Students draw transgender flags on their hands to silently protest the Bathroom Bill

Students draw Transgender Flags on their hands to silently protest the Bathroom Bill

A hearing conducted by the Missouri Senate Education Committee on Feb. 21 was held to discuss Senate Bill 98, also known as the “Bathroom Bill,” which would require that all school restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms accessible for use by multiple students shall be designated for and used by male or female students only.

The act does allow for the best available accommodations for students who assert that his or her gender is different from his or her biological sex. Such accommodations shall include but not be limited to single-stall restrooms, access to unisex restrooms, or controlled use of faculty restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms.

The “Bathroom Bill” was inspired by the North Carolina law which requires transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. Unlike that in North Carolina, the Bill in Missouri would only affect public schools K-12. Schools would be allowed to offer gender neutral bathrooms or provide use of staff bathrooms to students. Currently at Pattonville, there are two individual use bathrooms in the nurse’s office.

“All people can use them, they’re gender neutral,” high school nurse Ms. Heidi Lanham said. “We even have some parents use them when registering their kids.”

GSA sponsor Ms. Kelli Dornfeld thinks there should be more gender neutral bathrooms at Pattonville.

“At my son’s school, they have multiple gender neutral bathrooms,” she said. “In fact, my husband and I just used two separate gender neutral bathrooms yesterday.”

Due to budgeting constraints, counselor Ms. Mindy Campbell believes that it may be difficult to build more gender neutral bathrooms at the high school. She suggests that administration should let students have controlled access to faculty restrooms by letting them have a key or having a symbol on their student ID.

“I would like to have access to a bathroom where I feel comfortable,” senior Marko Rodriguez said. “If we can’t afford to put more gender neutral bathrooms in, I wouldn’t mind carrying around a key, but I feel a symbol on my ID would single me out too much.”

To help raise awareness of the issue, GSA will have an informative presentation from Dan Pearson of Safe Connections on “Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) Youth” on March 1 in Ms. Edna Brown’s room, B 115.

In this workshop, youth are provided with a foundation to understand transgender and gender nonconforming identities. Participants will be encouraged to think about how traditional gender roles, cultural expectations and individual expressions affect them and others. Youth will learn how transphobia negatively impacts not only TGNC individuals, but all youth. Students will also identify concrete action steps they can take to be direct allies to TGNC people.

Government teacher Ms. Katherine Korte would like to remind students that Senate Bill 98 is still being heard by the Senate Education Committee.

“It may not pass, but if it does pass schools, will have to enforce it,” she said. “If you have an opinion on the matter, let it be heard. Contact your representative.”

Representatives: 

  1. Mark Matthiesen (R)
    1. Phone: 573-751-4163
    2. E-Mail: Mark.Matthiesen@house.mo.gov
  2. Sue Meredith (D)
    1. Phone: 573-751-4183
    2. E-Mail: Susan.Meredith@house.mo.gov

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