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Administration to install new gender-neutral changing rooms

The+gender-neutral+private+changing+rooms+will+be+in+a+storage+room+next+to+the+girls+locker+room.+
Charlotte Bolay
The gender-neutral private changing rooms will be in a storage room next to the girls locker room.

What you need to know: 

  • Administration is installing gender neutral changing rooms and lockers
  • The changing rooms will be built in a room currently used for storage next to the girls locker room
  • This initiative was taken to promote inclusivity

Administrators have recently developed a plan to build individual, gender-neutral changing rooms to encourage inclusivity toward all students. So far, students have only been able to access two traditionally-gendered changing rooms, which do not offer sufficient privacy for students who may not feel comfortable changing in a male or female locker room.

The private locker rooms will be built in a storage room near the girls locker room. Half of it will be used for four private changing rooms, while the other will be used for lockers. Despite some disagreements about the removal of storage space, administration moved forward with the plan due to them being heavily requested.

“We’ve always had students who were maybe not as comfortable with coming forward and asking for a safe place,” said Assistant Principal Tara Grande, who is overseeing the construction of the changing rooms. “However, this fall, we had a number of students who came forward and were requesting a place to change.” 

According to senior and Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club President Spencer Eppstein, it isn’t a coincidence that many more students are requesting a safe place for them to change. 

“In general, a lot of people are more progressive or identify with a gender that is outside of the traditional binary,” Eppstein said. “These people are seeing the injustices nonbinary people face and want to fight for equality by having new accommodations.”

Plans to build gender-neutral changing rooms have been in discussion  since the beginning of the 2023-24 school year. Although construction hasn’t started yet , the organizers have submitted proposals to be reviewed by the district, who will then issue a contract to the business department at the district office. After this, the proposals will be sent to the school board for approval. 

Once we get the approval from the district and the contract gets issued, construction should be pretty quick,” Grande said. 

The installation of gender-neutral changing rooms will benefit students who identify as neither male nor female. Eppstein especially stressed the importance of providing non-gendered changing rooms.

“People who are nonbinary or don’t identify as male or female can get very anxious in the normal locker rooms,” Eppstein said. “Gender-neutral locker rooms would help them feel less worried, and will provide a level of safety. ”

Junior Rachana Dandamudi supports the new project, but is concerned that it may spark controversy. In recent years, there has been rising global controversy surrounding the concept of gender.

“People may feel more included and accepted, but there will inevitably be others who may disapprove of the concept,” Dandamudi said.

However, Eppstein believes that the controversial nature of this topic shouldn’t change the development of the locker rooms and that there is no negative effect of building them.

“If people don’t want to use the locker rooms, then they have the choice not to,” Eppstein said. “Nobody’s being forced to use them. Therefore, I don’t see any negative consequences of having them on campus.”

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Bolay, Staffer
(she/her) Charlotte is a sophomore and first year staffer for the Epic. In addition to writing and photography, she also enjoys baking, art, reading, listening to music, and being in nature.

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