While the United States of House of Representatives has recently introduced legislation that would eliminate protections for transgender people, the Scottish Government is showing its support for trans students. The government has introduced a plan to instate gender-neutral bathrooms in schools, which would provide non-binary students with a safe option.
The proposal was presented in “Consultation Document on Updating the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards, Scotland, Regulations 1967)," which lays out protocols for how to improve school facilities. The current school regulations required half of school bathrooms be designated for boys and the other half for girls. Government officials found these guidelines did not adequately address the needs of students with disabilities or students that identify with a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth.
The proposed unisex bathrooms would be equipped with individual cubicles and a communal area with sinks for handwashing. This layout has garnered support from equality advocates.
James Morton of Equality Network told The Scotsman, "We welcome the proposal from the Scottish Government to introduce gender neutral toilets across more schools in Scotland. A significant number of Scottish schools already successfully have gender neutral toilets. Schools have found that gender neutral private cubicles with open washing spaces reduce bullying and graffiti. Therefore, gender neutral toilets are safer for all young people."
Morton also highlighted specific examples of how gender neutral bathrooms would benefit trans students. “They [gender-neutral toilets] are particularly beneficial for transgender young people because otherwise transgender pupils often fear going to the toilet so much that they refuse to drink liquids during the day and experience dehydration," she said. "Gender neutral toilets are not a radical new idea, they have been commonplace in schools and public venues across Europe for many years. Indeed, we all use gender neutral toilets every day without thinking about it—on planes, trains, and most importantly—in our homes.”
Here’s hoping U.S. government officials will learn from the Scottish Government’s progressive attitude towards gender.