Gender studies club to continue pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus


Officers Marlee Claes, pictured top right, and Ashley Ethridge, bottom left

Sarah Brager, editor, photographer

Over the past couple years, the gender-studies club (aka Fem club) on campus has been coordinating with administration to work toward opening a gender-neutral bathroom for students. While many steps have been taken to establish these bathrooms, the club has seen little action in response. As the school is primarily focused on maintaining a safe, healthy campus, the club may face additional obstacles in getting their idea approved by administration. However, gender-studies will be moving forward in their fight to open a gender-neutral restroom.

Last school year, senior club officers, who graduated last spring, led this initiative by communicating with the administration and student body to see where they stand with the idea. These steps included meeting with Principal David Pierce both in-person and via email, creating a survey to administer to students, publishing a podcast to raise awareness, and speaking with a representative from ACLU. Despite these efforts, there is still no clear intention of the school opening a gender-neutral bathroom.

“Now that we have our foundation, it’s time to take action. We are hoping to make this a change everyone can participate in, rather than just a few members of Fem club,” officer Ashley Ethridge, 12, said.

Current members of Fem club are still working out details for their updated proposal, but they plan on gathering support from other student organizations on campus, such as the Hays DoSomething initiative that recently took form. The club will likely have more specifics at their next meeting on Mon. Dec. 7.

Officer Marlee Claes, 11, said “student backlash” and “timely administrative communication” were obstacles for the club in the past, but she is hopeful that combining forces with other organizations will bolster their cause in the eyes of administration. While they may face more negative feedback from students, the officers agree that gender-neutral bathrooms are a necessary addition and are especially vital as mental health issues have been heightened from COVID-19.

“Creating an environment that is inclusive and accepting of everyone is crucial in students’ success, not just academically. Pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms in our school is a change we can make the benefit our entire community,” Ethridge said.


Check back here for further reports on this initiative.