In the United States and the United Kingdom, parents are pushing back against schools’ “gender-neutral” bathroom policies.
Such policies are aimed at accommodating transgender and nonbinary students who want to use restrooms that match their preferred gender. In some cases, this means students of all genders use the same facilities.
A Georgia school district announced on Wednesday it was reversing its transgender-friendly bathroom policy amid fierce backlash from parents, ABC News reported.
Pickens County School District initially implemented the policy following a court case, which ruled that a transgender student could use the boys’ bathroom during his final year at a Florida high school.
The district’s policy allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
Pickens County Superintendent Carlton Wilson claimed in a statement that the district’s decision sparked harassment and death threats, so it was forced to backtrack.
Wilson said the district is now consulting with “law enforcement and other safety professionals” to address concerns stemming from the harassment.
Transgender students will go back to using single-stall private bathrooms, as they did before the policy was implemented.
“There are multiple bathrooms throughout schools,” one Pickens County parent told a local TV station. “Make one set your transgender bathrooms and keep the other ones so everyone has an option.”
It’s happening in the UK, too
Some British parents and teachers say gender-neutral policies make girls feel unsafe and are causing real harm, the Daily Mail reported last week.
They their daughters, many of whom are concerned about “period shaming,” are staying home from school and avoiding urinating because of the bathroom policy, parents told the Mail.
Other girls will refrain from drinking liquids during the school day.
Deanesfield Primary School in South Ruislip, West London is one school facing backlash.
According to the Mail, parents last month launched a petition protesting the school’s single-sex bathroom policy.
“The cubicles were open at the bottom and top so older pupils can easily climb up the toilets and peer over,” one mother at the school told the Mail.
A spokesman for Deanesfield told the Mail the school would “continue to support parents with any individual worries or concerns they have.”
And in Wales
In February, a Welsh women’s group collected accounts from parents whose children were enrolled in schools with gender-neutral bathroom policies.
Women’s Voices Wales asked families to report their experiences with Wales’ growing use of unisex restrooms, which is motivated by a desire to combat bullying of transgender and other gender non-conforming students.
According to Women’s Voices Wales, even when girls don’t stay home from school altogether, they are sometimes trying to go all day without using the restroom.
“[My daughter] won’t use the toilets and tries to last all day. I sometimes have to go and collect her,” one mother told the group. “There are problems when she has a period. Boys are always speculating on whether girls are having their periods according to how long they take in the toilet.”
When she took the issue to the schools principal, the mother said, she was told only that her daughter should inform the nurse when she’s having such issues.
Another mother said that her daughter doesn’t drink liquids at school to avoid having to go to the restroom, while yet another reported that her elementary-school-aged daughter would “avoid going and come home bursting.”
Parents who answered the survey by Women’s Voices Wale – which is critical of the transgender rights movement – expressed frustration that gender-neutral toilets now seem to be the default whenever a new facility or building is constructed.