No code necessary in new all-gender bathrooms

Clara Gustafson and Sam Consiglio

Coming back to ETHS for the 2022-23 school year, students found a surprising addition:  All-Gender restrooms without passwords on the first floor of East wing.

All-Gender restrooms were originally installed around 2019, with codes administered to LGBTQ+ youth who requested them after completing a long administrative procedure. The stages of this process were long and frustrating for many students. You had to visit the website with parents, fill out a form with parents, and even have a meeting.

ETHS received backlash due to the lack of appearance of gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the building, and the tedious system for accessibility.

With this critique in mind ETHS initiated a change—-another gender-neutral bathroom—-but this time without a code necessary to enter. This may make it easier for closeted students that cannot come out to utilize the bathrooms they feel comfortable in without stress and without having to navigate what was previously a daunting system. 

“I went through the process of getting a code right before freshman year, and I was really stressing out about how I had to have a code to use the bathrooms,” sophomore Jexa Edinberg said. “I feel like they should’ve made it easier to find on the website.” 

Eliott Jamison, a senior, found similar issues as Edinberg. 

“It was definitely a stressful process to go through. It was just this thing in our queer community at school, where people were coming up to you and they’re like, ‘Hey, do you know where I can go to get a code to get to the bathrooms and locker rooms, because I don’t know where to go,’” Jamison explained. “As a senior who went through the process freshman year, I honestly don’t remember. It’s just kind of disappointing that these bathrooms aren’t easily accessible to queer students.” 

Romy Steinitz Miller, a sophomore, never went through this process because of how intimidating and difficult it seemed. 

“I haven’t gone through the process yet, mostly because I feel like it’s a very stressful process. You have to go to higher-ups and then it feels very official and very uptight, they explained. “Personally, this makes me shy away from [going through this process] because it feels like it makes things a much bigger deal than it has to be.”

 This process to access the All-Gender bathrooms with codes excluded students who couldn’t come out to their families or community. The new addition in the first floor of East wing solves this issue for closeted students. In fact, the newly open bathrooms seem to be a plus even for cisgender students. 

“There’s no real negative or con about them, to me it’s just another bathroom you can use,” cisgender freshman Nytasha Sharpe said. 

To Nytasha and many other students, the new stalls are simply just another, newer bathroom for everyone to utilize regardless of gender. However, not all students share the same views about the future usage of these bathroom stalls. 

Some students believe that in the future the stalls may instead morph into more of a hangout spot rather than what they were installed for. Cisgender freshman Rocco DiPadova said.

“The bathroom might be abused and end up being shut down-which could be dangerous to the kids who might actually need it,” cisgender freshman Rocco DiPadova said. 

Due to them having no codes-the gender neutral bathrooms could be accessible not just to students who need it, but also students of any gender looking to hang out together. 

Still, for now, the bathroom is a helpful addition for students.

“It’s nice that [the new All-Gender bathroom] is available and accessible,” Romy Steinitz Miller said.