Chicago Public Schools
Gender inclusive restroom signs at Chicago Public Schools

Gender-inclusive bathroom signs in Chicago schools draw backlash from parents

Dec. 15, 2021
District officials say the signage aligns with federal guidance affirming the rights of transgender students.

The Chicago school system is installing signs on bathroom doors to make it clear that students can use a restroom in which they feel comfortable.

The Chicago Tribune reports there are three types of student bathrooms under the new district guidelines. “Boys+” facilities have stalls and urinals; "girls+” restrooms have just stalls. Anyone is allowed to use boys+ and girls+ bathrooms. Schools must also have single-stall restrooms available to any student. Staff continue to have separate restrooms for men and women.

The signs are a part of the district's initiative to be more gender-inclusive. 

“Posting these temporary paper signs is the initial step we are taking while the district works on a long-term strategy for permanent restroom signage that is gender inclusive,” Camie Pratt, the district's chief Title IX officer, wrote in a letter to parents.

District officials say the signage aligns with guidance published in June by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights affirming the rights of transgender students.

The district's policy has drawn opposition from many parents. A change.org petition demanding the district to take down the signs has gained more than 2,600 signatures.

Chicago officials cited a national study that found about 4 in 10 transgender students avoid bathrooms at school because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. 

In 2016, the district announced that transgender and gender nonconforming students would be able to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

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