On her first day of pre-K, my 4-year-old daughter used a bathroom that was simply labeled “bathroom.” She will, I hope, grow up in a world where bathrooms—like people—no longer exist along a simple gender binary. If only every school could be this enlightened.
In a recent NPR interview, Anna Allanbrook, principal of the Brooklyn New School where my children attend, stated that society has evolved to such a place where children should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify with. This is a rather radical albeit simple way of looking at gender identity.
The issue came to a head in Brooklyn after a transgender New School student requested to use the boys’ bathroom. The New York City Department of Education actually already has its own transgender guidelines, guidelines that support the rights of student to use the bathroom of his or her choice. “I went to a meeting this summer where they were actually discussing this at a pretty high level in the Department of Education,” Allanbrook told Quartz. “I think it’s become an issue across the grades in the public schools in general, not just in the Brooklyn New School.”
"Q," as the student is known, is now in the fourth grade, but he has known he is transgender for several years. Q’s mother, Francisca Montana, told Quartz that the role of the gendered bathroom has long been something of a barrier. “Since the second grade, when he started transitioning, the bathroom has been a big deal,” she told Quartz. “He was wearing girls clothes, but he wanted to go to the boys' bathroom, because he is a boy. But kids in the boys' bathroom would say, ‘What are you doing here?’ Sometimes he would pee on himself.”