Park City High School senior Adam Snyder and the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance wanted to create a “safe and comfortable learning environment for all students.”
“I had been reading articles about how gender-neutral bathrooms had been implemented on college campuses and I thought it was definitely an issue that wasn’t just applicable to college students, but also at the high school level,” Snyder said to the Park City Record.
“Going to the bathroom can be a pretty traumatic and awful experience if you don’t feel like you can fit in with what’s already set up, so offering a gender-neutral restroom option is something that can definitely make the school environment more comfortable for a greater amount of students.”
So Snyder, a student council member, presented the concept to designate two single-stall restrooms as “all gender” to staff members of the Park City School District last fall. He also asked the school’s principal, Bob O’Connor.
“I didn’t see any harm in that,” O’Connor told Fox 13’s Todd Tanner, “It was a 10-dollar swap on the sign.”
A few years ago, O’Connor was asked by a parent of a trans* student to create a safe space for her to use the restroom.
A new sign was posted outside two former faculty restrooms.
“It is important for there to be all-gender bathrooms because it’s important to offer a safe place for a person to go to the bathroom without having to worry about bullying or harassment. Transgendered teens face harsh judgment from their peers and going to the bathroom is a struggle that they have to face every day,” Tori Vipond, PCHS GSA president, told the Park Record.
Vipond, who identifies as gender-neutral, said that previously a trip to the restroom was “extremely anxiety-inducing.”
“It took a lot of courage for kids to come forward to request a gender-neutral bathroom,” O’Connor said.
The Park City high School Gay-Straight Alliance was nationally recognized last year by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network for their work connecting LGBT youth throughout the state around the safe schools movement. The club also engages an active network of Utah LGBT youth through social media.