Starting in the fall, Philadelphia schools will have gender-neutral bathrooms in every building

"This is a victory for transgender students everywhere," said the director of the Office of LGBT Affairs in Philly.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, every building in Philadelphia School District will have at least one single-stall gender-neutral bathroom.

While touted as a major victory for trans rights in schools, advocates say the district buildings could have been doing this for the last five years.

"I'm a non-binary person and for me, going out in public and having to use a public restroom can be anxiety-inducing," said Maddie Luebbert, an English teacher in the district. "The major difference will be printing out a new sign and taping it over the boys and girls sign."

The School District of Philadelphia started to do that in some buildings in 2016 when it passed policy 252 outlining trans students' rights, which included having a gender-neutral bathroom if a child needs one.

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"A lot of schools wait until they have a kid come out to decide these things, but then again, the responsibility falls on that to do the advocacy and ask for what they need," said Luebbert.

The school district said starting this upcoming school year, every school will be required to have a gender-neutral bathroom. A spokesperson said in a statement in part: "School leaders are working to identify restrooms that will be identified as gender-neutral, offering students the opportunity to feel comfortable utilizing restrooms on school grounds."

"This is a victory for transgender students everywhere," said Celena Morrison, the director of the Office of LGBT Affairs for Philadelphia.

She says LGBTQ students aren't the only ones who will benefit from this.

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"Beyond safety, gender-neutral bathrooms are also helpful for people with disabilities who have other gender caregivers," she said.

The school district also touted its new programs for LGBTQ+ students, including ClubPride, a website that connects students to resources.

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