm
  21. i want to know feelins of transgenders to see what point of view they stand on it. if for or against and why.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:16pm
  22. Awesome decision.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:16pm
  23. Good job Grant High School.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:28pm
  24. Seems like a big expense. Let the trans kids use the restroom of the gender of their choice.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:38pm
  25. While I think some gender neutral bathrooms are fine, I do not want to see everything unisex bathrooms. Call me old fashion but I still prefer pissing in a urinal. Men’s restrooms are designed to have a large row of them for quick in and out. We’ve all seen the longer lines at women’s restrooms during major events. I cant imagine the lines if they were all unisex stalls.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:53pm
  26. NO NO NO NO! This is completely wrong. Creating “special” bathrooms for the transgendered community is a form of segregation. It means that trans* people will still be the “ones who use the special bathroom”, as opposed the girl or boy who uses the bathroom.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 5:28pm
  27. Read the story Wendy. They’re not “special” bathrooms, they are “gender neutral” bathrooms that are available to all students, not just transgender students.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 6:06pm
  28. All bathrooms should be gender neutral. This whole segregation nonsense is ridiculous.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 6:31pm
  29. a common problem everywhere!

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 6:51pm
  30. Another step in the right direction for equality.

    Posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:07pm
  31. Perfect!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 7:13am
  32. One this note, PLEASE sing this and PASS IT ON— we have one more week but many many moresignatures needed and it’s super important for those of us with non-binary sexes and/or genders <3 thanks <3 https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/recognize-non-binary-genders/80HYg71P

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 10:57am