gender-neutral washroom, transphobia, high school, trans activism, advocacy, equity, dignity, human rights, school administration, allies
Nim: There was a gender neutral washroom at my high school.
Nim: But there was only one and it was like a repurposed single-use teacher's bathroom. So there is some issues, real or perceived, with the bathroom being kind of misused just using it for other things. I see so the bathrooms kept locked a lot of the time which meant if I wanted to go use the gender neutral bathroom I had to go find a teacher to ask them for the key.
Nim: And then it kind of escalated to they started keeping the key in the office so I had to you know be wandering around the school to go to the office and then back to the bathroom and then [unclear] out of class for too long and then it kind of all accumulated when I went to the office to ask for the key and asked me to sign out my name and I was like okay come on like none of the cisgender kids have to do this.
Nim: They just go in the bathroom and it's nobody's business so the next day I kind of I arrived to school early with one of friend and we went to all of the gender bathrooms and we locked the door to stalls except for one, I'm not a monster, in the school and on each of the locked stalls we put up a sign and said "Do you think this is unfair because we do too. Help keep us like help keep our gender neutral bathrooms unlocked because this is like the reality for many of our trans students who go to use the bathroom and it's locked and they can't access it". And due to that and also you were contacting some people in Equity.
Brenda: The Equity Coordinator of the board then
Nim: So kind of both those things and I think hit the fan of the principal, at the same time we had already been talking to try and get it unlocked to no avail so that's why we kind of orchestrated bigger things.
Brenda: To going under the bathroom doors locked after you locked them.
Nim: Yes so after I kind of did that thing that day and we were talking the other person, the bathroom was kept unlocked.
Tara: So a piece of really strong activism it what did it, working from the bottom and then working from the top. Tell us a Little bit about your discussion with the Equity person.
Brenda: I ended up emailing him so I never really talked to him. But when I got this email back it was amazing. He said that, this is about signing your name and having the key log was not a way for people to live with dignity. And the board did not want people to having to resort to that. And I was blown away, I actually use that phrase when I wrote a letter to my in-laws and to my sister about Nim's transition.
Brenda: I use that whole story and especially that key phrase because we are talking about dignity, we're not talking about some weird phase and they're "going to grow out of it". I mean this was basic human rights.
Tara: Good for you.
Brenda: And the guy from the board hit the nail on the head and I believe he did talk to the principal.
Brenda and Nim: It was the same day.
Brenda: We think it was the same day.
Brenda: The principal being like stony-faced with these kids coming in "there will be graffiti in the bathroom if we leave it unlocked" and all these weird comments. But at the board level he went -- it parachuted down.