Yearlong student effort leads to gender-neutral bathroom at Seattle high school

Destin Kramer helped put up the gender inclusive sign on a new bathroom open to all students at a Seattle high school.  Now, nearly half of Seattle's public high schools have gender-neutral bathrooms.

"I originally came up with this idea junior year," Kramer said.  "But I didn't get anywhere with it because I didn't have the resources or the platform."

The resources came as Kramer made the gender-neutral bathroom a senior project. Eventually, Kramer convinced the school Senate, made up of teachers and students, to make the bathroom happen.

“I think we're doing something really great,” said Flora Peterson, a Junior at Nathan Hale High School who is a leader of the Pride Club.  “And leading the way for other schools to maybe do the same thing we're doing.”

A school counselor said they know of 10 of the 1,150 students at Nathan Hale who identify as transgender.

The gender-neutral bathroom at the school has five stalls. It used to be a women's restroom. Now, students are still allowed to use any restroom of the gender they identify with. And that's an important note in the wake of President Obama's mandate that all public schools allow students to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Seattle Public Schools has had that rule on the books since 2012.

“The timing just happened to land at the same time,” Principal Jill Hudson said. “But we take pride in helping all of our students feel included. Some of them have been going off campus to use the restroom and we wanted to make a place that's safe for them here on campus.”

Students shared the reaction from classmates.

“At Nathan Hale we are very inclusive,” junior Molly Nelson said.  “From what I've heard it's basically been all positivity.”

There are now three gender-neutral bathrooms at Nathan Hale High School.

“I'm just ecstatic,” Kramer said. “I cannot stop glowing.”