ETHS embraces transgender students

Simone Williams, In-Depth Editor

Many schools deliberately avoid addressing gender identity, but at ETHS the Gender Sexuality Club and various board meetings are now pushing these issues front and center.

“The challenge is we automatically want jump into this binary of male and female,” says GSA Sponsor Bill Farmer. “There are potential benefits to that but at the same time some students feel like they’re in this in-between zone.”

This past summer the School Board passed its first transgender policy, which is specific in terms of addressing means of students and their gender identity.

The Policy attempts to define the term “transgender” and other certain words that are used within the community. It also establishes confidentiality procedures in attempt to make students who are transgender feel comfortable in the school.

“As I get to know you as a student I want that information to be cheesed out rather than make assumptions,” says Farmer. “That’s just general practice for anybody.”

The new policy also allows the students’ gender in the gradebook to reflect their gender identities, with their parent’s permission if they are under the age of 18.

The school is still continuing to work on restroom and locker room usage. This part of the Transgender Policy has raised some controversy and is receiving national attention in places such as Elgin, IL and Palatine, IL regarding lawsuits that were filed against schools in those areas.

“People get concerned that if they let students use restrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity then it’s going to make other students feel uncomfortable,” says Farmer.

As a compromise, the school has single use restrooms, but there are only a few of them, and you need either a code or a key to get in.

Also, there is a third gender neutral locker room for those students who would like more privacy. As for sports and freshman P.E. you can join with any gender you identify with.

“Your gender identity is so connected to cultural expectations and that complicates it beyond the biological sex that you are born into,” says Farmer.

According to GLAAD, 90% of transgender people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.

If a student wants to bring awareness or share input on what ETHS can do for the students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community the GSA is a great club to attend. They meet every Tuesday in E330 at 3:45.

Visit for more information about the GSA club.