IHS establishes inclusive bathrooms
This school year the IHS in cooperation with LGBT students introduced “inclusive bathrooms,” which are intended to create a safe, comfortable space for anyone — men, women, and transgender students. The bathrooms are in the first floor of the science wing next to the elevator and also by the elevator outside the high school main office.
Spearheading this project is transitioning student Sam Lapine, who has been meeting with principal David Cohen since last may in order to address a “want to make the Irvington community more accepting and open… [Sam wants] to make the community more open for those who are transitioning or will transition in the future.”
Cohen and other faculty have been working with students since last spring with hopes to, as Cohen put it, “get ourselves more involved in learning about the LGBT community.” So far, Irvington students have attended a Prideworks conference, and Irvington has hosted a Westchester youth gender equity conference.
There are still more issues to be addressed, according to Lapine. Regarding whether you can go into the bathroom of your chosen gender over the sex you were assigned at birth, Lapine said “We’re still working on that.”
This change was also set into motion by the Obama administration, which attempted to establish national guidelines which required transgender students to have designated bathrooms and locker room facilities. The order was met with heavy backlash, and since a coalition of states lead by Texas have begun to file a lawsuit against the federal government, the law is still ambiguous surrounding non-gendered bathrooms in public schools.
Other issues Lapine stated still need focus from the board include what changing rooms transgender and nonbinary students are allowed and not allowed in, and what sports transgender and nonbinary students should be allowed to play. While Lapine says she has been working with athletic director Mr. McCormack and Mr. Cohen, no clear guidelines have been defined currently.
“The truth is, schools are meant to prepare us for the real world,” Latin teacher Ms. Cella said. “No matter what your proclivity, the fact of life is that there are people who have a need for these bathrooms in the real world, and they should be provided.”
“In the 60’s we marched for civil rights,” said Ms. Cella. “In the 70s for a woman’s right to control reproduction. If we have to march to ensure a person’s right to choose their own proclivity, we will be there.”