Revere High School homes gender neutral bathrooms

One+of+the+many+gender+neutral+bathrooms+located+in+the+new+high+school.

Lily Oelschlager

One of the many gender neutral bathrooms located in the new high school.

Lily Oelschlager, Assistant Sports Editor and Assistant Art Editor

The architects of the new Revere High School included gender-neutral bathrooms in each wing of the building to encourage inclusivity on school property. 

Spectrum Club President Elisha Dennis-Brinson discussed the student campaign for more inclusive facilities. Originally, the architects of the new Revere High School had suggested all bathrooms be gender-neutral. The previous Spectrum board, under former President Shelby Bishop, had campaigned to install them in the old building, but were not able to convince the administration to undertake the project with a new building already in progress.

“[Principal Philip] King and [Superintendent Matthew] Montgomery shifted [their stances] with the new building plans,” Dennis-Brinson said. 

Dennis-Brinson noted that they have since been supportive of the development and described the bathrooms’ locations. 

“They are in the front of the hallways on the right. They’re just regular bathrooms [with a] toilet, sink, [and] mirror,” Dennis-Brinson said. 

Superintendent Matthew Montgomery explained their origins. 

“We’d been talking about new buildings [and] there’d been questions about where we [could] increase inclusivity. [At the old building, administration had] allowed students to use staff bathrooms for privacy, [for] whatever they deemed necessary,” Montgomery said. 

Montgomery explained the meaning of  the bathrooms.

“I don’t want to put kids or staff . . . in a box. We need to address the needs of all; that’s where the gender-neutral bathroom came to life,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery emphasized the comfort of students and staff. 

 “[People] need to have facilities they are comfortable with; anyone can use that bathroom regardless of how they identify,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery explained the scope of the discussions. 

 “These discussions [are happening at the] board level, building level [about] what we are doing to meet students’ needs,” Montgomery said. 

Two Spectrum members, Aaron Gonzales and Alecia Kunka, shared their thoughts on the bathrooms and LGBTQ+ inclusivity at Revere High School. 

“[I felt] joy, and a little bit of surprise… it provides a lot of comfort to people who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth,” Gonzales said. 

Kunka elaborated. 

“Students [who are] questioning their identity [or are] gender fluid, [might not] feel comfortable going to the ‘girls bathroom’ or ‘boys bathroom’,” Kunka said.

Gonzales explained the purpose of the bathrooms outside the LGBTQ+ community. 

“[Those bathrooms are] a safe, comfortable space for any person,” Gonzales said. 

The Spectrum members also discussed other matters of LGBTQ+ inclusivity at Revere.

“Counselors have a plan in place for transgender students [which includes] the Ally signs on the [classroom] doors,” Gonzales said. 

“I do appreciate the instances in which [teachers and staff] have brought [the LGBTQ+ community] up, but it’s always been more of a footnote,” he said. 

“Teachers teach everyone . . . they need to be aware if kids should be called something [other than] what’s on the roster . . . If you can get a nickname on the roster, you can get [a trans student’s] name on [the roster,] Kunka said. 

Although she feels Revere staff are largely supportive of LGBTQ+ students, Kunka also noted, “There are people . . . that aren’t as supportive; you just know not to talk about it in front of them,” Kunka said. 

Both members believe that intolerance of the LGBTQ+ community stems from a lack of education on it. 

“Those people aren’t educated on what goes on in people’s minds who feel a disconnect with their assigned gender at birth,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales suggested classroom education could remedy this. 

“We need more of this education in classes like health. [People need to know that] there are [more] options than what society forces you into,” Gonzales said. 

Anyone who wants to become more involved with Revere High School’s LGBTQ+ community can join the Spectrum Club.

“Our club, a lot of kids refer to as the ‘gay club,’ but it’s for the LGBTQ+ community and allies.” Kunka said. 

“There are a lot of supportive people at Revere; I’m really proud of everyone for coming together and being more inclusive and accepting of each other,” Gonzales said.