Oregon high school creates unisex bathrooms for transgender students

An Oregon high school has created six unisex bathrooms to be used by transgender students, The Oregonian reports.

Officials at Portland’s Grant High School, the district’s largest, say four student restrooms and two staff restrooms will be open to all students, but create an option for five to 10 transgender students at the school, the paper reports.

The move is a first in the district and is an unusual move for a K-12 school, when compared to others in the country. Typically, according to the paper, schools make staff or other small bathrooms available.

"We just need to make sure that all students are safe and comfortable here, and that they have their needs met," Kristyn Westphal, Grant High vice principal, told The Oregonian. "If they feel unsafe using the bathroom, that's a problem."

The conversion cost less than $500, most coming from changing to interior locks.

Bullying can be an especially difficult challenge for transgender students. A report from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network showed a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students had been harassed for their sexual orientation, according to the paper.

Oregon is leading the nation in protecting the transgender community. The state passed the Oregon Equality Act in 2007, and it joins at least 15 other states and Washington, D.C., in offering some legal protection for transgender people.

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