LGBTQ+ activism blooms in Yukon, Oklahoma

New restroom, a new sign at Yukon High School. Photo provided.

by Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief

When young activist at Yukon, Oklahoma and a few of his friends organized a Sexuality and Gender Alliance their sophomore year at Yukon High School, he didn’t know what a difference they could make.

Due to the age of these students, we will not be using their names in this story. 

“We couldn't be happier with the outcome of our group thus far,” said this young activist. “I am the President and Founder of the group, and my friend is the Vice President who designed the all-gender restroom signs.”

“She's an amazing graphic designer and does most all of our graphics.”

Their principal told them the reason past attempts at organizing a have tried to create Gender/Sexuality Alliances and they've always failed because they were never about activism or education.

“They always had the mindset of, ‘The LGBTQ+ community has this problem, and it's your job to figure out a solution!’”

Now, the students say the situation is different. “Hey administration, the LGBTQ+ community has problems. We have ideas to fix them.”

The group is proud they are all about educating students on LGBTQ+ history.

“We've wanted to make an all gender restroom for about a year and a half now,” said the High School Junior.

In the past, they had become frustrated because they weren't sure about how to go about something like that become a reality in their school.

“One accomplishment that SAGA has made is we have updated our school's policy on transgender students. In the past, transgender students had to use the restroom that is on your birth certificate. Now, students can send the principal an email, set up a meeting with her and explain the situation, and they will have the ability to use the faculty restrooms.”

Although the school has a policy in place, there are currently no restrooms that are inclusive of non-binary students.

“The faculty restrooms are male or female and the gender-neutral ones. Even though they still have the gender binary on them. I mean, shouldn't all single stalled toilets be labeled ‘all gender’?”

The students wanted to find a solution where they and the school administration could all agree.

“We told our principal we wanted to make the single stalled restroom in the theatre room say ‘all gender’ with a new sign. The old sign was gender-neutral but still had only male and female on it.

“We wanted a sign that is purposefully inclusive of transgender students that don't identify as male or as female. We want the single stalled restrooms to have a third gender category on them to represent non-binary, genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, et cetera students.”

So the students laminated a piece of paper that had the new restroom sign on it and taped it over the old sign.

“We figured that because it's the theatre room, no one would exactly be objected to it because, well, it's theatre!” exclaimed the student.

“We communicated with the principle that we wanted the sign to be a legitimate plaque, not just a piece of paper. Also, we wanted there to be more than just one all gender restroom in the entire school. The principal told us that two restrooms in the woodshop hall are faculty [restrooms], but she would be fine with us making them all gender for student use because faculty doesn't use them anyway.”

The students also talked about making the single stalled restroom in the leadership room all gender because the leadership class is all about better serving the community. Currently, the theatre room is the only restroom that has an all gender restroom in the entire school, which is single stalled.

The signs were placed by using extremely strong industrial tape that makes them impossible to rip down.

“Even though it was physically the same restroom, just with a new sign, some people were extremely confused about it.

“Let me tell you, the all gender restroom was the talk of the town for about a week, and now no one cares. That's what we expect to happen with the two more restrooms we're looking at making all gender also. People thought that we made the multi-stalled restrooms all gender when, in reality, it was just single stalled.”

The students say they believe that none of us should be just “tolerating” transgender students. We should be affirming of their identities.

Copyright The Gayly. 3/10/2019 @ 11:21 a.m. CST.