Attention toward who can use which gender binary, multi-stall bathroom has brought to the forefront, once again, the ways in which youth are supported or marginalized. No study has documented sexual and gender minority youths' experiences with and perspectives about bathrooms. We collected qualitative data in 2014–2015. Participants were 25 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth, aged 14–19, in the United States and Canada. Their comments describe first- and second-hand bathroom experiences, identify advocacy efforts, and highlight the roles of peers and adults in making bathrooms safe (or not). Youth emphasized the importance of gender-neutral bathrooms in fostering a sense of safety and inclusivity. Adult support and gay-straight alliances (GSAs) were important contributors to a welcoming environment and fostered advocacy efforts for gender-neutral bathrooms. We encourage purposeful inclusivity of youths' voices when enacting bathroom-specific policies and legislation that directly influence their health and well-being.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD078470. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-for-profit sectors.
© 2017 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents
- Bathroom legislation
- Gay-straight alliances
- LGBTQ youth