The availibility of unisex bathrooms at FHS

FHS currently has around 36 bathrooms, with two of them being unisex restrooms. The main gender-neutral bathroom is located on the lower level of the A-building. It requires a key to enter, which is available to access in the main office, no questions asked. 

While FHS does have unisex bathrooms, the students are sometimes uneducated on how to access them, whether it is due to the spread of misinformation or just from a fear to ask. The students may also feel uncomfortable using gender-assigned bathrooms and can feel trapped. The gender neutral bathrooms are far and few on the FHS campus. If they need to use the bathroom during class, some may have to walk across campus to the office to retrieve the key and then walk to the bathroom and back. 

For many, the unisex bathrooms on campus are a safe haven. 

“[It’s] only one person’s bathroom,” an anonymous FHS freshman said. “That just sounds like paradise to me, to be honest.” 

These issues and the benefits surrounding gender neutral bathrooms have not gone unnoticed. The district has been working towards finding solutions to increase accessibility and facilities. At the moment, Monta Vista High School has three gender-neutral restrooms, while Cupertino High School and Lynbrook High School both have two. 

“We have the biggest campus, and next year we’ll have the most amount of students total,” FHS Dean Connor Smith said. “So in terms of gender neutral [bathrooms], I think we might be either exactly the same as everyone else or slightly behind, but we’re working to expand it.”

The districts efforts have been successful in expanding the availability of these bathrooms; however, some students want them to be more accessable.

“Our school should have more and they should be more easily accessible because there’s a lot of people who would benefit from using them,” FHS junior Wren Iswandhi said. “I don’t think that the reasons why [FHS] doesn’t have them are good enough. I know that other schools in the district have them without keys.”

Even though there are two gender neutral bathrooms at the moment, according to Smith that number will at least double over the next year

Another project FHS administration is working on is to create a gender-neutral locker room, an amenity that students at Homestead High School currently have access to.

The keys to FHS gender neutral bathrooms are easily available in the office, but it still requires students to actively seek them out instead of just walking into a bathroom. There are reasons to have the current system though, and even those who would rather not have the keys understand the administration’s reasoning.

“I see why they would want strict regulation,” the anonymous freshman said. “From what I experience in the bathrooms there are people doing beauty stuff in there or are just going in to vandalize it and just take up all the space and all the time.”

The keys create an extra barrier for students attempting to misuse the bathrooms, but also a barrier for those who want to use them properly. In fact, in past years, students have taken the restroom key and not returned it, meaning that for a period of time no one was able to use the bathroom. 

According to Smith it is a difficult balance to maintain, because they want the information about the bathrooms to get to people who need it, but also want to prevent misuse and keep those bathrooms up and running. Administration is still having difficulty with how much to advertise the existence of the bathrooms.

“I honestly struggle with that piece, publicizing it, because then in a way it outs anyone who uses that bathroom, because people see them going in and out,” Smith said.