From Iceland — Primary School Trying Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Primary School Trying Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Published January 27, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Flinga/Creative Commons

A school in Reykjanesbær has decided to let kids decide for themselves which bathroom they use, in an effort to be more inclusive.

GayIceland reports that Akurskóli primary school has removed all gender labeling from the school toilets. In addition, they have done away with rules regarding how kids dress for swimming. The aim behind both decisions is to make the school more gender-neutral.

“One simply has to be conscious about the fact that we are not all the same and everybody has the right to be as they are,” principal Sigurbjörg Róbertsdóttir told reporters. “That everybody should be able to be themselves. And since there are currently children attending the school who are gender-fluid or trans, it’s not up to us, the school, to force them or anybody else into a pre-designed form.”

Removing gender labels from the bathrooms was not a particularly complicated move to make, as the bathrooms are small. Making the bathrooms gender-neutral will therefore make little practical difference to the school’s students.

The move has been embraced by parents and students alike, the principal says, especially as the school includes children who are trans and gender-fluid.

“We’ve only received positive responses from the parents and I’ve mostly just felt gratitude and praise from the staff, who we must remember are also parents,” she said. “The kids hardly notice this and the ones who do think it’s no big deal. Children are way more tolerant then we give them credit for. When they grow up with different kinds of people they learn to recognize and accept things. I think the kids use whatever bathroom they find convenient and don’t give it much thought at all.”

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