Last year, South Eugene High School made room for major social change by establishing its first gender-neutral bathroom. Although LGBTQ rights are in no way a new concept in our community, progress for this movement only became so widespread within the last few years.
“It always takes longer than it should for everyone to get on board with things like this,” senior Jackie Ehlers said.
The LGBTQ community is an extremely divisive topic in America. On June 26, 2015, when same-sex marriage became nationally legalized, many people accepted the LGBTQ community as equals in our society. Within the last few years, measures such as building gender-neutral bathrooms were taken in support of this social change. Throughout this time of reform, some have spoken out while others have remained silent.
“Most kids just go along with what’s already there or just avoid bathrooms in general,” junior Avery Woodruff said.
In the 4J School District, all four high schools have established gender-neutral bathrooms. South Eugene established a gender-neutral bathroom through the efforts of the LGBTQ club. Students who attend public schools in progressive areas are mostly subject to these these changes.
“If we’re talking locally, I think that it’s probably easier to be accepted here than it would be at Pleasant Hill High School, or somewhere that’s more set in a certain mindset,” South Eugene senior Taylor Larsen said.
Gender neutral bathrooms were also established at North Eugene High School last year.
“Some people abuse the all-gender bathrooms as a spot to hook up, but at North we have lots of transgender students, and having that option has made them feel more accepted and welcomed, which is the ultimate goal,” North Eugene senior Dominic Mach said.
The push to have gender-neutral bathrooms in 4J was brought about by the youth that demanded this change. Therefore, many students were more accepting of this transition when they saw what it meant to their classmates.
“If it gives them a place where they can feel safer and identify as themselves, then that’s good,” senior Christian Douglass said.