Gendered bathrooms, a sign to change

A simple plan for a bigger future


Maria Fonvielle

GSA students pose during a weekly Wednesday meeting. From left to right, Benji Emfinger, Nykyt Cron, Stu Adhikary, Ryan de Forest, JC Shiff and Lucas Wenneman.

Hugo Heim Romero, Staff Reporter

This year, the decision was made to turn the gender neutral bathrooms next to the counseling center into gendered bathrooms. At the same time, one new gender neutral bathroom was added. This means that in a school of around 1600 students, there are three gender neutral bathrooms, one of which is near most classrooms. Feeling a lack of support from the school, the Gender Sexuallity Alliance (GSA) club decided to take matters in their own hands by reaching out to a Seattle Public Schools coordinator about making bathrooms gender neutral.

Club member, freshman and Talisman reporter Benji Emfinger had this to say about the club’s reasoning of adding more gender neutral bathrooms.

“People feel more comfortable going into those if they are gender non conforming or something under the trans umbrella,” Emfinger said.

President of the GSA club, Stuti Adhikary, is at the head of organizing these changes but said that it wasn’t all their doing. 

“Last year, the president themself reached out to the district about the gender neutral bathrooms,” Adhikary said. 

The club is serious about what they want to accomplish, and they wanted to put their best effort into this endeavor. “We made this entire list of problems that was wrong with it and how we can better it and then we sent it to the district,” Adhikary said.

Although GSA had reached out last year, it was only this November when they were able to officially meet a coordinator.

“The idea that was agreed on was making all of them gender neutral, except for one set for people who either weren’t out and didn’t feel comfortable … using the gender neutral bathroom yet, or people who just didn’t use gender neutral bathrooms,” Emfinger said. 

The GSA club also plans to talk with architects on what changes are needed to make to these bathrooms gender neutral. 

“[A]ll we really need to do is change the signs,” Adhikary said.

Although there are architects involved, there is no current definitive plan to change anything inside the bathrooms or adding urinals. 

“I’m actually not quite sure about that yet. I feel like that’s a good topic for greater discussion,” Adhikary said.

With many additions still being up in the air, it is unclear when these changes will take place.

“I cannot say for sure, but I hope that these changes would be made by this year, but sometimes it can take a bit long,” Adhikary said. 

Although this may be as simple a change as just changing signs on bathrooms, GSA hopes this will be a small step to a more progressive Ballard.