GSA advocates for gender neutral changing rooms

By Caden Bernstein-Lawler

Tamalpais High School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) met with Assistant Principals Andy Lieberman, Tara Ranzy, and Karin Hatton on Jan. 25 to discuss improving the gender neutral changing room.

Currently, Tam High has a designated gender neutral changing room in Ruby Gym, but it hasn’t been ideal for those who need to use it.

“It was always filled with people that were vaping there, people would skip class in there, and I used to be late for class like 50 percent of the time when I used it,” sophomore Thilonius Dahms said.

“It doesn’t feel very validating and it just feels like it’s not where you should be,” Haven Armistead, another non-binary student, said about the gender-specific changing rooms. 

Dahms started the conversation with the Tam High administration about the need for a new system. They discussed the issue initially over email with Assistant Principal Lieberman. 

“All three of [the assistant principals] came to one of our meetings and all three were incredibly helpful and are trying to work with us through this,” Dahms said.

Another change discussed involves the gender neutral bathrooms, such as the one in Wood Hall, having a pass so that people who don’t feel comfortable using other bathrooms get priority. Students may have noticed signs on gender neutral bathrooms reading “Special Pass Only” which is part of the new system designed by GSA and the Tam High Administration. This is intended to make sure that the bathrooms are used more exclusively by those who do not feel comfortable in the gender-specific bathrooms.

“The purpose of this pass which you can get by talking to people in the office or coming to us [at GSA] is trying to be more exclusive to people who only feel comfortable using the gender neutral bathroom,” GSA co-President Jess Lester said. 

Gender-neutral bathrooms will occasionally be locked during class hours to prevent drug use. However, this leaves non-binary students with no designated bathroom. The new system is designed so this is no longer an issue.

“I wanted a safe place to use the bathroom and that was my safe place and then they [gender-neutral bathrooms] were locked,” Armistead said.

The new systems around gender-neutral changing bathrooms is currently taking effect as GSA and the assistant principals continue to meet. The GSA co-presidents said they hope to take more active steps in making the campus a safer space for LGBTQ+ students.