All-Gender Restroom: Under Lock and Key


Jacqueline Ojeda Mendez, Editor in Chief

There’s an all-gender bathroom in the CTE hallway, across from room 139. The key is in Ms. Kerr’s office all day.

Students don’t need to answer any questions to use the key, nor will Ms. Kerr disclose that a student has used the gender-neutral bathroom to anyone who doesn’t need to know. As OSPI says, “In general, school staff should not share a student’s transgender or gender-diverse status, legal name, or sex assigned at birth with others, who could include other students, school staff, and non-school staff.”

While this restroom has been in Pasco High since the building was constructed in 1952, it hasn’t always been an all-gender restroom. For years, it was a women’s restroom and a plaque next to it reads as such, even to this day. Later, it was changed to a staff restroom.

On November 15th of this year, Pasco High School officially rebranded the CTE restroom as all-gender and available to students, staff, and visitors. This became the third gender neutral restroom on campus and the first that wasn’t in an office, taking a step towards accessibility.

Initially, the restroom was unlocked all day without requiring a key to use.

That changed last week, on November 22nd, 2021. Just a week after the all-gender bathroom was unlocked to students throughout the day, administration drew back.

Following numerous incidents of students being caught skipping inside the all-gender restroom, administration locked the room, requiring students and staff pick up a key before they can use the restroom.

There’s a notable disparity with a seventeen-hundred-student school having only 3 gender neutral bathroom, all downstairs, single-stalled, and supervised by staff.

For many gender diverse or gender nonconforming students, having to face an adult to use the restroom can feel alienating or akin to coming-out, highlighting a perceived otherness. Having unbridled access to a restroom gives students more freedom and lets them avoid feeling this discomfort.

When the CTE restroom was unlocked, Pasco High was working to lessen the difference in accessibility, to provide equal comfort and access to everyone. But because multiple kids choose to abuse this recently-granted access, it was revoked.

As administration strides to be better, Pasco High students should too, starting with more consideration for the consequences of their actions.