STUDENT VOICE: Time to revisit gender stereotypes

By Jordan Zehr

I was out for dinner on Saturday night and I saw the “she” sign on the washroom door.

I thought it looked cool at first but upon further inspection and realization, I noticed there was only one other washroom available in the restaurant. And it had a moustache.

The fact that alarmed me the most was not the fact that there was only two washrooms but the fact that these washrooms gave only two options for who could enter.

Those two options being, “she” and “he.”

It’s 2018 and I thought I had a lot of faith in society nowadays but now I’m not so sure that what I believed was correct.

The fact that in such a place as Canada, supposedly among the most accepting places in the world, has such a popular restaurant where the washrooms have only stereotypical gender options, has amazed me.

So far, there are approximately 63 different genders known to humanity, some of which are still being understood, hidden and stigmatized by those who are either uneducated or who don’t care to be educated about this subject.

Now I understand that having 63 different washrooms in a public facility is not something anyone will be willing to do but I’m not trying to say we need 63 different washrooms.

What I’m saying is that, at the bare minimum, have a third, gender neutral washroom. A washroom available for those who wish not to be labelled. A washroom for those who identify themselves as names other than he or she, such as they, or anything else they wish to be identified as.

Adding another washroom for gender neutral or non-binary genders will not affect the other washrooms for those who identify as a female or male. It will instead, open up a welcoming community for anyone and everyone who is wishing to use the washroom.

Those who are comfortable using a female washroom, can do so, as well as those who are comfortable in a male washroom. Of course, those who are comfortable in a gender neutral washroom may use the washroom they are comfortable with.

When I think about this, it really makes me wonder why we even had two gender labelled washrooms to begin with. Why can’t your sign simply say, “washroom,” why does there even need to be a gender associated with it?

I think the world needs to understand that yes, he and she are the most popular pronouns used, but they are also certainly not the most important, nor the only ones. Pronouns stand for real people, and real people shouldn’t have to feel rejected or excluded from such a simple thing as going to the washroom.

– Jordan Zehr is a Grade 10 student at Reynolds secondary

 

Jordan Zehr is a Grade 10 student at Reynolds secondary. Submitted

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