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Debate Club: restrooms for transgender people

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Are we over-complicating bathrooms? On Thursday this past week in Mr. Verch’s room 7, the Debate Club discussed transgender people and the bathrooms they use, along with the various issues involved.

A group of four people, Harrison Picek, Ash Namba, Leyton Blackwell and Staci Tilley were all present in the panel-style debate. The four presented their thoughts, and then the audience asked them questions to work through the topic of transgender people and bathrooms. After observing the debate, I highlighted the most valuable questions and the panel’s responses.

The debate started with each person on the panel stating their initial points. Blackwell shared the perspective that transgender people should use the bathroom with which they identity with, and Tilly agreed. However, Namba’s strongest point was that it should be kept simple, and shouldn’t over complicate who uses which bathroom. She also claimed, as most agreed, that there should be more gender neutral bathrooms. However, Picek stated the view, “the states should be responsible in deciding to have gender neutral bathrooms,” rather than a federal law that all states may not agree with. Once they concluded their opening statements, they opened up to more questions.

The first question was directed towards immature people, and what could be done to stop a person from entering a restroom in the case they falsely claimed to identify as the opposite gender. Blackwell said it would be obvious if they weren’t serious, and Namba agreed, calling it disrespectful to do so. Another member of the audience provided that for a person to use a bathroom of a gender, they must sincerely be that gender, based off of confirmation of others in accordance to California law (which settled that issue).

The topic of public accommodation also arose. There were questionings if public places, like restaurants, should have to create gender-neutral bathrooms to accommodate for those that are uncomfortable using a gendered restroom. The panel mainly agreed that it was up to the owner and whether or not they had to money to provide one. Blackwell mentioned that most restaurants already have gender-neutral/family restrooms, which can accommodate all.

The discussion later lead to the topic of how children would feel being in a bathroom with a transgender person. Picek believed since that since children are still developing, that they shouldn’t be exposed to it. However, Tilly had a contrasting statement: “children should be taught about it earlier on, and see it as normal.”

The final question proposed was interesting, in which the audience asked the panel members how they would design the bathrooms if Orcutt Academy were tore down and rebuilt with the bathrooms they want. Tilly said there would just be one big room, no labels, full of stalls and sinks. Blackwell would keep the boy and girl restrooms, as well as gender neutral, to keep everyone happy as well as prevent possible issues with couples committing inappropriate actions.

The debate was extremely informative, giving information on all aspects of the issue. The Debate Club meets every Thursday, and the next topic regards Poetry Out Loud. If you want to be a part of it, go to Room 7 at lunch on February 2nd.

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Aidan Soares, Reporter

My name is Aidan Soares and I am an ambitious student. I joined the track team freshman year, throwing shot put and discus, and plan to be on the track...

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