Long Beach Unified School District has approved several revitalization projects, including a new aquatic center and ‘all-gender’ locker room that will break ground this summer at Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA. Funding for the project comes largely through the Measure E bond program.
Long Beach has long been a welcoming city for the LGBTQ community, allowing students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with the gender they identify with. As well, students may also participate in sports teams and competitions with the gender they identify regardless of the gender listed on their school records. But, local Long Beach parents have voiced concerns since becoming aware of plans for the all-gender locker room.
An email from the school’s Assistant Principal, Guillermo Jimenez went out this week announcing a virtual community meeting that will discuss details on the locker room’s safety and privacy features. The email reads:
Parents and guardians are invited to join a virtual community meeting onTuesday, November 30 at 6 p.m. to learn more about the new aquatic center and inclusive locker room coming to Wilson High School fall 2023. Construction will begin next summer.
The Long Beach Unified School District’s inclusive facilities are spaces that serve students with disabilities, students of all gender identities and expressions, and students who desire privacy for any number of reasons. Wilson’s new aquatic center will feature an inclusive, all-gender locker room.
LBUSD’s Facilities staff will share information on the new aquatic center, including details on the locker room’s safety and privacy features. To join the meeting on November 30, please visit the District’s YouTube channel at LBSchools.net/YouTube or click here.
Parents will have an opportunity to ask questions during the meeting. If you’d like to submit questions in advance of the meeting, please email [email protected].
Thank you for your participation and support.
Assistant Principal, Wilson High School
According to an article in the Wilson school paper ‘The Loudspeaker,’ by Editor-in-Chief Samantha Brandts, in November of 2020, LBUSD’s Measure E Liaison, Shawn Abbate, met with a Wilson High School student focus group to discuss the new inclusive locker room prototypes. While discussing the reason for these new spaces, the instructor stated it was created as “a safe space for people who might be otherwise uncomfortable.” She also stated, “We’re looking at what are some of the problems that we have with current single-gender spaces.”
The article also addressed a powerpoint shared by Abbate which said, “Privacy is a concern for many students faced with the prospect of communal showers and large undifferentiated changing areas. It would seem that most individuals – irrespective of their gender identity and expression – don’t want to change in the open or bathe in gang showers.”
At least one parent has voiced concerns about the privacy and safety of the new all-gender locker room citing recent sexual violence in school bathrooms in Loudoun County, Virginia. However, research from the UCLA School of Law in 2018 claimed there was ‘no link’ between transgender bathroom laws and crimes taking place in bathrooms. Still, privacy and safety are among the biggest concerns when it comes to school bathrooms and locker rooms at Wilson High School.
Many students say they wait to come home to use the restroom due to safety concerns and activities that take place there. However, the principal says they are focusing on making the bathrooms safe, placing security guards near all the bathrooms and going in to make sure students are safe.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.