Image by sylvar/Creative Commons
Restrooms are essential in our lives. Cisgender individuals, those who identify with their gender at birth, never have to worry about deciding which bathroom to use. But when it comes to transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary individuals, that decision is not always easy. And gender-neutral restrooms cannot be found everywhere.
In the Huffington Post, James Nichols’ article, “Refuge Restrooms Helps Users Locate Gender Neutral Bathrooms”, tells the story of Teagan Widmer. Widmer created a new website called Refuge Restrooms, which is attempting to help individuals in the Queer community, who are not comfortable using traditional gendered restrooms, and find safe options within close proximity.
Widmer says, “bathroom usage is a huge issue for trans* people. It’s been well documented over the past few months in the press just how big of an issue it is. California passed a bill that allowed trans students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify (AB 1266), but Republicans in the state are trying to repeal it… I built the site because I saw a gap that needed to be filled”. Widmer mentions that there has been a similar resource called Safe2Pee, but the site has progressively stopped working over the past year.
Furthermore, it’s important to have people like Teagan Widmer supporting and providing resources to the trans community because much of the education and work for trans rights is put on the trans community which makes it difficult for them to reach out to other people for support and understanding.
Gender-neutral restrooms can help transgender students feel safer in school. Without bills such as AB1266, many more transgender students will continue to drop out of high school, never getting the chance of a better or higher education. Everyone deserves a chance to succeed and gender-neutral bathrooms are only one baby step closer to getting more trans rights.