All-gender bathrooms: good or bad?


Taipei American School implemented gender-neutral bathrooms as a way to make the school a more inclusive environment. [LANA LEE/THE BLUE & GOLD]

At the beginning of the 2021-22 fall semester, Taipei American School (TAS) implemented gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the school as a way to make the school a more inclusive environment, especially regarding the LGBTQ+ community. While gender-neutral bathrooms may serve to represent the community’s efforts in promoting inclusivity, safety, comfort and privacy are also factors to be considered.

“In my experience, the all gender bathrooms are usually empty,” Davina J. (‘25, they/them) said. This questions the usefulness of all gender bathrooms, leading to a wariness of the benefits of their implementation.

According to The New Yorker, disagreement amongst the public on whether all gender bathrooms should be accepted or not was because of the risk of sexual harassment. States and companies proposed laws to make it illegal to enter a bathroom that does not follow your biological sex, but the increasing support of LGBTQ+ peoples countered it. Because of this, different campaigns were made to highlight the danger of not imposing these laws, a prominent argument being the increased risk of sexual assault. 

However, according to a survey conducted by Harvard News, for U.S. teens from ages 13-17, 36% of transgender or gender-nonbinary students with restricted bathroom or locker room access reported being sexually assaulted in the last 12 months. This statistic proves that not accepting all gender bathrooms can be detrimental to nonbinary or transgender peoples and forcibly make them use facilities that are for genders they do not identify. This is not only disrespectful, but dangerous, suggesting that gender-neutral bathrooms do indeed prove to be beneficial and helpful towards school communities. 

Furthermore, there seems to be the issue of privacy that makes these bathrooms uncomfortable; the bathrooms do not have a central door, making it less private. “[I do not] want to use the bathroom and have people walking by,” Emma E. (‘25, she/her) said. Emma has also expressed that she has not seen the gender-neutral bathrooms being used. Perhaps the problem is not the bathroom itself, but how it is implemented. With the bathrooms being so open and public, students may be uncomfortable with the lack of privacy they have and may choose to use gender-specific ones instead. 

 Including more all gender bathrooms may be able to solve this problem. “I can sort of understand some people being unused to [the newly implemented all gender bathrooms], so having more in different parts of the school is like the best of both worlds,” Davina said. By including more bathrooms, the awkward transition period to now gender-neutral bathrooms would be shortened, and students would get used to it more quickly.

Overall, gender-neutral bathrooms do seem to be helping our community. TAS has always been working toward becoming more and more inclusive, including wellness lessons in advisory. It is nice to see that the school has decided to take action to show their support for transgender and gender-nonbinary students, instead of simply talking about it. Though it may be just another bathroom to some people, an important aspect is focusing on what they represent to non-binary or transgender peoples, or in general, people who have felt excluded.